Photo: Mark Stevenson

Mark’s History: Look down, our industrial past could be at your feet

12 January 2020

Some of you may remember the TV series Heartbeat or seen the repeats on ITV, writes Mark Stevenson.

The scenes that were filmed in the police cells were filmed in Otley – not exactly West Leeds I know, but bear with me.

Sloan and Davidson on the floor of the police cells in Otley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

I went to see these cells (anyone can) when I noticed a ‘frosted’ window on the floor (not sure what they are called) and I noticed it was made by Sloan and Davidson Leeds.

I had seen this name before on manhole covers around Leeds, so I decided to look the name up.

Stanningley past: A William Barraclough manhole on Bagley Lane, Farsley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Turns out the company was based at 177 Kirkstall Road the old Thyssenkrupp site in 1894 and the Carrick Foundry in Stanningley (roughly where Stanningley Fire Station is now) in 1918.

Next time you see a manhole cover with Sloan and Davidson on you could be looking at a piece of West Leeds history that could date back a 100 years or more.

You can also see manhole covers cast by Arthur Gibbs and Son of Pudsey and William Barraclough of Providence and Victoria Ironworks, Stanningley, as you walk around West Leeds.

During World War One Sloan and Davidson advertised that they made castings for the construction and erection of aeroplane and airship sheds. They employed 108 men and no women. 

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Gloria Thompson says:

I was born in a house at the side of Sloan and Davidson, my dad’s family worked there, I find the history of Leeds really interesting