Sunday, 20 September 2015

Exploring Hirst's Yard in Leeds ........ discovering a future ghost sign and pondering on one lost long ago

Hirst's Yard 2014
Now I would like to know more about Hirst's Yard in Leeds.

It is a small alley between Call Lane and Lower Briggate and I guess if you weren’t in the know it’s somewhere you are never likely to visit.

According to one source  “Hirst's Yard was named after William Hirst. 

He was born near Huddersfield and came to Leeds in 1795, where he set up in business as a cloth dresser.”* 

Mr Hirst intrigues me and so in time I will go looking for him but in the meantime its’s down this little cut that has pulled me in and for that I have Ron Stubley to thank.

Ron shares my fascination for ghost signs and sent this one across adding "a bit modern this one Andrew, just came across it while looking at pictures taken from January of last year taken in Leeds. 

Any good for your collection?

Hirst's Yard 1973
And of course it is more than OK,  because these days you don’t see so many hand painted signs advertising products.

Like Ron I think the sign is relatively new and probably dates from around the time that the pub Hirst's Yard opened its doors.

One guide describes it as a "traditional pub with outdoor seats on a cobbled street, hosting regular weekend live music sessions” and it runs from 11 to 15 Hirsts Yard."** 

All very different from when this earlier picture of the Yard was taken in 1973 which can be seen at Discovering Leeds.*

There are those I know who bemoan the rise of the bar culture but it is hard to see how some of these relics of our industrial past would ever get a second chance and would remain run down and forgotten.

All of which leaves me to ponder on how long our sign will survive.

That advert
And then there is that other sign from 1973 on the same gable end, which had long since been lost.

It might just have been a white washed wall but I suspect it was once a full blown advert and so the hunt is on to uncover its story.

That may prove difficult bit we will see after all there may well be a whole shedful of people in Leeds who share our love of ghost signs.

Pictures; Hirst's Yard in 2014 from the collection of Ron Stubley and back in 1973 reproduced from Discovering Leeds, Leeds City Council,

*Discovering Leeds,

** Hirst's Yard,

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