Talking Rubbish

Do you remember the dustmen and their carts? Then join us at 2pm on Monday January 27, in the Sanderson Room at the Central Library for a ‘rubbish’ story – literally! Talking Rubbish is a visual journey down Memory Lane – discover how rubbish collection has changed through the years and the importance of recycling today. To whet your appetites, here is a selection of ‘rubbish’ images from our Leodis archive, adding up to a (very) brief history of recycling in Leeds and surrounding areas…(unless stated otherwise, all images are (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net)

1910. Image shows the 240 foot chimney of the Leeds Corporation destructor. Although the incinerator chimney has since been demolished, a disposal and now recycling plant still stands here.

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1964. In the foreground of this view, a boy holds onto the reins of a horse which is pulling a rag and bone cart. The cart is piled with old clothes and has several balloons tied to the back. View looks along Burmantofts Street. The entrance to Moody’s Yard is just visible on the left edge. Numbers on Burmantofts Street run to the right in ascending order from number 15 on the left.
c1974/1975. Image shows a rag-and-bone man as he leads his horse down a street of red brick terraced houses, believed to be Bayswater Mount off Harehills Road. At one time the rag-and-bone man was a familiar and regular sight on our streets as he collected second-hand goods from door-to-door. The horse is harnessed to a cart piled with rags and something which may be an old cooker. Rag-and-bone men usually announced their arrival in a street by loudly crying ‘Rag & bone, rag & bone’. People would come to the door with their unwanted items. Rags were sold on for recycling into paper or cloth and bones were sold to be ground and made into glue and crop fertilizer. Probably the most famous fictional rag-and-bone men were Albert Steptoe and his son Harold who had a horse called Hercules. Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H. Corbett starred in the lead roles in the popular comedy T.V. series ‘Steptoe and Son’ of the 1960s and 70s. (c) Josef Schwarz
November 1987. Image shows children of South Gipton taking part in a clean-up campaign on the estate. It was a project instigated by the Gipton Community Refurbishment Scheme and the children were involved as part of a holiday play project. The children filled more than 60 sacks with rubbish and were provided with refreshments by sponsors, Kentucky Fried Chicken. The youngsters were hoping to win a prize in the National Clean-up competition organised by the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.
c1997-98. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Linda Middleton, at a recycling event outside Clapgate Primary School on Cranmore Drive, during her Mayoral year of 1997-98. The event is promoting new recycling bins for newspapers and magazines, plastic bottles etc. Cranmore and Raylands Community Centre can be seen on the right and a semi-detached house at no.33 Cranmore Drive on the left. (c) Linda Middleton
5th October 1999. Large ‘Safeways’ pantechnican promoting recycling on Briggate. Afternoon shoppers can be seen, collecting leaflets from a ‘Wise Recycling Owl’ outside Debenhams, with Harvey Nichols, department store also in view.

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