I’m about to move house to an area of Leeds called Stanningley. It’s about a mile down the road from where I live now in Farsley, and is nice and convenient for transport, but it doesn’t have the cosy villagey feel that Farsley does. In fact it probably has almost the opposite. Stanningley consists of one main road, Stanningley Town Street, which is a large, long and busy main route from Bradford into Leeds, with a few small side streets of Victorian workers’ terraces or identikit new builds branching off it. Town Street is, certainly to the passer-by, a bit grubby looking. A noticeable number of buildings are boarded up, and although there are a number of independent business all along the length of Town Street, a lot of the terraces that house them are in need of a bit of a scrub. Stanningley has an extensive industrial history and the shops share their roadside space with Victorian mills (some converted into restaurants) and thriving modern warehouses.
So even though the house I am buying is tucked away a little bit from all this, and I’m very excited to be moving into it thanks very much, I’m not quite as excited about the apparent lack of glamour in Stanningley. Then I had a brainwave – it can’t always have been in need of a wash and brush up, so what was it like? Google led me to the Pudsey & District Civic Society which has tons of snippets, links and resources on Pudsey’s history, including a shop that sells reprinted Ordnance Survey maps from the turn of the 20th century. Hooray! Now that’s the kind of thing that’s right up my street. I bloody love maps, I can, & do, stare at them for hours, taking in what goes where and how it all links up & leads to new and different places.
2 days later, these bad boys landed on my doormat:
And the sunny evenings have made me want somewhere interesting to walk. So I had a plan! Off I toddled to try and find some of the buildings and landmarks shown on the 1906 map. (I know 1906 isn’t Victorian by the way but the buildings marked on it are). Below is the first bit of my walk on the 1906 map, with some of the 2013 landmarks that I managed to match up (and photo) marked in yellow.
Stanningley Hall is no longer there but along the boundary of its old grounds is a street called Stanhall Avenue.
The Old Congregational Chapel is now Longwood Hall which I think now houses offices (correct me if I’m wrong!). You can still see its old Sunday School from the road, to the left and set behind it.
Further along, behind what is now Active Workwear, is a more ornate Sunday School building which is now boarded up, and next to it the Olivet Chapel that it belonged to.
The Hotel marked is the old Thornhill Arms which is now boarded up too. It’s sad to see so many impressive buildings that must have once been central to the lives and community of the Stanningley mill and iron workers, now crumbling – but perhaps that’s just the way communities evolve…