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Scholes - The Holy City!
Some memories of Scholes over the last 75 years

Barwicker No.110
June 2013

I was born just before the Second World War in Arthursdale in a house overlooking Arthursdale cricket field (now buried beneath the Wimpey estate). It appeared to me that Barwick and Scholes were communities very different from one another.

Although Barwick probably existed in some form before Scholes, the remains of the ancient earth works are still evident in both communities. What was apparent for much of the 20th Century was that the two villages had developed quite differently from each other. To the south of Barwick there were still numerous operational coal mines and beyond Garforth and many colliery workers lived in Barwick and Aberford (where the old Fly Line terminated.) Each village was surrounded by farmland an, in the absence of the powerful agricultural machinery available these days, the bulk of farm work required teams of manual workers throughout the year with many extra helpers drafted in at harvest time. The heavy jobs of ploughing, harrowing, harvesting and haulage involved the use of heavy horses, but they in turn created considerable work in their stabling, feeding, harness maintenance (as any horse owner will know only too well), and the occasional attention of the farrier, or blacksmith whenever they needed to be re-shod.

Even after the Second World War there was still open country from Seacroft to Stanks; Stanks to Scholes and from Scholes to Barwick. The earliest public transport was horse-drawn and the introduction of motor transport completely transformed travel and boosted by the development of the railway and the opening of the station in 1876, Scholes began to develop as a dormitory suburb of Leeds. In the 1920s/30s houses were built along Leeds Road, Station Road (and various short cul-de-sacs leading off it) and Arthursdale was developed along The Avenue and up Nook Road. The large developments involving the Belle Vue Estate and the accompanied extensions of the Station Road cul-de-sacs, and the Arthursdales did not proceed until the 1950s and the late 1960s/ 1970s respectively.

The West Yorkshire bus service to Scholes terminated at Rakehill Road, the buses turning round by reversing into the station (The Buffers) entrance and stopping, often for some considerable time, outside Brookes' (now Satnam's) shop. From Leeds one bus service to Barwick and Aberford went direct, past the Coronation Tree, but another went via Scholes Station. Because, by then, more residents of Scholes than of Barwick tended to be in 'white collared' occupations some of the bus conductors often scornfully referred to Scholes as 'The Holy City'. With its very old, stone-built houses along Main Street, Barwick remained more of a typical old village until the Richmondfield, Flats Lane, and Elmwood estates were completed and, although boasting three times as many public houses, it seemed to us to have lagged somewhat behind Scholes.

In 1929 Arthursdale Cricket Club was created by a splinter group from Scholes Cricket Club and both played in the Wetherby League. Barwick played in the Barkston Ash League which was then considered inferior. Not until many years later did Barwick change leagues, after some Barwickers joined Arthursdale CC. In Scholes we had the Village Players; successful tennis and badminton clubs; the first horticultural society in the area; a steam traction engine and threshing machine used at harvest time; an orchestra albeit not a frequent performer, and a dance band. The Parish Council offices were in Scholes and most Saturday night entertainment was centred in Scholes Village Hall where the (alcohol-free) frequent dances drew regulars from both villages and beyond.

It is only in fairly recent times that Barwick has developed to consider itself to be the predominant community. Those of us of a certain age remember it as it was, and Scholes as the Holy City.

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