ELHAS Meeting Report - March 2012

Meeting Report March 2012

Over 50 members and guests attended the March meeting to hear one of our popular and regular speakers John Gilleghan MBE deliver an illustrated talk entitled " Leeds - The Story of a Great City " John, who is a member of the society, is well known as a local historian and guest speaker. He has also published several books and articles and regularly appeared on Radio Leeds. He is well liked on the speaker's circuit and can always be relied on to be both entertaining and informative.

John began his talk by informing us he would be concentrating on the city centre. He explained that the Quarrel Hill area (now known as Quarry Hill) was one of the first regions to be settled. Originally a small hamlet known as Loidis in Regio - a district on a river, this was changed by the Romans to Loidis in Elmete, since it was part of the larger kingdom of Elmete. The first borough of Leeds was established in 1207, the 800 anniversary of which was celebrated in the city in 2007. Showing illustrations and later photographs of the city he explained how Leeds had developed and grown particularly because of its connection with the woollen trade. Talking through some of the significant men involved in the growth of Leeds, he explained that the Leeds coat of arms recalls some of them, the owls originating from the coat of arms of Sir John Saville and the stars from Thomas Danby's, who is also remembered in the name of the catering college in Leeds. In fact he made us aware how often people of influence or significant buildings are recalled in the street names which we are so familiar with today.

Moving into the twentieth century he showed lovely photographs of the famous arcades and the long gone theatres, sparking many happy memories of visits to the pantomime and the weekly repertory shows. The photographs of former department stores such as Lewis's and Schofields also brought back memories of shopping in the city accompanied by Mum.

John ended his talk by bringing us up to date with recent buildings in the city such as The Kremlin (the DHSS headquarters at the bottom of York Road and the iconic Bridgewater Place nicknamed The Dalek.. He also brought some aerial colour photos taken in the sixties of sites in Whitkirk, Halton and Cross Gates which proved very interesting to the audience and the evening ended with many taking the time to examine them and relate to how the views look today.

The next meeting on Monday 30th April 2012 will be an illustrated talk by Jamie Guest entitle "2 Cold Wednesdays" - the story of the restoration of the last Leeds horse drawn tram. This will be followed by our annual Pie & Pea Supper.

Photos courtesy of Leeds Library & Information Services - www.leodis.net