Leak Street flats

Old, disused, forgotten and converted pubs
volvojack
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby volvojack » Sat 08 Oct, 2016 1:15 pm

Amazing how Leeds Council used the phrase Slum Clearance as an excuse to sweep away large batches of property's and then allow a monstrosity like those flats to be built. I did not know a great deal about those houses in that Hunslet area but down in the Lady Pit Lane bottom part some of those terraced houses were still in great condition. I know that with the advent of the Motorways and I innner ring road there had to be sacrifices and the area below Hunslet hall Road was well overdue to be demolished. I just think a little more selective care could have been. One area that really annoyed me was demolishing the streets on either side, bottom of Wesley Street / Elland Road and leaving the open space for years just a car park for matches every other Saturday.
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mhoulden
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby mhoulden » Mon 10 Oct, 2016 2:25 am

Quite a lot of Leeds council's attitudes towards housing came from RAH Livett, Leeds city architect, and Rev Jenkinson, chair of the housing committee in the mid C20th. There was a loophole in the 1909 Housing and Town Planning Act that allowed back to backs to be built in certain circumstances and Leeds Corporation took full advantage of it until the 1930s. When Livett and Jenkinson took over they introduced a rule that back to backs must meet certain standards or they would be compulsorily purchased and demolished. In a lot of cases the houses just needed minor repairs but people were unwilling or unable to pay for them. Livett was one of the people responsible for building Quarry Hill; he liked the idea of big blocks of flats so the back to backs were probably doomed anyway. Leek Street was built after he died but a lot of principles were the same. There's some stuff about the history of Leeds housing at https://municipaldreams.wordpress.com/category/leeds/ and a rent strike in the 1930s where they tried to means test council rents at http://tenantshistory.leedstenants.org. ... /1934.html. Even now Leeds council prefers to demolish rather than refurbish. Quite a lot of houses were demolished under the EASEL project in the mid 2000s but they never got round to rebuilding them because of the credit crunch and subsequent austerity.
volvojack
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby volvojack » Mon 10 Oct, 2016 12:37 pm

Your mention of Quarry Hill flats reminds me that as a pupil of Mt. St. Mary's School, Richmond Hill during the 1940 s some of the kids also attending the School were from those Flats. they thought they were wonderful but as i guess most of them had previously lived on the Bank which was in its last throes of demolition, (Saxton Gardens replaced most of that area). On our lunch times we would play in some of the building left and when i think back to how they were and see old photographs of the area it is no wonder folks were happy to move out.Though those Flats only lasted 30 yeas or so still for a short while they fulfilled a purpose whereas the Leek Street development
built some 30 years later should have had a much longer life.
My Brother in Law, now 88 still has fond memory's of living in "Oastler" House, one of the Quarry Hill Blocks.
angellily
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby angellily » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 9:50 am

Hello friends
i am new here.
thank you all for sharing your ideas.
Best Regards
angellily
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tilly
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby tilly » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 2:35 pm

Welcome to Secret Leeds angellilly.
No matter were i end my days im an Hunslet lad with Hunslet ways.
jma
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby jma » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 4:07 pm

I'm a bit surprised that quite a long thread has not generated a lot more reminiscences from people who lived there.

My own limited experience comes from having worked at the nearby Dewsbury Road Police Station from 1967 to 1972 in the early years of this development (not that there were many later years.)

I understand that, for various reasons, possibly including the high cost of borrowing in those days, the rents there were relatively high. IIRC, Leeds City Council negotiated with central government for there to be an exception to the cap on means-tested rent assistance (what is now Housing Benefit, used to be part of Supplementary Benefit.) This meant that there were many residents with little to spare for big bills. I remember there were quite a lot of single parents with small children. I think it also tended to be easier to jump the housing list by accepting Leek Street if you needed accommodation in a hurry and were willing and able to shell out the rent. There was one smallish section where the favoured tenants lived. I'm thinking here of people like a solicitor newly-appointed by the Council who needed somewhere till a residence more suited to his status could be found.

I don't think any earlier posters have mentioned that this complex was originally intended to be heated with gas. Although the local conversion to natural gas came around 1972 (IIRC) the promise of this abundant and promised cheap fuel was behind this choice. In the event, a serious gas explosion at the Ronan Point tower block in London, which was constructed in a similar way and collapsed like the house of cards which it was, led to a change of policy and a turn instead to electricity. I believe that the first block to be completed was piped for gas and was either never occupied, or a long time in being converted.

From the outset, the flats were cold and damp. Much of the damp was from the condensation caused by poor insulation but there were leaks as well. In the early days, tenants with such problems were advised by ill-informed housing managers to turn up the heating and everything would be OK once all the initial damp had dried out. The only result was a lot of people with huge electricity bills that they could ill-afford. Somebody mentioned power cuts and during Ted Heath's Three Day Week, they were done on a four hours on, four hours off rota. The only alternative heating for anybody who had to keep warm was parrafin, which just adds to the condensation.

Municipal housing tends to get a bit of a reputation but IME, the huge majority of residents are normal decent people whose lives are made a misery by the few people who are nowadays known as anti-social. Once an area goes a bit downhill, the problem people are dumped there and things just deteriorate and anyone who can leave does so. The timescale for that happening at Leek Street must have been one of the quickest in history.

There were some relatively minor problems. The "street" names were placed in such a way that it was difficult for anybody without good local knowledge to find an address. Often the only way to be sure was to knock on a door and see if it was the right one. This led to problems with people mistakenly knocking on the wrong door, getting no answer and assuming the people who had called had gone out. There were some odd design features in that some flats had their front door on what would have been their first floor in a conventional house. You entered and the stairs went down. Not a problem, more a quirk.

Housing the large numbers of people needing accommodation at that time cannot have been an easy project and system-built blocks of flats must have seemed an easy way of achieving that but what a disaster it all turned out to be.

Comparisons with Quarry Hill Flats have been made and during the time I've been talking about, the Housing Department had its offices in Buckingham House at Headingley, a large former dwellinghouse converted for office use. I've been there quite often to get statements when Council property was stolen or damaged. At Buckingham House there was a scale model of Quarry Hill in a display cabinet so large it filled a large part of the hall. Anybody working there must have been reminded daily of the earlier folly. I wonder if there's still a model of Hunslet Grange on display somewhere to serve as an ineffective reminder?
iansmithofotley
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby iansmithofotley » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 7:33 pm

Hi Mick,

I agree, Leek Street Flats were a nightmare for the Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service, etc. It was almost impossible to find flat numbers. Even if you got to Ashbourne Croft, Rylstone Lawn, Milner Chase, etc., there was no logical sequence as to flat numbers. At least with Quarry Hill Flats, the outer perimeter of all of the 'houses' of flats were in alphabetical order (e.g. Molyneux House, Neilson House, Oastler House, Priestley House, etc.) and it was very easy to find any particular house or flat.

The building work on Leek Street Flats was absolutely appalling. Apart from the services, there were massive gaps at many of the joinings of walls and ceilings in all of the flats that I visited. I felt really sorry for the residents, some of whom had been moved there from Quarry Hill Flats. I also seem to remember that some of the flats were used as student accommodation in their latter years before their demolition.

On top of all this, John Poulson, the architect of Leek Street Flats and other Leeds buildings, made a fortune before his demise and imprisonment for corruption with local authorities, builders, etc.

Ian
TABBYCAT
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby TABBYCAT » Tue 11 Oct, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi Ian.

You state that J Poulson was the architect of Hunslet Grange do you have a source for that as these flats are an interest of mine and I can't seem to find anything re the designer of said buildings apart from them being built by Shepherd construction.
I know City House and the Westgate pool are his designs but nowhere can I find a link between Poulson and Hunslet Grange.

warringtonrhino
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby warringtonrhino » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 10:05 am

Leek Street Flats were designed by Poulson’s architectural practice.
They were commissioned by Leeds City Council and approved by their planning department
When working as an architect in Leeds I kept a photograph of Leek Street Flats in my briefcase.
If a planner had objections to the appearance of my proposed building designs, I took out the photograph to remind them how low the bar was!
TABBYCAT
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Re: Leak Street flats

Postby TABBYCAT » Wed 12 Oct, 2016 11:57 am

warringtonrhino wroteColonLeek Street Flats were designed by Poulson’s architectural practice.
They were commissioned by Leeds City Council and approved by their planning department
When working as an architect in Leeds I kept a photograph of Leek Street Flats in my briefcase.
If a planner had objections to the appearance of my proposed building designs, I took out the photograph to remind them how low the bar was!



So designed by Poulsons practice which would suggest any architect employed there rather than Poulson specifically?
Although,I suppose, as head he would have to sign off on the design.

Many thanks for clear and concise answer WR.

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