John Keavey, Full Transcript

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John Keavey (JK) talks to W.R. Mitchell (WRM) about the popularity of cycling clubs, when Sunday club runs introduced many mill workers to the countryside. He also discusses the revolutionary impact of the trams and railways which increased the mobility of the ordinary working classes from the late nineteenth into the twentieth century.


[Start of interview: 00:00:11]

WRM: About this middle-class business?

JK: Yes well, as I understand it from recollections of my Uncles initially the bicycle in Yorkshire was mostly taken up by the middle-classes, and the sort of instances I’ve come across were people like Doctors, who would find it convenient to use the bike to visit a patient rather than get out the horse and carriage of those days.

WRM: Did this happen in urban areas as well as country areas?

JK: Yes, I think we tend now to under-estimate the ease of communication which the bicycle afforded in those days. I mean after all in the 1890s we hadn’t even got electric trams then, so travel must have been fairly difficult in the town. And I don’t think our northern towns ever had hansom cabs and so on to the extent that they had down in London. But my sort of family recollection comes from two brothers who became involved to a limited extent in cycling, this would be I would guess about the turn of the century, and they fired my ambition slightly. They used to talk of a midnight ride to Scarborough that was held every summer by the Leeds’ clubs, and they were mounted... I think by then Penny Farthings were more or less ‘out’. They’d be on what we call ‘the safety cycle’, something rather like a very heavy [unclear 00:01:51 – Reg Woodworth? Could mean a Reg Harris or a Holdsworth bicycle]. Heavy by modern standards anyway. And they used to leave Leeds about eleven o’clock or midnight Saturday, go through Tadcaster and York and end up in Scarborough possibly by breakfast time on the Sunday. By that I take it they meant about eight o’clock. So really for those days, considering the state of the roads, if they got the sixty odd miles to Scarborough by eight o’clock on the Sunday morning I don’t think they were doing too badly. In my club days we had midnight runs then possibly to Scarborough or Whitby, and whilst we certainly left a little later and got there early we were quiet tired at the end of the day.

WRM: When did the cycle really become associated with leisure in these mill towns? You know, the theme of this little booklet would be the mill towns just a little to the west of Leeds. I suppose the clubs there are pretty well established, are they?

JK: Some of them are. An awful lot, of course, have faded out and sometimes been replaced by newer clubs. There was certainly a fair amount of organised club activity in the mill towns in the days between the turn of the century and the Great War. In fact, you may recollect a very classic little short play on the television a few years ago on Boxing Day, based on a cycling club run from somewhere around Halifax. It was quite a little gem on its own. There are clubs of course that were started between the 1880s and 1890s that are still going. There was one in Leeds, ‘The Seacroft and Crossgates Club’, which didn’t finally peter out until the early post-war years but there are some that have managed to carry on. Quite a lot of course were formed after the boom immediately after the Great War. I think possibly it’s from about the ’20s onwards that cycling took off to a certain extent in Yorkshire. I would suggest that people came back from the Great War with their eyes opened a little? Their horizons had been extended and they were possibly a little more conscious of things they could do, which they had never perhaps thought of before the Great War. So from the sort of history I can draw on, there were a lot of clubs formed, and a lot of clubs revived, round about the early ‘20s. In fact, a lot of the old timers...I think Cyril Cryer would make the same point: the golden days for cycling as we know it must have been from about the mid-20s to the mid-30s, when road surfaces were becoming quite good but traffic was relatively light, and I think the cyclist really was king of the road then.

WRM: Was there this element of the depression years too, meaning that cycling was a cheap form of escapism from the kind of mill background into the country? It was the sort of recreation that could be undertaken with minimum expense.

JK: Yes, that’s always been very important, but I would think that during the worst of the depression a lot of people had neither the money nor the energy even to take advantage of the bike. I can remember an uncle. My family as a whole were lucky; they were insulated against the years of the depression I think by the diversity of the occupations which they followed. But one Uncle in particular used to work for Blackburn Aircraft at Roundhay Road in Leeds and he got made suddenly redundant, it was some years before he got back to them at Brough, and he used to take me out. I had a little sit-up-and-beg and I was about eleven at the time. We used to go from Dewsbury Road across to say Woodkirk, Dewsbury, Batley, and I can remember there the lethargy of people. Even though they had time on their hands they just hadn’t the spirit to do anything with it. They were completely beaten into the ground. So I think those who would have enjoyed the bicycle in those days were those who were still in work, and had the means and the energy. I think we must perhaps put it in its perspective and admit that in the West Riding, although the bicycle was a means of escape and was very popular at the weekends it was still one of the minority sports. You couldn’t really, I don’t think, compare its mass effect with the tradition of cricket or football. Nevertheless the West Riding was a hotbed of cycling. I mean one of my early recollections as a boy of about fourteen or fifteen (and I lived on one of the main roads out of Leeds, the Dewsbury Road) is seeing the scores of cyclists often by then a little bit weary plodding up Dewsbury Road, which was sets in those days: not the cyclists’ favourite form of road surface by any means. On a summer’s night from possibly say five o’clock until about eight or nine up Dewsbury Road there was a constant, steady stream of twos and threes or complete clubs all making their way back to the heavy woollen district. They’d been out, possibly to Boston Spa or York, further afield, or up the Dales, and from that part of the world the obvious way back was of course through Leeds. And it was seeing these scores of people that sort of fired my ambition. I felt at least they were doing something with their Sunday.

WRM: What period was that?

JK: This would be 1936-1937-1938. I started to explore with my bike about 1936 and 1937 with a few others from school. We used to go out on Sunday afternoons as far as Sherburn-in-Elmet to watch the light aircraft, or Boston Spa. And then it comes to that stage I suppose in any teenage boy, is he going to take up some compelling interest, sport or activity or is he as I put it going to follow the crowd and possibly just start chasing the girls. Anyhow I opted for the Sunday pursuit and joined the Cyclists’ Touring Club. The first run was ninety miles, Leeds to Bedale and back, and I’ve cycled a few hundred thousand miles since then but I’ll never forget that first club run.

WRM: In these little mill towns I suppose there would always be a little group of cyclists, enthusiastic cyclists, whether they were in a club or not would there? You know, from Dewsbury, Otley and that area. And you know, where did they used to go, did they used to get over quite long distances in a day or a weekend?

JK: Well, I can answer you in two parts there. If you take the heavy woollen district, there were individual clubs in Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Gomersal, Spen Valley, Drighlington, Drighlington Bicycle Club. Yes, you could say that each small community would have its own club, and at that time the club run was the central part of the activity. There were annual holiday tours, and there was quite a bit of racing, but everything really was centred on the Sunday club run. You’d probably find that a lot of the clubs would divide themselves into two or three sections. You might have a hard riding section, a general or a family section, and perhaps a racing section. They had odd names - the touring section [could be called] ‘potterers’ - and the runs would be graded according to the ability or desires of the people taking part. But for the heavy woollen district they would tend very frequently to go out eastward. It was their easiest access: either Wakefield and Hook Moor out to Aberford, or down through Leeds then out on the Wetherby or Tadcaster roads. And I would say taking the average club run for the average club, in winter they would probably do perhaps a total day’s mileage of 40-50 miles. They’d probably go from say Dewsbury out to Otley or Tadcaster, or even York. In the summer according to the section, the runs would be anything from 80 to 130 or 140 [miles]. And then you would have their reliability trials, where they would aim to do say 200 miles in 24 hours riding through the night. I think one of the points about club runs was that you looked forward to each season. There was no closed season. In the spring and summer you would be looking forward to long runs, getting out to places which you hadn’t seen for a few months or new country. Even getting up to the top of the Dales, out as far as the Hambleton Hills, the Cleveland Hills or down into the Wolds. During autumn and winter runs would get shorter as the days were shorter and it was more the social season, and there were probably more what you might call social or novelty events. You had speed judging contests, hill climbs, treasure hunts; there was always the annual holly run where you went out to some favoured spot. Possibly one favourite village of ours was Arkendale, just off the A1, and you’d gather holly. There was often the Christmas dinner run, taken the first Sunday after Christmas, and you’d go out to a pub and enjoy a Christmas dinner. And this brings one to a very important difference between cycling pre-war and cycling post-war. In fact, I did once send you a few notes on this. You would almost always carry your own food. Now whatever part of the north you came from there would be a string of pubs, farmhouses, cafés who catered for the cyclist, and by ‘catering’ it meant normally that they gave you a space in which to eat your sandwiches and they plied you with a mug of tea for four pence, which was refilled as often as you wanted until the nice, brown, steaming pot of tea became virtually just a mug of hot water. But you accepted that, it was still refreshing. And one of the customs peculiar I think to the north (it didn’t happen in the south) especially in the winter was with your sandwiches you had taken possibly a tin of soup, and certain catering houses would warm the soup for you and lend you a plate and a spoon. And when the club captain went round to collect the four pences for the pots of tea he would have to remember that so-and-so had had a tin of soup warmed up and a plate. And there would be a ha’penny for warming the soup, and a ha’penny for borrowing the plate.

WRM: Gosh.

JK: The same thing also might happen at tea-time. You had to have a tin of fruit. And these were one of things of course that highlighted the aristocrats or the well-off from the more humble. You were judged by the size of the tin of pineapples which you brought out of your cycle bag, and again you would ask for it to be opened and they’d give you a fruit dish and you had your tin of fruit, and you paid a ha’penny or so.

WRM: This was in the ‘30s?

JK: This would be up to 1939.

WRM: And presumably it also took place in the ‘20s did it?

JK: It developed in the ‘20s, yes. The boom time I think came from the early ‘30s. About that time the national newspapers I think began to realise that there was a market here. For example, in 1936 I think it was, instead of just having one National Cycling Week they suddenly had three. There is a magazine, Cycling, that’s been going on now for approximately 100 years without a break. Well, in the ‘30s there were two other papers started: The Cyclist and The Bicycle, both of which... Well, I think one survived the war, the other didn’t. The Yorkshire Evening News in Leeds started organising rallies for cyclists to go to. I would say from about 1932 onwards, 1932 to 1939, cycling did play a fairly significant part in a lot of people’s lives in the West Riding, and whilst it mostly centred on the club run we mustn’t forget that there were the lone riders as well. One of the things that fired my imagination was a book the Yorkshire Post published about the early ‘30s. And most of the big dailies did this then, as well as publishing books on walks they published books on cycle runs and there was one on runs up into the Dales. And there was a cover picture of a cyclist on his own, dressed in the garb of the day, which was usually plus fours and a black alpaca jacket, swooping down a hill somewhere up in the Dales and the caption was, ‘The Lone Rider of the Yorkshire Moors.’ And that was one of the things that fired my imagination. I wanted to be a lone rider of the Yorkshire moors.

WRM: [Laughs]

JK: And again, going back, in 1932 I was living at York then in the suburb of Acomb, and we had no public transport up there in those days so I was dragged by the scruff of my neck down to Church every Sunday morning. And I remember walking down Wetherby Road as it is now and seeing some strange clad cyclists passing by. They were dressed in black from top to bottom, no bags or anything on their bike, no mudguards, they were all going by at great speed and they turned off the main road and went up Acomb Green towards Askham. ‘What are those blokes doing?’ And both my Aunt and Uncle said, ‘Well, they’re racing, racing on bicycles, it’s what they call a time trial.’ And I carried the memory of those chaps about me for some years and decided that this was something I too wanted to do, and when I started cycling seriously in 1938 and helped form a club in Leeds (a club with religious affiliations, again due to the necessity of going to Church on a Sunday morning) we decided that we must have our club 25 miles time trial. And lo and behold the course that we were offered, because there was a controlling body then, was what was known as the Acomb course. It’s still in use.

WRM: Good heavens.

JK: It starts at Wetherby race course and runs 12½ miles through Long Marston, Rufforth, through Acomb, up to Askham and back again. And I found myself... because if you wanted to black in those days you had to wear black tights, a black jacket, and if you wanted to wear any head gear it had to be black as well. And I found myself on my stripped down bike pedalling like blazes past the end of Knapton Lane where I used to live, up the green to Askham.

WRM: And people came from a distance to take part in this trial?

JK: Oh, yes.

WRM: So I mean you could get folk coming from Bradford, could you?

JK: Yes, well, Bradford people only really had two or three courses open to them. Most Bradford racing men would ride out. They didn’t come out in their cars in those days, they cycled out to the event, and the two courses most used were the Acomb course and what was known as Borough.  The Borough course in those days started near Hough End Lane and went up to the roundabout north of Boroughbridge, then retraced. There was another course which was used we called ‘The Triangle’, which was very roughly Pool, Arthington, Harewood road, then taking the Harrogate road just short of Spacey Houses then coming back down to Pool bridge. The Triangle was used occasionally after the war. At that time of course it was illegal to race on the roads. You couldn’t have a [unclear 00:20:31 – ‘must start’?] race at that time on the roads, but a time trial in which each man was racing individually against the clock separated at one minute intervals from the man before and after him, that was permissible within the law.

WRM: Gosh.

JK: And the reason why you dressed in black goes back to the early days of competitive sport, when the powers that be ruled that you must be inconspicuous. Now by 1930 you couldn’t have had anything more conspicuous on the road, and a man dressed in black including long black tights... I’ve still got my tights upstairs, by the way.

WRM: Have you?

JK: Being a Yorkshireman I’ve never thought to throw them away.

WRM: Good heavens. What was the other public transport in these West Riding towns? I suppose the tram.

JK: Oh yes, the tram was all important.

WRM: I’m particularly keen on the period from 1900 to about the mid ‘30s, that sort of time. That would be the hey-day of the tram, or it would be a bit early, would it, for trams?

JK: I would think myself that the hey-day of the tram came again in the ‘30s, because although the electric tram began to develop in the late nineteenth century, it must have been the dominant form of transport in those days. I feel it was possibly of even greater significance in the big towns in the ‘30s, because in the ‘30s we had the big social movement of slum clearance and the only way the planners of those days could cater for this slum clearance was by moving people out of the village and bringing them to the big cities. And therefore they came upon the big problem of transport, and Leeds of course was very much a forerunner in slum clearance. I mean the Quarry Hill flats being built close to the centre of the town were unique, but generally speaking Leeds developed outward and you had the huge estates at Crossgates and Middleton.

WRM: This happened in other towns, did it?

JK: This happened in other towns but by then of course you’d got the concept of the reserve track, the expressway for the trams.

WRM: And each little borough in the West Riding would have its own trams, wouldn’t it?

JK: Yes, when I say the tram was perhaps triumphant in the ‘30s, I must remember of course that it had been very much developed. A lot of the small towns had lost their trams by then. If you take Leeds for example you could up to the ‘30s travel by tram from Leeds right through to Wakefield, by joint tramway undertaking. You could travel by tram from Leeds to Bradford. You had to change at Stanningley. They did at one time have arrangements there whereby the gauge of the tram bogie was altered (the Bradford gauge was different to Leeds) and they had that working before the Great War. But technically it was never too successful, and it was easier to make the passengers get out at Stanningley bottom and then go and join the Bradford tram. And throughout the West Riding you had a very close network of tramways. From Bradford for example, I think from memory you could get through to both Halifax and Huddersfield. There had to be a change of trams, but you could get through to both those towns. There was a system along the heavy woollen main valleys, where were Dewsbury and Batley, and there is quite a lot of recorded evidence, quite a few books published and photographs available. The tram did revolutionise life for the working classes. I mean, if you go back to the middle and second parts of the nineteenth century a man had to live within a few minutes walking distance of his work, otherwise how could he get there? There were no buses or trams, not even bicycles in those days, and the tram car obviously was a great social tool.

WRM: Then it was inexpensive, wasn’t it, and there were enough of them.

JK: It was relatively inexpensive, yes. My own recollections of trams of course go back to 1926. I can remember vaguely ‘The Great Strike’ and volunteers running the trams in Leeds and having stones thrown at them. But it’s interesting to look back on say the fares. A little habit of mine in the 1930s when I lived on the outskirts of Leeds at Dewsbury Road and our nearest public library was about a mile and a half away nearby where my grandparents lived, and it was one of the family customs of those days that we all went down on Saturday to change our library books and then went along to the grandparents for a ‘natter’ for want of a better word. And being I suppose a youngster I went ahead of my parents and was given a penny to enable me to use the tram from Dewsbury Road to the library. Well, I found that if I set off running I could get down to the library pretty nearly as quickly as the tram and it saved me a penny. And at about that time, when I was I suppose about eleven or twelve at the time, I was on tuppence or thruppence a week pocket money and I happened to see a Bartholemew’s ‘Half-inch’ map in a shop window and it was of Wharfedale. And I bought that map by running for twelve weeks in succession or fifteen weeks in succession every Saturday morning from the top of Dewsbury Road to the bottom. I had to run otherwise the tram would have beaten me, and I would have had to admit to my parents that I wasn’t spending the penny on the tram. I used it for the map. And it led to other ideas did that because I went to St. Michael’s College at the time, the Jesuit College which was on Hyde Park Road in Leeds, and to get across there meant either one through tram or two changes of tram in the morning. But in the morning of course I went with my father so he paid my tram fare, but coming back at night I was given my tram fare which was three ha’pence: a ha’penny to get from Bellamy Road to Leeds to the Town Hall, and a penny from Briggate up Dewsbury Road. And a few of us who lived in that part of the town found that if we got out of college quickly at the first bell and ran like fury down Kendal Lane, past the front of the Infirmary to the Town Hall and across to Duncan Street, we could be there for about five past four when the first of the peak hour relief trams came out. Now in the ‘30s, most of Leeds’s trams were covered in both top and bottom and it gave you all weather shelter. But some of the old chariots that they brought out for rush hours had what we called open balcony fronts, and it was an unwritten law which no schoolboy dared disobey that if you travelled on these relief trams you sat out at the front: no matter what the weather was you had to go to the front and sit there. We all used to dash for this particular tram, catch it at Dyson’s and set off home. [Sound of tea things arriving and tea being poured] And by doing that we saved the ha’penny tram fare and used to sit in solitary state come hail or shine at the front of the tram. Well, I was the unfortunate because I was the last out: I lived the furthest up Dewsbury Road. And there was many, many a day I had terrific struggles of conscience, because by then I was cold and wet and I wanted to go inside but I daren’t because there was always the risk that somebody up Dewsbury Road might spot me and it might get back. (‘Oh, he chickened out; he went inside at Cross Flatts Park.’) So I used to have to sit out there and stick it. And those trams lasted actually through to the early war years.

WRM: What were the characteristics...? I hope you don’t mind me asking you all these things.

JK: No.

WRM: What were the characteristics of the rail system in the West Riding in the mill town areas? Were they mainly geared to industry and short-haul passenger services?

JK: Yes, there was quite a good network. It was already being eroded by the bus in the early ‘30s but for example, again I lived at Dewsbury Road about half or three-quarters of a mile from Beeston station and I used to go there to watch the trains, and occasionally if I was feeling flush I’d take the train from Beeston into Leeds Central and back which I think cost me tuppence return in those days. And there was a network of local services particularly serving the heavy woollen district. You could, for example, from the old Leeds Central station get a train... and these were trains that developed a sort of atmosphere of their own. They were ex-Great Northern Railway, articulated coaches, plenty of wood, gas lighting, very comfortable plush seats, and made originally for services out of King’s Cross. Now out of Leeds Central there was quite a good service to Castleford which came out through Ardsley. Ardsley in those days was quite an important railway junction with big sheds. Now it’s like Low Moor, it’s just a waste; just two stretches of pre-stressed welded track, flat-bottomed track, running over a cindery waste. In those days it was an important place. And from Beeston to Ardsley I think again the return was about tuppence, so it was quite an exciting ride for youngsters was that. But you could get the train from Leeds to Castleford. You could also get a train from Leeds through Wortley to Dewsbury and Batley, and there was one rather marvellous service which has been rationalised or cut down over the years, but you could still go from Leeds to Bradford via Tingley by changing into a Wakefield-Batley train there. Now Tingley Junction was a marvellous place high up on the hill, isolated from any other houses apart from Tingley crossroads. But there you got the same feeling that I think you get in later years at Garsdale on the Settle-Carlisle. You were in a little, isolated railway world looking down the valley to Leeds on the one side, and also the other way you’re looking over to Morley Town Hall and down into the heavy woollen industry. It was a most romantic place really, all gone of course now. You had a high level railway that came up the cutting from Beeston and then was carried over the Great Northern main line by a stone viaduct that ran above it, and the viaduct is still there even today. It carried this line right on the skyline to Tingley, past where the Gas Board have their place now. Other lines were: Hunslet still had its own station, and there was quite a good service through Hunslet down to Methley and down to the Barnsley line.

WRM: I suppose the real romantic line for the West Riding was the one through Skipton to Morecambe, was it?

JK: Ah yes, well, certainly for Bradford people. Leeds, of course, although a lot of people went to Morecambe, they had a very close loyalty to Scarborough and Bridlington; particularly I think Bridlington. At one time you had commuter traffic from Leeds to Bridlington in the summer.

WRM: Where did the heavy wool industry go by-and-large, like Bradford?

JK: From my recollections there, the heavy woollen people divided their loyalties between Blackpool, Morecambe, Southport, Bridlington and Scarborough; and a small number would go through to Cleethorpes, because before the war the LNER did cultivate quite a traffic from the Bradford area, Wakefield and to a lesser extent their own line through Dewsbury and Batley down to Cleethorpes. A fair outing for day trips, of course, was Belle Vue. But I would say that perhaps the heavy woollen district had a bias towards Blackpool.

WRM: They would go through the Calder gap would they?

JK: Yes, I would say most of them would go that way.

WRM: Rather than, you know, northwards?

JK: I think speaking on a purely personal impression, there was a marked difference between the people of the heavy woollen district and the people of Leeds; they were a much more close-knit, and without sounding snobbish, more of a working-class community in the heavy woollen district. One of the things that - I wouldn’t say appalled me - what’s the word? It struck me very forcibly the first time in 1938 I went to Dewsbury and Batley on some cycling club business, and I went to the Roman Catholic Parish Church hall in Batley where the priest I wanted to see (it was about forming a cycling club) happened to be at the time. And I was surprised at the open hostility which still existed in that part of the world between the various denominations. Not just between Catholics and Protestants but to a certain extent... it wasn’t hostility it was a very deliberate indifference between aspects of the Church of England and the non-conformists, something which we in Leeds were completely alien to.

[Interruption in tape]

WRM: I was just thinking, I came to have a chat with you about the industrial past, and I’ve been hogging all your time.

JK: Not to worry, it’s alright.

WRM: I’ve got to be in Gisburn at about three. Oh, that’s very helpful of you.

JK: Anyway, any time you want.

WRM: Yes, and obviously I’ll augment it with another interview.

JK: Whilst I remember, just one thing, you may be wanting illustrations for this, you know, photographic illustrations. In the National Park Information Centre at Malham is a marvellous blown-up photograph of Malham in possibly about 1937 or ’38 and you can see the whole range of cyclists there: it’s dominated by the cyclists.

WRM: Ah, lovely.

JK: It’s a lovely photograph. It takes me back, you know, to my early days.

WRM: Yes, this particular book would... I’m not sure which towns they cover; I don’t think Leeds will come into it very much. It’ll be heavy woollen industry, Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford, that sort of area, and each little town would have a distinct characteristic, wouldn’t it?

JK: Well, I had an unusual link with those towns because as I mentioned I helped to form a cycling club in ’38. The background was in those days of course that I was a Roman Catholic. Now we had to go to Church on Sunday, and the problem was that the average cycling club, their times for starting runs were not geared to church services at all. So it meant that if we wanted to take up serious cycling we’d to spend half of Sunday morning chasing the club which had set off an hour earlier. So some of us got together and we formed our own club in Leeds. The essential part was we went to Church together and then we set off. Now some of the clubs had been started in Lancashire, so we tried to spread our activity and we did eventually have clubs in the heavy woollen district, in Bradford, Sheffield, Halifax, Huddersfield and so on, and in ’38 and ’39 it was one of my jobs for the national organisation that was being to developed to encourage parishes or groups of interested cyclists in these towns to develop their own club. And it took me quite a lot in that time into the heavy woollen district and I certainly did notice differences. I think that the dominant one was that Leeds was a more prosperous and a more cosmopolitan place than any of the valley towns were.

WRM: The valley towns would virtually live for themselves, wouldn’t they?

JK: They were, yes. They were little, closed-in communities. Now I remember going to one family at Gomersal where the secretary for the heavy woollen district club that we had formed was, and they regarded Dewsbury people almost as people living in another country. Although they would go to Dewsbury sometimes and it wasn’t out of reach or anything, but Dewsbury was regarded as a completely different community to Batley, Gomersal and Birstall. I think they felt that they had more community links with Batley than with Dewsbury. This of course may have been due to the very different spread of textile activity. I mean, Batley was shoddy, wasn’t it; Dewsbury was a more better quality type of textile industry.

WRM: The West Riding man is a very outgoing sort of person though basically, isn’t he?  I mean, there’s no subterfuge about him. He’s kind of proudly Yorkshire and will shout from the house tops about his... he’s not particularly taciturn and he loves to brag. [Laughs] You know?

JK: Yes, sometimes perhaps aggressively so.

WRM: Yes.

JK: Yes, I think this is again something that I would notice in the valleys. If you were on tour, and the Lake District was a very favourite spot, one could pick out... I mean, the Geordies for example were very much always in a group. If a group of Geordies came over they stuck out, their habits were different to ours of West Yorkshire and in some respects I think perhaps there was a similarity between them and some of the textile districts. They, I think, seemed to enjoy themselves more vigorously and in a more outward fashion than we did in Leeds. This may have been partly my upbringing, I don’t know, but I got the impression that Leeds people enjoyed themselves with pursed lips whereas the Bradford and the heavy woollen people let out a great yell and enjoyed themselves. I don’t know if that’s typical, but that’s certainly my recollection of Leeds. We enjoyed ourselves in Leeds I’m not saying we didn’t...

WRM: What was the relationship between...?

JK: But we had a slightly more ‘genteel’ way of enjoying ourselves.

WRM: The relationship between Bradford and Leeds has always been uneasy, hasn’t it? [Laughs]

JK: Oh, yes; yes, it was very marked was that. I used to go to Bradford, and of course going to Bradford before the war was quite an expedition. I always went by train, and I always made sure I went on the LMS line from Wellington Street and you got a longer ride that way through Kirkstall and the stations to Shipley. It could take up to 40 minutes that way because of the stopping train and was good value for money. But certainly most of my trips there were in connection with the Church, social activities. Certainly you looked at Bradford people with a different light to other people from your own parishes in Leeds. I think they were more sociable as well. Certainly I think their parish life tended to be more vigorous perhaps than in some parts of Leeds. Perhaps the class structure was different in those towns than it was in Leeds. I think Leeds always regarded itself as the dominant city.

WRM: And it became so, didn’t it? [Laughs]

JK: Oh, it did, yes; I think it had that order of dominance.

[End of interview - 00:42:14]