leodis logo

Leeds City Council

Open archives compliant site

Supported by BIG Lottery Fund

Enrich UK Lottery Fund

Leeds on a Market Day, a sketch in Boar Lane and Briggate


Leeds on a Market Day, a sketch in Boar Lane and Briggate
Description:
1872. This artist's impression of Leeds on a market day shows Boar Lane, centre, at the junction with Briggate, right. It is taken from a supplement to The Graphic and is dated 21st September 1872. Prior to 1867, Boar Lane was a narrow street, measuring only 21 ft (approx. 6.5 metres) but between that date and 1869 it underwent a major improvement scheme icluding the widening of the road to 66 feet (just over 20 metres), involving the demolition of buildings on the south side. New buildings were designed by Thomas Ambler and the scheme cost £60,000. The area at this time was frequented by the middle classes who preferred to shop here rather than the other Leeds markets. (Note the well-dressed ladies in the foreground). Boar Lane had a choice of fashionable shops as well as provisions and grocery stores. In 1872, numbers 8 and 9, located opposite Holy Trinity Church, were occupied by George Newby, Fishmonger and Gamedealer & co. Eventually, these premises were taken over by Mr. Richard Boston's Great Fruit, Game and Fish Market. In 'The Illustrated History of Leeds' by Steven Burt and Kevin Grady a quote is given from 'Waddington's Guide to Leeds' of 1894: "The sight of Mr. Boston's stock is enough to shorten an epicure's breath and give an appetite to the most dyspeptic. Everyday needs and Sybaritic taste are alike provided for. Does the reader seek fish? Here he finds 50 varieties. Does he want birds? There is scarcely a wing that flutters in life that may not be found drooping here in it's season. Does he need poultry? Let him ask and he can have. Thirty-six varieties of vegetables, one hundred sorts of fruit, a selection of luxuries too numerous to name and a business-like briskness in attention to the smallest order are within the customer's reach." Trinity Church is visible in the background, right of centre (where a row of ornamental urns can be seen). The working class women to the left of the picture wear shawls tied around their heads. They are carrying tin cans and two of them hold baskets. The three women in the foreground each appear to have a length of cloth draped over one arm, and may possibly have been Irish plaid weavers selling their cloth, but this is only conjecture. The building on the left-hand side is number 1 Boar Lane, John Barran, tailor and outfitter, as listed in the Porter's Directory for 1872, but, next door, at number 2, was the Irish Needlework Society managed by Thomas MacFarlane. A young boy is selling copies of the Leeds Mercury in the street. The Leeds Mercury was a newspaper founded in 1718. At the right edge is Charles Pullan's Shawl & Mantle Warehouse at number 73 Boar Lane, situated at the corner with Briggate.

User Comments:

Name:
Wes Blower

Comment:
I think this picture is inaccurate as Boar Lane appears to have been widened, although this didnt take plane until the 1920s

Date:
29-Jan-2009

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
Wes Blower is correct here. I think that what we are looking at is a bit of 'artistic licence'.

Date:
05-May-2009

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
lollybbz

Comment:
wtf?that is never leeds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date:
07-Dec-2009

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
On the left of this picture there is a group of females who appear to be stood as it presenting themselves for something. Being grouped together rules out, selling or begging. Are they standing there in that particular spot in the hope of gaining some sort of meaningful employment? They all appear to be carrying a parcel of sorts - perhaps their total possessions. Also they each appear to be holding a box or lantern. What is that all about? Could it be a symbol announcing the type of employment they are seeking? Are there any 'Social Historians' out there who can shed any light???

Date:
07-Dec-2009

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
m j fryer

Comment:
picture is correct boar lane widened 1869

Date:
08-Dec-2009

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
B Hallam

Comment:
I reckon that Graham Schofield is onto something here... appearing as it did - in The Graphic, suggests that there is much more to this picture than is at all obvious. The Graphic was only in its third year of publication when this - and a number of other illustrations featuring sites of Leeds appeared - and may well have been so as part of its founder's campaign for social reform against the injustices of Victorian society. Founder 'William Thomas' (Liberal Reformer) was a close friend of Charles Dickens whose legendary stories were contrived with the same purpose hidden within their plots. Dickens was known to have visited Leeds, and was not at-all impressed by what he found. Further to this illustration, there are far too many artistic metaphors employed for it to be simply suggesting a 'market day' scene. I am neither a historian, nor an art expert, but to me, the artist's intention is quite clear. Whilst we are left to conject what the two unsavoury looking characters leaving the scene are about - (could they be Bailiff's men?) - it is otherwise quite apparent, that there is some kind of confrontation between the group of women on the left, and the two well-heeled ladies standing in the centre of the scene. That they occupy this significantly central space in the scene, have their backs to us, and are thus 'faceless', is itself surely a metaphor. All others in the picture are clearly onlookers - compounded by the girl with a basket of fruit looking back over her shoulder, all with gazes intended to draw our attention to what is going on. Sadly, we are not enlightened as to what that was! It is also sad that the artist is thus unknown... it is a masterpiece of detail and impression. And just to add a little more weight to the stature of the publication in which it originally appeared, The Graphic, 1869-1932, also employed the journalistic talents of many now famous authors such as: George Eliot, Tomas Hardy, and Anthony Trollope.

Date:
31-Dec-2009

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
graham daniels

Comment:
Perhaps the illustration is looking up Briggate from the opposite side of Boar Lane, the building on the left of the picture would have been were the MacDonalds store is now. Or is this too difficult a concept for most of the comment makers to grasp?

Date:
02-Feb-2010

Email:
grahamd2010@live.co.uk

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
B Hallam

Comment:
That this is Boar Lane - looking from its junction with Briggate, is surely established by the inclusion of Trinity Church situated exactly where it should be.

Date:
03-Feb-2010

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
With reference to the comment by Graham Daniels. Sorry, but you are way off. This is definitely a view looking down Boar Lane from the Briggate end. There can be no doubt whatsoever. If you look into the centre of the picture, you can see Holy Trinity Church, with its tall windows and the small square ones set above them. Higher up are the large ornamental urns sitting on the coping of the shallow stone wall. And behind, is the first section of the spire. Not too difficult a concept to grasp, I would have thought.

Date:
03-Feb-2010

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Graham A. Schofield

Comment:
With reference to Mr. B. Hallam's earlier comment. Perhaps his describing the two men in the bottom right hand corner as "unsavoury looking characters" might be a bit harsh. After all, 'The Cut of a Man's Jib' never tells the whole story. My own opinion is, that they are probably porters. One appears to be carrying three, shall we call them, parcels of folded wool or some other fabric. The guy with the pipe is obviously carrying a much heavier load, but I can't make out what it is. Could it be cuts of leather? Perhaps the man with the cloth on his head, (I wonder if he suffered from headaches in later life?), may have come from the 'Coloured Cloth Hall' which was at the far end of Boar Lane (See 2003109_83276004). No doubt the two, coming from different directions, may have met up in some pub, and then continued on their respective journeys together. Regarding 'The Ladies With The Lamps' :- It does look as if they are presenting themselves in readiness for prospective employers. And it looks as if the guy with the hat and side-burns is already negotiating with the two women at the back, while the two well dressed ladies seem to be in the process of just starting their own negotiations. We have to be aware that back in those days, servants and farm-hands etc. had to present themselves at markets on certain days, in order to gain employment for whatever period of time might be on offer. They often wore some form of 'Badge' - be it a flower, corn, grass woven into a particular pattern etc. etc.. It could even have been a tool of whatever particular trade or occupation it was. These 'Badges' would allow prospective employers to identify the different skills available, without having to ask all the time. Once an employer recognized a particular 'Badge' that he or she was looking for, the individual or group would be approached, and negotiations would commence. It would be interesting to learn if the lanterns, or what appear to be lanterns, that the ladies on the left are holding, are being used as a badge of their particular "raisin d'etre". If so, what was it? Can anyone shed any light on this?

Date:
21-May-2010

Email:
GrahamScho@AOL.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Brenda Scott nee Johnson

Comment:
I just wish I could see this more clearly! The image is too small, on my laptop at any rate, to hazard too many speculations about what is going on at the corner of Boar Lane and Briggate. The three women, according to the Description, are carrying tin cans ( for their daily meal, presumably although I suppose they could be for the money they are hoping to make on market day ), and have lengths of cloth draped across their arms. They look to be importuning the two frilly-bustled ladies to examine and perhaps buy their cloth, so the possibility of them being paisley or plaid weavers does make perfect sense. Home-weavers, lace-makers and the like would take their wares into town on market days, or fair/feast days, to sell and supplement the family income. They seem too cleanly and tidily dressed to be begging, and three of them standing together would not expect to be employed as a 'job lot', surely? The young ladies of fashion would, back then, be far more interested in retail therapy than in hiring servants ( which would have been a job for their Mothers to do, at home, in the morning room, not outside on the streets )and this looks very much the case here. The women are selling something and the young ladies are interested in buying. Some things never change. It would be nice to know if the original sketch was given any title which might put the absorbing issue of 'what is really going on?' to rest.

Date:
15-Mar-2012

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Frances Hainsworth

Comment:
Leeds, like all other towns , would have had 'Hiring Fairs', so perhaps that is what is going on here.

Date:
06-Dec-2012

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
John Godfrey

Comment:
This is a wonderful sketch of Boar Lane and of people in Leeds by H Harrol in the Graphic. I have in my collection, not only a coloured copy hanging on my wall, but an original copy of the magazine for 1872 giving the why and wherefore of the occasion. Leeds was thriving, it had a new Town Hall, new Municipal buildings and more, much more.In September 1872 we had a visit to Leeds by HRH Prince Arthur and his entourage, of which an artist would have been invited to record the event. The camera had not yet come about. The Prince would have been made very welcome at my great grandparents house in Bow Street on the Bank, but he chose to stay at Harewood House. There you are, he missed a good Irish stew. The reason for his visit was to formally declare open to the public Roundhay Park, which had been in private ownership for many years. Other sketches of the visit included in the Graphic are, The prince declaring Roundhay Park open, the Triumphal Arches at the junction of Roundhay Road and Chapeltown Road, Sheepscar. Also, Leeds Town Hall illuminated and the reception for the Prince at The Town Hall. Quotes by the journalist in Leeds at the time describe the differing dresses and headware of working girls at Marshal's Mill, of which there is a fine sketch. There are other sketches of Leeds covered market and leather selling in the South market. The above fine sketch, entitled "Leeds on a Market Day" was probably giving a good description of the people and buildings in the City at that time, including, on the left, girls from Marshal's mill and to the right a man representing the clothing trade. The two well dressed ladies represent the upper classes and I leave you to ponder the rest.

Date:
16-Apr-2013

Email:
johngodfrey55@ymail.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Jacko

Comment:
Could it be the temperance movement? Just down the road in The Calls has always been a bit sordid and the hubbies used to booze round here, fritter away the dosh and what not!

Date:
10-Feb-2016

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Jacko

Comment:
Fascinating pic. Still say I'm right. They have bags of old eggs and tomatoes for the ladies of the night... One of women appears to accost one of them...

Date:
10-Feb-2016

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Roy Walker

Comment:
Graham's comment, re-"The cut of a man's jib, not always telling the true story",-reminds me not to judge on first appearances.-A man dressed in a threadbare jumper,and wearing carpet slippers,who bought a Daimler from me,turned out to be a multi-millionaire !- I won't bore you with the rest of the tale,but I learnt not to make snap judgements of people,because of how they might look !

Date:
19-Nov-2017

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy a copy of this photograph 20021128_65343875

Select the size, finish and quantity of the photograph you require.  If you require sepia toning please tick the appropriate box. Please note the size of the photographs will be as near as possible to that requested, however to avoid distorting the image sizes may not be exact. VAT will be added to the order at checkout.

Quantity: Sepia Toning (+50%)
Size Matt Gloss
10 x 8 inches £11.67 £11.67
12 x 9 inches £14.17 £14.17
16 x 12 inches £15.84 £15.84
Add to basket