Post Hill has a rich history – and a special place in the heart of West Leeds Dispatch editor John Baron. Community reporter Susan Denton speaks to him about prisoner of war camps, scrambling and Pudsey Beck.
John has been local to Post Hill for most of his 47 years, either living at one side of the valley in Pudsey, or the other in Farnley.
He loved growing up in Pudsey – a vibrant market town which has its own individual character.
John said that some of the older residents remember Italian prisoners during World War Two walking around the town. They were encamped at Post Hill in the 1940s.
John went on to say Post Hill was one of his favourite places, his current home backs onto fields leading to it – and it’s his knowledge of journalism that provides the answer as to how the area got its name. It was the Yorkshire Post newspaper who acquired the area and sponsored motorcycle speed and climbing events on the site from 1926.
John believes an accident to one of the riders, resulting in his death, put a stop to motorcycle scrambling. In fact, the only recorded death was that of a local doctor in 1931. He was a passenger on a tractor climbing to the top of the hill when he was involved in a fatal accident.
The steep 1-3 gradient caused the tractor to topple backwards, crushing the un-named doctor who was there as a track official at the time. Although racing was suspended for a couple of weeks, it did re-commence a few weeks later.
In the 1950s TV cameras were there, recording the sport, ensuring Post Hill became known nationally.
John is enthusiastic about Post Hill past and present. He points to the beauty of the woods and the walks.
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