ELHAS Meeting Report - January 2010

The 2010 programme got off to flying start with a night of nostalgia provided by Mr Keith Barber. Forty five members and guests gathered to see Keith's presentation offering a trip down memory lane with photos of Leeds from the 40's, 50's and 60's. Keith, a former distribution manager with the Burton Group, one of the city's major companies, now spends his retirement visiting groups and organisations to remind us what Leeds was like when we were all growing up here. Keith is fortunate in that he is sponsored to present the show by Wm. Dodgson Funeral Services Ltd . who cover all his expenses to take this highly entertaining presentation to groups all over the city.

He initially put the show together from his father's collection of photographs and says it represents his life in Leeds having been born in Beeston in 1940. He began by showing a photo of the first Rolls Royce hearse in the country which was owned in the 1920's by the Dodgson undertaking firm. He explained how the profession had grown from cabinet makers and carpenters who only made coffins, most other tasks being undertaken by family members, to the funeral services businesses we know today. He then went on to show a fascinating selection of photographs from all areas of the city including the city centre. During his commentary he reminded us of activities such as the family bath night in front of the fire (all sharing the same water) to playing cricket or hopscotch in the street, or, a firm favourite , "laiking at taws" - playing with marbles to you and me. We settled down to be reminded of the famous stores Leeds once offered from the high class Marshall and Snelgrove, which Keith's Mum said they could only afford to walk through, to the mighty Schofields with its separate furniture store joined to the main store by an overhead walkway. As well as the large stores in the city centre, Keith also had photos of the theatres which graced town and revived memories of many a happy December afternoon or evening spent at the pantomime entranced by the dancing of the Sunbeams dance troupe. The thoroughly eclectic mix of photographs including scenes from the filming of two long running TV series , Queenie's Castle starring Diana Dors, and The Good Old Days, both produced in the city, was enhanced by Keith's delightful commentary and throwaway humour. We were also reminded of products now long gone but familiar to us all, such as Rinso washing powder and favourite sweets Spangles. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all the audience. Keith ended his presentation by distributing some extremely useful booklets kindly provided by Wm. Dodgson Ltd.

The next meeting will be on Monday 22nd February when Pam Judkins will present an illustrated talk entitled "Old for New" - excavations in the Wakefield area.