This week Local and Family History’s Josh Flint will discuss the Moon Landing Reminiscence event held at Horsforth Library to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon Landing. This event was designed for people who could remember the Moon Landing in 1969 to share their stories with children.
To inspire inter-generational discussion with the guests attending the event we decided to take some exciting items from the Local and Family History Department from the 1960’s and early 1970’s. The 1960’s topics that we decided to cover were; Leeds United’s football fortunes, Leeds Transport, The Moon Landing, Leeds Commercial Adverts, Maps of Leeds in 1960’s, Leisure and Pollution in Leeds. This blog will examine the items that we used for each topic and some of the discussion points that were raised.
The Moon Landing 1969
This special from the Yorkshire Post’s Moon Touch Down edition celebrates the Moon Landing. The newspaper describes the type of food that the astronauts were able to eat in space and goes into detail about the astronaut’s suit. There is an interesting advert for Tetley’s Bitter in the newspaper which includes the phrase ‘Three Cheers for the Apollo crewman.’ The Yorkshire Post Special gives a special look at how the Moon Landing was represented in Leeds at the time. This item sparked great conversation with people reminiscing about how the Moon Landing was the great topic of discussion on the school playgrounds in the summer of 1969.
The transport system in Leeds dramatically changed from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. We wanted to represent this change and decided to bring two items of stock depicting this change. These items were Leeds in the age of the tram, 1950- 1959 and the Leeds Inner Ring Road. We wanted to show how the Leeds Inner Ring Road completely changed how people could access Leeds. The conversation quickly became a debate over which transport system was more effective, with the younger members of the group unable to envisage Leeds without the Ring Road.
Leeds United’s Football Fortunes in the Revie Era
The 1960’s represented the most successful period of Leeds United’s history and we wanted to bring items which would inspire a sense of triumph and achievement for the successes that Leeds Untied had during this period. We decided to take some player biographies, including Peter Lorimer’s biography ‘Leeds and Scotland Hero’ and newspaper specials from the period, including the F.A Cup final Yorkshire Evening Post Special from 1970. These items created a great discussion about the legacy of the Revie era and how Leeds are hopefully going to be promoted in the near future.
Leeds Commercial Adverts and the GOAD map of Leeds
We wanted to create a discussion by looking at adverts and maps to talk about how the centre of Leeds had changed in the last fifty years. The GOAD maps were completed for insurance purposes and show what business was in each building. This was an invaluable resource when trying to discuss which shops were most important and memorable in the late sixties, and how the high street has changed in the decades since. The shop that seemed to have the most nostalgia was Lewis’s Department Store which can be seen on the GOAD map below.
Pollution in Leeds
One of the main discussion point that came out of the session was how bad the pollution in Leeds was during the 1960’s. This small item of stock on the Air Pollution in Leeds in 1965 instigated a huge conversation about how the pollution was so bad that the smoke blackened some buildings. The consensus was that even though there is still air pollution in Leeds today it has vastly improved in the last fifty years.
These Reminiscence sessions are invaluable when creating inter-generational discussion about how Leeds has changed in the past fifty years. The memories shared have allowed us to create more tailored events in the future and have inspired new research projects from these conversations. The Local and Family History Collection is a great resource when trying to show how Leeds has developed and changed. If you would like to see any of these items and more then visit the Local and Family History Department, on the second floor of the Leeds Central Library.