Meadow Lane Gas Works.

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volvojack
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Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby volvojack » Wed 01 Mar, 2017 4:15 pm

I realise this Works has been mentioned before but i wanted to add to Leodians post without going on to the Somme V.C. thread.
I also used to pass the Site every day in the 1950s. The entrance was just before the start of Dewsbury Road with the Union Tavern Pub on the corner. On the opposite side of the road among the parade of shops there was the "Golden Galleon" cafe run by small Asian man, possibly one of the earliest to set up business in Leeds. When we were walking home from Town after missing the last bus we would call in ( Black Joe's) as it was known as he not only stayed open late but made very large chips. the kitchen was up a couple of steps and sat there was an extremely large Alsation which did deter lads from trying to leave without paying. He was a very affable felow as i recall but as i went in the Forces in 1954 i dont know how long he stayed there.
jma
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby jma » Wed 01 Mar, 2017 8:35 pm

I'm sorry if I've mentioned this before but I can't search to check.

In the 1960's there used to be a traffic point at the junction of Victoria Road, Dewsbury Road, Meadow Lane and Meadow Road outside the gas works and the chequered box that you stood in to direct traffic was stored in there. It had wheels to trundle it in and out. No doubt the system changed from time to time but in my day (Feb 1968) you did three weeks between two sets of nights. There were two shifts 0730 x 1530 and 1030 x 1830, the idea being that between 1030 and 1530 you shared it out between you, unless your oppo was lazy. We had to wear long white plastic macs and at 5'8" I was like the character from Dastardly and Muttley. (Below on left ;) ) There was a spotlight on a high lamp standard, with a switch half way up the pole which I found hard to reach. Every so often, you would have to jump out of the box to avoid being hit. You would get lorry drivers pulling up next to you and asking the way to a street in another city altogether. Time dragged and whichever way you looked there was a public clock, four in all. Even in those days, the air was laden with fumes. Older colleagues referred to a chief constable in earlier years - John Willy Barnett - whose theory was that if you allowed less traffic to enter the city than you allowed to leave, there would be no congestion.

One older colleague gleefully told me about a corpse having recently been discovered in a house on Victoria Road. It had lain undiscovered for months in front of the telly with an electric fire on so most of the flesh had gone, except between the hand and cheek where the head had been propped up watching the box.

During my three weeks I passed my police driving test and was freed from the other (traffic) box.

Re the gasworks, there was a canteen where some popped in for a cuppa. There was a tale about one notorious scrounger who was said to have asked for a slice of bread and then nicked a postage stamp sized bit of cold meet from each of thirty odd plated cold meals.
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volvojack
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby volvojack » Wed 01 Mar, 2017 9:02 pm

[quote="jma"]I'm sorry if I've mentioned this before but I can't search to check.

In the 1960's there used to be a traffic point at the junction of Victoria Road, Dewsbury Road, Meadow Lane and Meadow Road outside the gas works and the chequered box that you stood in to direct traffic was stored in there. It had wheels to trundle it in and out. No doubt the system changed from time to time but in my day (Feb 1968) you did three weeks between two sets of nights. There were two shifts 0730 x 1530 and 1030 x 1830, the idea being that between 1030 and 1530 you shared it out between you, unless your oppo was lazy. We had to wear long white plastic macs and at 5'8" I was like the character from Dastardly and Muttley. (Below on left ;) ) There was a spotlight on a high lamp standard, with a switch half way up the pole which I found hard to reach. Every so often, you would have to jump out of the box to avoid being hit. You would get lorry drivers pulling up next to you and asking the way to a street in another city altogether. Time dragged and whichever way you looked there was a public clock, four in all. Even in those days, the air was laden with fumes. Older colleagues referred to a chief constable in earlier years - John Willy Barnett - whose theory was that if you allowed less traffic to enter the city than you allowed to leave, there would be no congestion.

One older colleague gleefully told me about a corpse having recently been discovered in a house on Victoria Road. It had lain undiscovered for months in front of the telly with an electric fire on so most of the flesh had gone, except between the hand and cheek where the head had been propped up watching the box.

During my three weeks I passed my police driving test and was freed from the other (traffic) box.

Re the gasworks, there was a canteen where some popped in for a cuppa. There was a tale about one notorious scrounger who was said to have asked for a slice of bread and then nicked a postage stamp sized bit of cold meet from each of thirty odd plated cold meals.

Very funny post jma. though i guess not for the lad stood on duty. Though i lived in Beeston for years i don't remember this although lots of times coming down Dewsbury Road we would nip down the back road that led behind the gas works and finally come out on to Hunslet Rooad.
iansmithofotley
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby iansmithofotley » Wed 01 Mar, 2017 10:13 pm

Hi everyone,

I started my Police career at Upper Wortley Police Station in 1965. It was a similar situation to that previously described and the same long white plastic coats were worn along with white gloves. The daily (midweek) traffic points, in that division, were at Wellington Road/Armley Road, Wellington Road/Spence Lane and Broad Lane/Leeds & Bradford Road. The points were manned from 7.30am - 9.30am and 4.30pm – 6.30pm.

On top of this there were numerous school crossing duties to be performed, throughout the Division. When I first joined, my foot beat (I) was in the Armley Road/Wellington Road/Tong Road area, but within a few weeks of my posting I was sent on a one week ‘noddy bike’ course and usually patrolled on a Velocette ‘noddy bike’, over a two beat area (I and J) as far as Whitehall Road and Lower Wortley.

On early turns (6am – 2pm) I was often allocated traffic duty at Armley Road/Wellington Road (7.30am), a school crossing (usually outside Castelton School or the Clock School in Armley Road or Armley Park School in Stanningley Road at 11.50am -12.30pm and again at 1pm until 1.45pm and then back to the Police Station to finish work at 2pm. With a 45 minute meal break and paperwork to sort out, on some shifts there was little time to deal with routine calls, other enquiries or lock anybody up.

Late turns (2pm – 10pm) were similar but with only one school crossing at about 3.30pm – 4.15pm and traffic duty at 4.30pm – 6.30pm followed by a late meal break.

Some school crossing duties were covered by civilian School Crossing Patrols (‘lollypop men/ladies’) but if they were on sick leave or on holiday, the Police had to cover.

When the ‘yellow line’ system, known as Clearways, was introduced for ‘no parking’ on designated roads from 8am - 9.15am and 4.30pm - 6.30pm, officers were allocated to patrol these roads to keep them clear and issue parking tickets.
This was another just another traffic duty that had to be performed by the Divisional Staff.

In those days, the Road Traffic Department worked out of Belle Vue Road Garage and covered the city. In later years, some traffic officers were posted to Divisions to work with uniform shifts. Their main duties were dealing with some accidents (often passed on, by them, to the Division to deal with), reporting traffic offenders, examining vehicles, escorting unusual loads plus attending normal traffic related calls.

Perhaps the most famous traffic duty point in Leeds was at City Square/Boar Lane/Park Row. This duty was invariably carried out (1950’s/early 1960’s), during mornings, by PC 681 Nobby Clark. Motorists passing this point usually knew if Nobby was on duty as the traffic was generally flee-flowing and if he was not on duty, and somebody else did it, there were traffic jams.

When Nobby Clark retired, I was allocated his collar number.

Funnily enough, I quite enjoyed doing traffic duty and the time past very quickly. I only did it for a couple of years though, as at the end of two years in the Division I moved into C.I.D. at Ireland Wood Police Station.

Ian

jma
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby jma » Wed 01 Mar, 2017 10:43 pm

I'd not want a thread about Meadow Lane gasworks to develop into a history of police traffic duties, but after the 1974 amalgamation, when the chief constable Ronald Gregory decided to take back school crossing patrols from the district Education Departments it nearly brought the job to a halt. One of the worst times was when the high alumina cement problem in schools was being rectified. A lot of schools were closed and others were used on a shift system so one school's staff and pupils would use a building in the morning and early afternoon then the other lot would be there afternoon and early evening. That meant that in addition to covering vacancies or sickness at the normal times, there were all the crossings to be covered at 0730 and again at something like 1830.
volvojack
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby volvojack » Thu 02 Mar, 2017 7:39 pm

Hello jma and Ian. sounds like you enjoyed your time regardless. i bet you would not want to be on that Box these days, white coat or not with the volume of traffic and some of the stunts todays drivers get up to.
Where were the Four clocks you mention?, i can only think of the Church Meadow Lane / Hunslet Road, the only other one i can think of iwas the one on the Parkfield Pub, Dewsbury Road which was a fair distance anyway.
jma
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby jma » Thu 02 Mar, 2017 9:56 pm

Before I started at Dewsbury Road, my knowledge of Leeds 10 and 11 was almost nil. ( I went down over the weekend before I started, just to be sure where the nick was, so I knew where to get off the 46 bus.) It improved PDQ especially from walking around F1 beat (Between the nick and the lower end of Belle Isle Road) and then from disappearing up my own exhaust driving a panda car around (and round again) 69 and 70 beats (Area between Dewsbury Road and Gelderd Road between Cemetery Road, Wesley Street, Brown Lane and the city boundary .) My time directing traffic seemed to drag on forever but it was relatively short and 49 years ago. There were definitely clocks whichever way you turned and it was one of the things that everybody commented on. The biggest was in front of you on the right if you had Victoria Road on your left. I couldn't now tell you the name of any building there then, except the gas works. IIRC, there was a public convenience on an island, possibly between Dewsbury Road and Meadow Road. No clock on there, BTW, but it's one of the buildings I seem to remember.
volvojack
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby volvojack » Fri 03 Mar, 2017 10:12 am

Your mention of clocks reminds me that as the buses on a morning were always filled to capacity i was usually worried about getting to work on time. The first clock i would see was the one outside of Dewsbury Road Police Station / Library, then onto the large one outside the Parkfield Pub, Church at Junction Meadow lane / Hunslet Road and finally Dysons, Lower Briggate.

( There was a clock over the front of the Old Red Lion Pub on the end of Water Lane but you would only see that when comiing out of Town )

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tyke bhoy
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby tyke bhoy » Fri 03 Mar, 2017 10:58 am

Image
Courtesy of Leodis http://www.leodis.net/display.aspx?reso ... 1_95101566 One of the clocks, Christ Church, which would have been north. West would be in the vicinity of Manor Road/Sweet Street. If there was a big clock in the vicinity of Apex House on the corner of Parkfield Street then that may just have been visible to the south but I can't see Alf Cookes (opposite Black Bull Street) being either big enough or not obscured to be readable in the east.

JMA is also correct about the public convenience. A regular stopover for bus drivers probably into the 80s. The island is still there as a bus lane at the end of Holmes Street

Edit: Jack posted while I was searching Leodis for other possible clocks
living a stones throw from the Leeds MDC border at Lofthouse

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jma
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Re: Meadow Lane Gas Works.

Postby jma » Fri 03 Mar, 2017 12:28 pm

Perhaps one of the main things this illustrates is how much traffic has increased over the last 50 years. Look at that junction now and I fancy there's more traffic at 2-00am than there used to be at 8.30am. You wouldn't stand in the middle of the road directing traffic these days.

This has reminded me of something raised on another thread: the Late Chief Superintendent David "Black Sam" Noble, who had been a sergeant major and "went by the rules." One of these, as I've already mentioned was wearing a white coat. Although I did my main point duty stint here in February, as a probationer I had to relieve occasionally at other times. In warmer weather, those huge plastic macs were extra uncomfortable. Some sort of white cotton coat or jacket would have been much more comfortable. That was also the time when fluorescent waistcoats were being introduced although they were still orange, rather than the modern lime green. I remember on one hot day, I was wearing shirt sleeves (something which had only been permitted since the new uniforms were introduced in 1953) with a hi-viz waistcoat. In no time at all, PC 906 Bunting arrived on a noddy bike and handed me a white mac "With the compliments of Chief Superintendent Noble." Funny the things that stick in your memory.

Back to the gasworks, there's some sort of distribution centre there, presumably because when "North Sea Gas" was introduced, it still used the town gas pipes. Bearing in mind the number of people who used to work at this and other Leeds gasworks, there must be plenty with memories of working there, rather than standing in a box outside. Presumably none are members of this forum.

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