Do We Look Strangely Familiar to You?

This group of girls and boys with their bicycles are posing with attitude on Wolseley Road, Burley, in 1969. They had just returned from Kirkstall swimming baths on Kirkstall Road, which was close by. And that’s when visiting photographer Eric Jaquier captured the moment in a striking black-and-white image, full of the warmth and personality typical of his style.

Now, almost fifty years later, Eric is compiling his pictures into a forthcoming book to be titled Strangely Familiar: Photographs in the Streets of Leeds 1969-2015. Not only that, but he hopes to revisit the sites of many of his original works to document anew the changing character of the areas. He even hopes to reconnect with some of the people from his photos, in order to create new portraits that both recall and revise the images of decades ago.

View of Rillbank Street taken from Westfield Crescent. A series of steps with hand-rails climb up either side to Rosebank Road. The two large properties seen in the background are the rear of large terraces, numbers 181 and 179 Belle Vue Road. Small children run towards the ambulance parked in Rillbank Street. (1969)

That’s where Eric hopes you might be able to help. Let’s hand over to him now to let him explain in his own words:

“My name is Eric Jaquier. I’m a retired Swiss journalist and photographer. A long time ago, in 1969, I took hundreds of pictures in the streets of Leeds during my one-year stay in the city. Almost forty years later, in Spring 2008, I had a big show, together with Leeds photographer Peter Mitchell, at PSL (Project Space Leeds). And now I’m working on Strangely Familiar, a book project containing these photos. That’s why I need your help.

“The main section of the book will offer the Strangely Familiar photos from 1969. And, for this section, your help would be appreciated because a lot of these pictures appear on the Leodis website. You can find them using the keyword ‘jaquier’, or click here for a direct link to all of them.

“Leodis visitors have already left quite a few comments under the photos. But I need more. I’m looking for people who recognize themselves, or relatives, or friends. And even if you don’t recognize anyone, recollections and anecdotes about this time in the life of the city are welcome.”

A young woman walks towards the camera in York Road holding two small girls by the hand. They are just passing William Lambert & Son, Estate Agent, Valuers and Building Society Agents at number 248 York Road. Behind the woman are the Thrift Stores at number 256 York Road. Beyond is the junction with Ivy Street. To the left-hand side is the Victoria Spice Mills (Stokes & Dalton Ltd., spice merchants), now York Towers. (1969)

More then just a coffee-table object, then, Eric’s book will be a venture with a deeper ambition. As well as its unique juxtaposition of Leeds’ past and present, he hopes it will contain texts written by specialists in various fields, such as history, sociology and architecture.

So please take a look though Eric’s photographs on Leodis. If you’ve lived in Leeds for a while, scour the faces for people you recognize and think about the places you remember. Leave comments on as many images as you can, or drop us an email at and we’ll be sure to pass it on.

Even if you’re not acquainted with many of the sights and scenes he captured in that now-distant decade, we’re sure you’ll find yourself lost in a city-scape that seems strangely, enchantingly familiar.

A group of young boys play ball games in Westfield Crescent. The gas lamp post stands at the corner with Rosebank Street. The two streets seen in the background are Back Rosebank Crescent (left) and Rosebank Crescent. Beyond, Woodsley Road, at the top of Westfield Crescent, is just visible. (1969)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne Cherry says:

    When will the book be out?

    1. Hi Anne, the best thing to do is keep an eye on Eric Jacquier’s website for news of the exact date. Hopefully soon!

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