Beza Street. Founded in 1883. They made hydraulic machinery and machine tools such as hydraulic presses, machines for the mass-production of rolling stock, wheels and sleepers, and other iron and steel products for railways, bridges and shipbuilding.
See Hunslet Carr map.
An advertisement from 1900-01
Jack Lane/Joseph Street. Between 1814 and 1861 the Bower family of Hunslet had at least four glass houses in operation, including the "Hunslet Crown Glass Manufactory". They were some of the earliest in the Leeds area, producing flint glass, bottles, retorts and fine window glass. In addition to glass houses they had warehouses in Leeds, London, Manchester and Liverpool. After 1861 the site was occupied by Brookes, then The Yorkshire Decorative Glass Co. By 1964, several auto repair shops and other businesses were using the site which was variously known as Wooler's Buildings, Wood's Buildings, or "The Yard". See Jack Lane area map.
Church Street. Nail manufacturer from at least 1885, and possibly earlier, until 1953. A memorial in Hunslet Cemetery records the names of six women "Who met their deaths by the fall of a cut nail works at Hunslet July 1st 1885. The stone was erected by voluntary subscription in the various cut nail works at Leeds, Staleybridge, Middlesbro' and Glasgow, as a token of respect to the memory of co-workers who lost their lives whilst following their occupation at Messrs Inghams and Co, Hunslet".
See Centre map
From a 1907 trade directory
Memorial in Hunslet Cemetery (photo 2009)
Henry Berry, with the Gardener's Arms pub on right (photo 1970s)
Image copyright of Leeds Library and Information Services
Former Crown Glass Manufactory (photo 1964)
EPW operated from a large Victorian mill off Playfair Road in Hunslet Carr. Its origins were around the late 19th century. Entering the offices was like time had stood still. You half expected a visitor to be wearing a top hat and to have just arrived in a coach and four. Wages were dreadful, just another throwback to a bygone age.
EPW was a litho and carton printer, but had failed to move with the times in keeping up with new equipment. The management continued to invest in the same type of presses it had worked for forty years. The firm printed labels for British Fish Canners, another Hunslet enterprise, and Blakeys Boot Protectors of nearby Armley; and its mainstay of carton production was for a bakery firm called Viota Products, who made an early form of cake mix. Regular commercial printing was largely for West Riding County Council: everything from forms for the Highways, Fire Service, Police, and Council Minutes for the Town or County Clerk's Departments.
The staff were enthusiasts for Rugby League, most notably Hunslet, and of course the dreaded Leeds. If you were a Leeds supporter you were an outcast. Only Parkside was good enough for regulars.
Some of our staff were without equal in the Leeds printing trade. They were steeped in EPW and its ethos:
Tom Lightowler - the best guillotine operator anywhere in the world; Doris Harris - an unequalled table hand in the finishing department; John Dickinson, a warehouseman who could turn his hand to anything; Stanley Cranage, the finishing and bindery department supervisor who went on to become a senior lecturer at the Leeds Printing School; Reggie Gooch, the litho department foreman who could make those clapped out machines zing. For my part, I progressed from office junior to become the firm’s estimator. I won the BPIF National Award as best estimator in the country. I had studied Print Estimating at the Leeds Printing School, which was based in a terrace house in Headingley. Head of the school’s estimating department was the legendary Arnold Allanach, who had taught just about every estimator in Leeds, which was a hub of the printing trade at that time.
In its heyday EPW made substantial contributions to the war effort. In secrecy they produced lead-based paper, folded up concertina style, which was dropped from British aircraft over Germany to disrupt their radar. One of the asides during the war was the nightly fire-watching duties by the staff. Each night they would sit atop the mill building watching for bombs and fire hazards. I had the impression that these nightly forays led to illicit sexual activity. But we’ll say no more of that for the sake of our brave girls and boys. During the war years the firm was headed by Mr Harmer. He was supposed to be an expert in concrete calculations. I often wondered what possible use this would be to a printing firm. But no matter. Harmer had the job and he ruled the place with a rod of iron.
Regrettably, the firm became uncompetitive, due to its slower running machinery. We were not big enough to take on the big boys, like Waddingon's and Alf Cooke, yet we were too big to see off the small carton producers which were springing up all over Leeds. Sadly the business closed in 1966 when it was absorbed into its sister company, Jowett & Sowry Ltd, printers of Leeds.
© Peter S. Wilson
Peter Wilson was born in 1941. He worked at the Electric Printing Works (EPW) in Hunslet Carr from 1957 to 1966
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Sun Foundry, Dewsbury Road. The firm made pumping engines for mines, water and sewage works, power stations etc.
The Sun Foundry was established in 1844 by Charles Todd (who had been connected with the Railway Foundry). He manufactured 20 locomotives here up to 1858 when the works closed. It was then taken over by Carrett, Marshall & Co. who built locos and also pumping engines until 1870.
Hugh Campbell, Alfred Davis and John Hathorn formed a business and took over the premises in 1872. They were joined by Henry Davey in 1873. Hathorn Davey & Co., as they became known in 1880, initially obtained orders from Yorkshire mines, then from Staffordshire and further afield. Soon they were exporting to India, Australasia and Spain. Sulzer Pumps took over the company in 1936. In the 1960s around 400 people were working on the site. In the late 1970s the company closed the Sun Foundry and moved to new premises at Millshaw on the Leeds Outer Ring Road.
See Pottery Field map.
An advertisement from 1880
Hathorn Davey in 1937