Beeston, Leeds: Wikis

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Coordinates: 53°46′34″N 1°33′21″W / 53.7761°N 1.5559°W / 53.7761; -1.5559

Beeston
Town Street, Beeston
Town Street Beeston
Beeston is located in West Yorkshire
Beeston

 Beeston shown within West Yorkshire
Population 16,000 (approximate)
OS grid reference SE294313
Metropolitan borough City of Leeds
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LEEDS
Postcode district LS11
Dialling code 0113
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Leeds South
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Beeston is an area of south Leeds, West Yorkshire, England with a population of about 16,000.[1] Large parts of the area are deprived, particularly around the Beeston Hill area, with many former local authority residences unnocupied and rumoured to be scheduled for demolition. Beeston is more affluent to the South and West of Cross Flatts Park and is home to Leeds United A.F.C. and Hunslet Hawks RLFC. The area is well linked with the M1, M62 and the M621 and is situated approximately two miles south of Leeds city centre. It is surrounded by Holbeck, Hunslet, Cottingley, Morley, Middleton and Belle Isle.

Contents

History

Looking towards Leeds city centre from Beeston Hill.

Beeston is mentioned as Bestone in the 1086 Domesday Book. Cad Beeston manor house has been dated by dendochronology to about 1420, and is a grade II* listed building; it is used as private offices with no public access. Beeston was one of the chapelries of the ancient parish of Leeds. Beeston was a township and civil parish 1866-1904, then was absorbed into Holbeck civil parish before this was absorbed into Leeds in 1925.

Up until the 19th century, Beeston was a small mining village situated on a hill overlooking Leeds. However, during the Industrial Revolution, land that had been occupied by open pits, as well as land formerly utilised for farming was snapped up for high density residential development.

[2] Beeston was formerly home to Waddingtons, the factory was vacated in the 1990s and is now home to Nampak Cartons.

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Bombing

On the night of 14 March and early hours of 15 March 1941, Leeds received its worst night of Luftwaffe bombing. The city on the whole escaped the worst of the blitz but this night was to be an exception. Beeston had more bombs dropped on it then any other district of the city, yet escaped with the least damage. Flaxton Terrace was the only street to be damaged during the night time air raid, with nearly all the other bombs landing on Cross Flatts Park. In his 2005 poem 'Shrapnel' poet Tony Harrison, who was in Beeston on the night of the raid, speculates whether this was an act of heroism by the Luftwaffe pilot, a theory that has been explored ever since the raid.[3]

Geography and Demographics

Beverley View in Beeston Hill, fully boarded up, due to lack of demand for the housing and proposed redevelopment.
The Junction pub and Crescent Grange in Beeston Hill.
The Co-op on Town Street
Tempest Road, Beeston Hill

Beeston is primarily an inner-city area. While located close to Leeds city centre, Beeston is severed from the areas to the North by the M621 motorway. Beeston is two distinct areas separated by Cross Flatts Park: Beeston Hill to the east, and Beeston Village to the west. Beeston is separated from Middleton by Middleton Park and Cottingley by the Leeds Outer Ring Road.

Beeston Hill Area

Beeston Hill is comprised largely of areas of terraced housing and social housing. As a particularly deprived area, Beeston Hill along with Holbeck was the beneficiary of Objective 2 European funding. In April 2008, a £93m PFI scheme to build 700 new private and housing association dwellings and regenerate some existing stock was announced.[4] The Beeston Hill Area has a significant ethnic minority population. Beeston Hill has many unoccupied houses as well as commercial premises, such as The Malvern public house. A-Z Road Atlas' often mark the Hunslet Hall shopping centre in this area, however in reality it could hardly be fairly described as a shopping centre.

In 2008 Shaftesbury House, a derelict working mans hostel designed for the Council by George C. Robb in 1936 was converted by Citu to the Greenhouse, an eco-friendly housing project.

Beeston Village/Cross Flatts Area

Beeston village is centred around a shopping centre comprising a large Co-operative store and a number of smaller shops. Housing in Beeston village is comprised largely of late Victorian and early 20th Century terraced housing to the east of Old Lane, and newer family and housing association properties to the West of Old Lane. Like Beeston Hill, most housing is Victorian terraces, but mainly through terraces which fetch a higher price. Around Beeston Village and the Heath Estate is the most affluent area of Beeston. Cross Flatts is situated around Cross Flatts Park, which is a large public park that divides Beeston Hill and the Cross Flatts area. The park runs from Dewsbury Road and Town Street. Estate agents are often keen to specify these areas of Beeston to distance it from more rundown parts of Beeston.

Transport

Beeston has a mainline railway line running along its Western edge, all of the services between Leeds City Station and London Kings Cross and London St Pancras run down this line, but there are no stations along it as Beeston Station closed to passengers in 1953. Moves to re-open a station have been hampered by lack of finance. Beeston is however serviced by many bus services along Dewsbury Road, Elland Road and Town Street. Specifically, it is well serviced by the popular No 1 bus service which predomiantly features the 'bendy buses' run by First Leeds. There is no central bus station in Beeston (with the exception of the matchday bus station at Elland Road), however bus services run throughout the area. Beeston has good links with the M1, M62 and the M621. Many taxi companies operate in the Beeston area.

Employment

Much of Beeston's traditional heavy industry and fabrication works have closed throughout the last forty years. Beeston itself offers little employment these days, however is surrounded by areas which have become popular with businesses, such as Leeds city centre, Tingley and many of the business districts along the south side of the River Aire. Nampak Cartons (who operate in the former Waddingtons factory) are probably Beeston's largest employer. The neighbouring White Rose Shopping Centre employs thousands of full time staff.

Education

Beeston is home to the Leeds College of Technology School of Mechanics is situated towards the south side of Beeston. Beeston has one secondary school, Parkside Secondary School (Cockburn High School). Matthew Murray High School situated between Beeston and Holbeck recently closed down and was merged with Merlyn Rees High School in Belle Isle, to form South Leeds High School in Belle Isle. In September 2009 South Leeds High School was reopened as The South Leeds Academy, making it one of the newest of the UK Government's [[education academies Academy (English school)]][5]. There are seven primary schools in the area. Neighbouring Morley has three secondary school, all of which attract pupils from the Beeston area.

Crime

Like most metropolitan areas, Beeston suffers from crime, which in general are above the national average [1].

Stadia

Beeston is home to two stadiums, these being Elland Road (home of Leeds United AFC) which is a 42,204 capacity, fully seated modern stadium. This is situated on Elland Road, adjacent to the M621 in the North end of Beeston. The South Leeds Stadium (part of the John Charles Centre for Sport is situated on Middleton Grove (off Dewsbury Road) in the South end of Beeston. This is home to Hunslet Hawks RLFC, as well as hosting athletics and aquatic sports in the new Aquatic Centre (the replacement for the Leeds International Swimming Pool). This opened in October 2008 and provides an Olympic standard swimming pool and diving pool.

Local facilities

Beeston has a variety of facilities. It has two large health centres, the White Rose shopping centre on its doorstep, Elland Road stadium and the John Charles Centre for Sport which includes indoor bowling, indoor Tennis Centre, athletics stadium, rugby pitches and 5-a-side pitches and a full size swimming and diving pool. The city centre of Leeds is only a short bus ride away and the M1 and M62 motorways are easily accessed. Beeston also has a park (Cross Flatts Park) with many facilities, which include 5-a-side football pitches, tennis courts, two separate play areas one for older children and one for younger children and a bowling green.

London bombings

Beeston was the focus of unwanted attention following the 7 July 2005 London bombings when it was revealed that the bombers had lived in the area. On 12 July, two properties in Beeston were raided by police in connection with the attacks. According to West Yorkshire Police, a significant amount of explosive material was found in the raids and a controlled explosion was carried out at one of the properties.

After-effects

Following the 7th July bombings, the ethnically mixed population of Beeston were left in a state of shock. When news began to emerge of the Beeston link to the attacks, the majority of the population came out to condemn the atrocities. Since that time the community has cooperated closely with the police, but the local economy is still recovering from much of the negative media attention.

There was a significant pulling together of people across the community with two Beeston Together for Peace marches being held. Each were joined by hundreds of people, some as the procession passed. The second procession ended at Millennium Square in Leeds city centre, uniting with people from other parts of Leeds for an interfaith vigil.

Beeston in the Press

Following the London press, Beeston was thrust into the local, regional, national and international press, with journalists from as far away as North America coming to Beeston. The tone of the reporting was mixed, some sypathetic to the area, many even describing Beeston as a 'leafy suburb', whereas others painted a less salubrious picture of Beeston.

The Guardian

A journalist from The Guardian wrote with the aim of going "beyond the stereotypical pictures of veiled women and bearded men strolling past dilapidated buildings." The article reported that the community in Beeston had on the whole condemned the attacks.[6]

NBC

American news network NBC described Beeston as "a drab and derelict neighborhood in Leeds, three hours north of London, where three of the four London suicide bombers were born and raised". The article later stated, "Beeston, a poor racially mixed community, is lined with small row houses built in another era to house the factory workers who were one of the cornerstones of the British industry. The neighborhood has long accommodated immigrant communities — from Asia in the 1960’s to Eastern Europe and Africa today. Reportedly, almost half the households now are on some sort of state assistance." [7]

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times described Beeston as an "ethnically mixed, downtrodden suburb". Setting the scene, it also said "Peeping from lacy curtains in red-brick rowhouses, tattoed white men, turbaned Sikhs and olive-skinned women in gauzy headscarves shared what they knew."[8]

International Herald Tribune

One year after the London Bombings, the International Herald Tribune described Beeston as a "grim northern neighbourhood2. The paper also said "It is a poor and racially mixed neighborhood of back-to-back row houses with a population of just a few thousand where successive waves of immigrants from Asia in the 1960s, and now from East Europe and Africa, have spread a tangled overlay on a cityscape forged in Victorian Britain. The bright pink and turquoise saris of Asian women offer chromatic relief from drab brick homes".[9]

The Socialist Worker

The Socialist Worker focused on Beeston's positive aspect and reported on the 'Beeston United for Peace' vigil, organised by Beeston members of the Stop the War Coalition. The 150 strong march from Hyde Park was also covered.[10]

Location grid

North: Holbeck, Wortley
West: Cottingley Beeston, Leeds East: Belle Isle, Hunslet
South: Middleton

References

External links


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