Leeds nostalgia: This week in 1946... power cuts across Leeds

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On this day in 1946, people in Leeds were coming to terms with the news that gas pressure had been reduced by 10 per cent. The initial drop in pressure was to last two days, said a spokesman from Leeds Corporation, but there was a heavy hint it could last longer.

Mr C S Shapley, engineer and general manager, said: “The reduction began yesterday and will be continued throughout to-day [sic] and to-morrow. Beyond that I cannot give any further details but we shall restore it as soon as possible.”

The drop in pressure was brought about by a lack of supply, owing to a number of factors, one of which was that the council had been unable to undertake important repairs to its gas plant earlier in the year, due to high demand. With winter approaching, it was considered prudent to undertake the repairs before the cold weather set in.

The council also said the coal it was receiving was “14 per cent inferior to pre-war quality”.

The net result was the council’s power plants were having to work harder to make the same amount of energy.

It said the increase in output for the last six months had been the same for the annual output for Bingley, Batley, Dewsbury and Bridlington.

The drop in pressure not only affected households but businesses across the city, in particular factory canteens, which struggled to cook for the hundreds of workers, leading to delays in production.

At the Town Hall British Restaurant, where some 1,500 lunches were due to be served, it took staff an extra 45 minutes to complete the service and long queues formed as people waited.

As if that wasn’t enough, electricity was also cut, from 8.15am to 9am, representing a five per cent reduction in output for the day.

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