Video: Middleton Life oral history film – part one

The Middleton Life local history project launched last week, with local residents contributing towards history panels, a stained glass window and a special heritage edition of South Leeds Life magazine, which is out soon.

They’ve also put together a 25-minute oral history film, which saw Middleton Life members interview fellow residents on the memories of bygone times.

We’ve split the film up into bite-sized sections. See beloe for the first part of the film, which focuses on changing times in Middleton…


2 Replies to “Video: Middleton Life oral history film – part one”

  1. Hate to put a downer on some  of the fond memories of Middleton. This is what I remember of the 40’s and 50’s—- 46 kids per class, no textbooks. Shaven haired (lice) malnourished children. Teachers sprinkling the classroom to kill bugs. Clogged up deplorable school toilets that were unusable as were the public toilets in the Circus.’ No Go’ areas like behind the Tivoli where gangs of neglected half dressed snot nosed kids would pelt you with stones if you dared to enter their territory. Many houses had to be sporadically fumigated in this ghetto.

    The Middleton Arms was male dominated and rough. Late night trams returning from Leeds had the upper deck swilled with vomit, spit and were thick with smoke.Trams were inadequate in rush hour and you were often made late for work or school.

    Frankly I have never lived in a place with so much burglary and thievery. You were always hard pressed to find a pubic phone which was not vandalized or had been used as a toilet. Considering the number of families that had moved from slum dwellings the support structure for them was almost non existent. No decent medical facility  or library or sports facilities.The cinema had a dip in its flooring which on Saturday matinees often flowed with urine .It was a ideal place to catch fleas.

    It is a good job we went around in groups when we played in the excellent Middleton Park because it was often frequented by perverts. As time went by the paddle pool became full of broken glass and therefore unusable.

    Glad that many believe that they had a great childhood even though it was short .Until about 1950 you probably  left school not long after your 14th birthday. At the old Cockburn High School, being from Middleton was the same as being a scum bag.

    Having described this rather gloomy scenario I will always be thankful for the life long friends  I made in Miggy . None of them chose to remain there. Hope it has improved since  1960. It was already much too large for a slum clearance project back then, so it’s hard to believe building on all those fields and woodlands has improved matters.


    K. Bok 

    1. Hi – thanks for your comment, it’s always interesting to read about people’s memories, good and bad. I know the Middleton Life group members were keen that what they produced (which includes the history panels at Tenants Hall and the forthcoming special edition of South Leeds Life magazine) didn’t produce a view of old Miggy through rose-tinted spectacles.

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