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The Fountain Head pub on Beckett Street
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Harehills is an inner-city area of east Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north east of Leeds city centre. Harehills is situated between the A58 (towards Wetherby) and the A64 (towards York).
Harehills is situated between Burmantofts and Gipton, and adjacent to Chapeltown. Its boundaries are defined by the city council as "the boundary of Spencer Place to the West, Harehills Avenue to the North, the boundary of Foundry Place to the East and Compton Road and Stanley Road to the South." As the name suggests it is a hill area, basically a south-facing slope, with many streets of terraced houses on hills. In the middle is Banstead Park, a grassy slope with trees and play areas, giving a view over the city of Leeds.
The cheaper housing has made it attractive to immigrants, with the result that it has a considerable cultural and ethnic mixture. There are two main shopping streets, Harehills Lane and Harehills Road which join at the junction of Roundhay Road (A58 road) leading to Oakwood. Also, heading 0.6 miles (1 km) up Harehills Lane towards the A64 York Road at the junction with Compton Road, is Harehills's other main shopping area.
Official Government figures have listed Harehills as the 429th most deprived of England’s 8,414 electoral wards – in the top 5%. Unemployment in Harehills is at 9%, compared to less than 4% across the City of Leeds. IMPaCT is a community partnership which aims to improve the Chapeltown and Harehills areas.
St James' University Hospital is situated in Harehills.
The name Harehills is first attested in 1576, as Hayr Hylls. Scholars agree that the second element of the name Harehills is the topographic term 'hill'. There has been some debate about the first element, however. Eilert Ekwall, in his influential Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, thought that the name came from the Old English word hār ('grey'). However, the subsequent research by A. H. Smith for the English Place-Name Society concluded that, as the modern spelling would suggest, the name does originate from hare, and thus originally meant 'hill characterised by the presence of hares'.
By 1850, Leeds had grown through industrialisation, to the North, South and West, however there was a particular lack of development to the East of the city. The existing villages did not seem to stimulate any suburban growth in this area. The mining activity to the East of the city also failed to stimulate growth. At this time there was open countryside only a mile from Briggate. The building of the Leeds tramway along York Road and Roundhay Road began to stimulate some growth, and by the time of the production on the 1906 Ordnance Survey Map, Harehills was an established community. At this time Harehills was home to a purpose built reservoir, owned by the Leeds Corporation Water Works. There were also by this time two large textile factories on Hudson Road, as well as two large brick works, The Harehills Brickworks and the Gipton Brickworks (the latter being on Darfield Road in Harehills and not in Gipton as the name would suggest), there was the York Road Iron Works as well as a few farms, which were quickly redeveloped.
Harehills and the surrounding area also had significant mining infrastructure, with collieries at York Road, Killingbeck, Neville Hill, Osmondthorpe and Burmantofts. However none of these collieries survived beyond the 1960s. Throughout the second half of the Twentieth century, coal was generally brought from Rothwell, Castleford and Pontefract.
Until 1900 the tramways on York Road were pulled by horses, however in 1900 they were electrified. This improved transportation and stimulated further growth around Harehills, Burmantofts and Osmondthorpe. The location of St James' Hospital also stimulated growth in the area. The Hospital quickly grew to be one of the city's main hospitals, and is now the largest in Yorkshire.
By the 1960s, the mining and textile industry in Harehills was dwindling and the area was particularly run down. This led to the development of new housing, particularly around the hospital, such as the building of the Shakespeare high rise flats. Most of Harehills stayed the same, and even now, most of the Victorian terraces and back to backs still stand. Most of the council development around East Leeds was in new communities such as Gipton, Seacroft, Halton Moor, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor. Throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century Harehills' industrial areas generally declined and have been converted into car garages, light warehouses, self-storage centres and such.
Low rental prices coupled with the fact that most could not qualify for a council house attracted many Commonwealth immigrants to Harehills, throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Harehills now has significant Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities. Crime and deprivation continue to be an issue in Harehills. Racial tension has caused problems in the area, resulting in rioting in 2001.
In 1984, some terraced houses in the area around the roads "Sandhurst Terrace", "Dorset Road", "Dorset Mount" and "Dorset Avenue" appeared in the beginning of rock band Queen's music video for "I Want To Break Free".
Harehills' amenities are not located within one centre but spread across the area, mainly on Roundhay Road and Harehills Lane. Harehills Lane is a traditional shopping street with many individual shops and a library. Harehills Conservative Club is a large brick building on Harehills Lane, and Harehills Liberal Club is round the corner on Foundry Approach. The area's largest supermarket, Kwiksave on Roundhay Road recently closed and was replaced by a local supermarket. There is a Co-op, a Farmfoods, a small Sainsbury's, an Asda Supermarket, a Morrisons and a large continental supermarket on Roundhay Road. There are also a great many individual shops frequently aimed at the various immigrant communities, as can be seen by shop signs in languages other than English. Harehills is home to many different fast food shops, and Roundhay Road has been referred to as 'The Curry Mile'. There are several public houses in Harehills, although considerably fewer than there once were. This has been partly ascribed to the increase in the Muslim population, who do not drink alcohol. Pubs remaining in Harehills include Delaney's Irish Bar, and the Samuel Smiths pub, The Brown Hare. There is Nightingale Primary Academy and Harehills Primary School. There are no secondary schools actually in Harehills but many situated close by.
Harehills is situated between the A58 and the A64. It has no form of public transport other than the numerous bus routes that run through various parts of the district. It was formerly on the Leeds Corporation Tramways network and was on a proposed route of the Leeds Supertram before its cancellation. However it was to gain another light transit system, if its inclusion on the Leeds Trolleybus came to fruition. The location of St James' University Hospital prompted the inclusion of Harehills in the projects, however the Trolleybus plans were cancelled in May 2016 because it was claimed that they would have provided little value for money.
In 1949 Tetley's Coaches, a local coach operator, was founded in Harehills. However, since then the coach operator has moved its offices to Hunslet. Harehills is well placed for access to Leeds city centre and Wetherby. Buses run through Harehills to Leeds city centre, Oakwood, Roundhay, Gipton, Seacroft and Wetherby. Buses running through Harehills are operated by First Leeds, while other infrastructure is maintained by West Yorkshire Metro.
Harehills is served by four bus services on the 'Leeds Overground' (frequent bus services identified by a schematic colour-coded map similar to that used on the London Underground). The Orange line runs along the A58 Roundhay Road, linking Harehills with Seacroft, Leeds city centre and Horsforth. The Purple line also runs along Roundhay Road linking Harehills with Seacroft, Leeds city centre and Bramley. The Blue line runs along Roundhay Road linking Harehills with Oakwood, Roundhay and Leeds city centre. The Mauve line runs along Harehills Lane, linking Harehills with Fearnville, Gipton, Leeds city centre and Farnley.
The area has at least eight places of worship, indicative of the changing population of the area, with an Anglican church being the oldest and a mosque the most recent. The oldest is St Aidan's, the Anglican parish church, a Victorian brick building, noted for its Frank Brangwyn mosaics. It was completed in 1894, and is on Roundhay Road, on the south side of Banstead Park. The vicar of St Aidan's Church, Alan Taylor, is also (2010) a Leeds City Councillor. Another Anglican Church is St Wilfrid's on Chatsworth Road, a 1927 brick building, part of the Forward in Faith movement. The Roman Catholic parish church is St Augustine's, a 1937 brick building on Harehills Road, a little to the north of Banstead Park. On Banstead Terrace, the north side of Banstead Park is the Trinity United Church a 1983 brick building. It combined congregations from a Methodist and two United Reformed Churches in the area. On Harehills Lane is the Baptist Church, a 1928 brick building  and the Jamia Masjid Bilal Mosque built in 1996 to serve the local Pakistani community, but now having a much more diverse congregation of recent immigrants. On Easterly Road an old school building is (since 1988) home to the New Testament Church of God, a Pentacostal congregation of mainly African or Afro-Caribbean origin. The only Greek Orthodox Church in Leeds is The Three Hierarchs, in a former Methodist Church (1906 stone building) on Harehills Avenue, which attracts worshippers from all over Yorkshire.
St Aidan's Anglican Church 1894
Harehills has a poor reputation in the Leeds area, as does neighbouring Chapeltown and most of East Leeds. Harehills was subject to sporadic rioting in 2001, however there has been no unrest on such a scale since. The Fforde Grene Public House had a poor reputation and has since been closed down and is now a continental supermarket. Racial motives were cited as the reason for the rioting, a claim which the West Yorkshire Police said was a poor excuse for legitimising criminal behaviour. Harehills also has problems with drug dealing and gun crime.
2002 BBC report
The area has been subject to much bad press over the years. In 2002, the BBC interviewed local residents. One resident described Harehills as "a horrible place to live" and complained about joy riding, rubbish, drug dealing, arson and vermin. The man's report went on to say:
"Often you will see a group of young children chasing vermin into an overgrown backyard. This is a sight you would expect to see in a third-world country not the modern, vibrant city that Leeds portrays itself to be."
Another resident described it as being a pleasant place until the 1970s, but has since changed 'beyond recognition'.
However a third interviewed resident was more positive, although critical in her report, and echoing many of the complaints before, she mentions the 'pride of the residents in the upkeep of their houses'.
Yorkshire Evening Post
The Yorkshire Evening Post has reported on numerous crimes in Harehills. Most articles regarding Harehills are regarding serious crime in the area, including assault, robbery and shootings. From June to August 2008, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported on four serious assaults including one murder (including the use of firearms).
The Yorkshire Evening Post has also reported on the poor state of public space in Harehills.
In October 2003, Harehills received £100,000 toward regeneration from Yorkshire Forward. Leeds City Council have also invested in the area. Investment has also included a new children's centre. A feature of the community effort is a number of colourful mosaic street signs, made by youths who are residents of Harehills. Over the past years residents and local agencies, have come together and organised community events, the Harehills Festival and improvements to the local library to include a one-stop shop for the Leeds City Council.
Images of Harehills
- Hooper, Vicki (2014). "Harehills Neighbourhood Improvement Plan 2014/2015" (PDF). democracy.leeds.gov.uk. Leeds City Council. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "No excuse for Leeds riot". BBC News. 6 June 2001. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- "Round my way". Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
- "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] New hope for Harehills as regeneration process set to begin". Yorkshire Forward. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960).
- A. H. Smith, The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire, English Place-Name Society, 30–37, 8 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961–63).
- Harry Parkin, Your City's Place-Names: Leeds, English Place-Name Society City-Names Series, 3 (Nottingham: English Place-Names Society, 2017), p. 51.
- "'No excuse' for Leeds riot". BBC News. 6 June 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/wanted/index.asp?aID=38882. Retrieved 31 August 2008. Missing or empty
- Harehills 2008 Hufton et al. Religious Mapping of Leeds, University of Leeds Dept of Theology and Religious Studies
- CAB Designs. "About Tetley's Coaches". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "York" (PDF). First UK Bus. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ Archived 10 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine Councillor Alan Taylor
- "St Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, Harehills, Leeds, Yorkshire". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Trinity United Webpage Archived 21 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Foundation Stone
- "More photos released in hunt for rioters". BBC News. 7 August 2001. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "BBC - Leeds Features - Guide to Harehills". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Funeral held for shooting victim". BBC News. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Girl 'was found with throat cut'". BBC News. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Dozens pay respects to gun victim". BBC News. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Masked gunmen target man in house". BBC News. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Man remanded over takeaway murder". BBC News. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills: A kooky old place". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "BBC - Leeds Features - Harehills: Not so kooky". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/googlesearch.aspx?Keywords=Harehills. Retrieved 26 August 2008. Missing or empty
- "Harehills street sealed off after assault". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Leeds Harehills shooting: FIRST PICTURE OF VICTIM". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "VIDEO Leeds Harehills shooting: victim dies". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Leeds Harehills shooting: e-fit issue". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "LET US PLAY - city". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Children's Centre to Boost Harehills Regeneration". Leeds Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
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