Leeds Irish Centre
Name: Leeds Irish Centre
Description: Leeds Irish Centre
Location: NowThen
Contributor: West Yorkshire Archive Service
Rights: West Yorkshire Archive Service
Sheila's grandparents were Irish. Sheila's grandparents moved across to Leeds and lived in The Bank, the largest Irish sector of Leeds.

Sheila's grandparents were Irish. Sheila’s grandparents moved across to Leeds and lived in The Bank, the largest Irish sector of Leeds. It was here that her mam was born. Her dad was born on Burley Road in Kirkstall.

Sheila lived in Gipton until she was ten at 108 Brander Road. As the family grew, Brander Road was no longer big enough to accommodate her and her six siblings. The family moved to Hawkshead Crescent in Seacroft. She lived in Seacroft until she was 60.

“Leeds used to be cleaner.” said Sheila “I remember our street cleaner. He used to come round with his barrow and shovel and make sure everywhere was spotless.”

Leeds has always been a lively place full of entertainment. “There was always somewhere to go in Leeds.” Sheila reminisced about the dance halls, picture houses and youth clubs. “You could go dancing any night of the week; you didn’t have to go to pubs. The Barnbow, a Royal Ordnance Ammunition Factory (Cross Gates) used its canteen as a dance hall on the weekends. It was half a crown on Saturdays.”

“We only got sweets on Sundays after Mass” Sheila recollects “We’d have to put one of our sweets on top of the piano, one for every family member. We’d been brought up to share you see. Those sweets could sit there nearly all week; I used to ask my sister if she wanted hers or whether I could have. She’d just say ‘Oh go on then you have it’.”

Sheila remembers in 1947 when family allowance started her mam used to get 5 shillings for each of the younger three of her children. Her mam used to save up the money so that she could buy each of them a pair of wellies when winter came. Sheila carried on that tradition of saving up for things that she really wanted or needed. She remembers when she got her first washing machine in Torre Road. It was very special as the washing machine saved her an entire day which had been taken over by washing the clothes by hand with in a dolly tub with a washboard and posser.