NEWS - 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - November 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - October 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - September 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - June 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - April 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - March 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - February 2014

ELHAS Meeting Report - January 2014

The 2008 ELHAS meetings programme got off to great start in January when members and guests enjoyed a talk by Ken Goor entitled 'Colourful Characters of Leeds'.

Ken, who has been a Leeds and White Rose guide for 23 years regularly hosts guided walks around Leeds and further a field and is well known in the city for his vast local knowledge. As well as being a guide and speaker Ken is also an author and in 2006 published 'Haunted Leeds' a book describing ghostly sightings and spooky happenings all over Leeds. Not for the faint hearted, this book will surely keep you awake at night!

Ken's talk was designed around a 'virtual tour' of Leeds city centre beginning with the hallowed occupants of City Square - the statues of James Watt, Joseph Priestley, Walter Farquhar Hook and John Harrison. According to Ken, however, James Watt was not so hallowed and in fact regards him as a usurper whose only contribution was to prevent Matthew Murray from expanding and growing his business. This was a view that found much favour with his audience since some members of ELHAS have long felt that Watt has no right in City Square and his statue should be replaced by one of Matthew Murray. Ken described how the discoveries of distinguished scientist Joseph Priestley led to the eradication of scurvy amongst sailors. He also said how Priestley, who became a humanitarian after witnessing a young boy hanged for stealing a pork pie, built the Leeds Library and was instrumental in building the Leeds General Infirmary. Ken told how Walter Hook who was vicar of Leeds rebuilt the parish church during his tenure since the existing church was not 'high' enough for his tastes. The final member of the 'gang of four' John Harrison was a great benefactor who built the first Grammar School and St John's Church in New Briggate.

Moving on to other parts of the city Ken delighted his audience with anecdotes about other famous Leeds inhabitants whose names are familiar to us all. He told us how Jacob Kramer would paint all day then repair to the Jubilee Tavern at night and sell his work for enough money to drink himself into a stupor. And how Michael Marks came to Leeds seeking his brother Barnet with only one word of English - 'Barrans' - the company his brother worked for , only to find that Barnet had left Leeds to seek his fortune in the Yukon Gold Rush. This obviously didn't faze Michael whom we all know founded the great Marks & Spencer Empire. Coming into the 20th century he regaled us with tales of the early years of such celebrities as Keith Waterhouse, Peter O'Toole and Willis Hall before closing with some details of John Vickers Conlon, (the 'bogey' man who sold matches outside Trinity Church boar Lane) and Alice Porter aka Woodbine Lizzie a familiar sight in the city centre wearing all her possessions round her. Sadly time got the better of him and Ken was forced to draw to a close. However, it was only too obvious to his audience that he had many more interesting stories to impart.