Leeds property news: historic brochure offers insight into 1930s housing market

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AN ESTATE AGENT’S marketing brochure uncovered in a house in Otley is thought to be almost 80 years old and provides a fascinating insight into the 1930s property market.

The 20 page brochure for Dacre, Son & Hartley, founded in 1820, was discovered by an Otley resident behind an old fireplace and dates back to around 1937 when the company’s phone number was ‘51’. The brochure also contains eight adverts for businesses - none exist today.

An extract from the brochure reads: “Otley is an unspoiled residential town on the River Wharfe, an unnavigable river, only 10 miles from the great industrial cities of Leeds and Bradford. Unlike so many towns in the neighbourhood, Otley has not been spoiled by the mines and mills which have so tragically disfigured much of this district. Otley has somehow managed to enjoy an increasing prosperity without losing any of its rural attractiveness. Otley stands on the branch lines of both the LNE and LMS Railways and good communication is maintained to Leeds and Bradford.”

David Phillip, a director at Dacre, Son & Hartley, says: “It was an exciting time as Dacre & Son had just merged in 1936 with Hartley Auctioneers, which was a competitor based opposite our Station Road office. At that time we had just four offices in Otley, Ilkley, Skipton and Keighley, compared to the 20 we have today, but the brochure’s colour print, professional photography and the fact it was designed and printed in London demonstrates the company’s forward thinking.

“Fast forward nearly 80 years and this ability to innovate and embrace technology, which now means our marketing team is continually developing one of the industry’s most advanced websites as well as harnessing mobile technology and social media, is still a key aspect of our success today.”

David added: “It’s also apparent that the things that appealed to Otley’s homebuyers in the 1930s are still largely the same now.

“The town’s surrounding moorland, easy access to the Yorkshire Dales, public spaces, historic market square is still what attracts people to it to this day.”

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