The corner of Harehills Terrace in 1956
By site user Gerry Dubbin
Gerry Dubbin now lives in Australia but he has fond memories of living in Harehills.
As a boy who grew up in Harehills during the 1939-45 war, I am appalled that the place has generated into what, from this distance, appears to be much like the more seedy locations in big cities across the world.
During my youth, while Harehills was certainly a very 'working class' district, it was a very safe place to live - no drugs, no riots. Admittedly as a boy living in Harehills Tarrace (now demolished and turned into a forlorn shadow of a park - a patch of grass with a few jaded bushes) each Saturday night, we experienced the usual drunks weaving their way from one or other of the local pubs, via Dyson's fish and chip shop at the intersection of our street with Roundhay Road, getting into fights and launching into song as they weaved their beery way to their houses at the top of the street.
Most of the places I knew have either been knocked down or are in dire need of being so treated and re-developed. My old school, Harehills Secondary Modern (otherwise known to us reluctant inmates as the Harehills Secondary madhouse) was, on my last visit, boarded up before it would seem being demolished.
I am in the process of writing a book about growing up in Harehills, and of course Leeds, during the war. It seems to me that while we used to live in very old houses with few possessions and little in the way of luxuries, there was then a real sense of community. There was respect for the local 'copper' as he wended his way down the streets with measured step, along the pavement and over the 'dummy' stones on his nightly vigil to keep the peace. We even used to leave doors unlatched as we had little to steal and in any case, the local neighbours would keep an eye out for any stranger in the street.
It's sad to visit, from my home in Melbourne, Australia, and to see how the streets, Spencer Place, Harehills Road and Harehills Lane with the FForde Green have deteriorated (they used to seem so busy, wide and in the case of some - majestic).
Nice to see that St Augustine's church on Harehills road is still standing as it has fond memories for me - not a religious revelation for me though. It was under its hallowed entrance arch that I and a local lass who shall remain forever in my heart and thoughts, experienced our first taste of the joys that only a boy and a girl can share.
Harehills - you will always have a place in my heart... you may be a bit tatty these days but you will always be my Harehills to me.
The photo in this article is copyright www.leodis.net
last updated: 30/04/2008 at 14:48
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