Leeds nostalgia: March 1948: A career for life... as a smith in 1948

We live in an age when '˜a job for life' is something of an oddity and yet just a couple of generations ago, it was relatively common, as evidenced by the story of two smithy workers, Jim Stuart, 74 and John Healey, 70, who had worked together for 45 years.

Jim, ‘a Leeds Loiner’, of Harleth Mount, Hunslet, started as a smith aged 13 before the days of electric welding, when he “learned to sweat it out with a hammer”. He declared: “Sweating kept me healthy. Nothing like it. In the old days, we were given nitre to make us sweat but I never needed it.”

He had worked at Hathorn, Davey & Sulzer Ltd, Jack Lane, Hunslet for 50 years and was employed as a foreman forger when the article was printed in the YEP in March 1948.

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He added: “When I first came here, there were 14 men and boys in the smithy but now there’s only myself and two strikers. That shows how the trade is slowly going, what with modern machinery and the lads of to-day [sic], who think the work’s too hard for them. I’ve made forgings weight seven hundredweight. John and I have done some intricate jobs in our time.”

In other news, a thief who smashed the window of a confectionery in Sackville Street, Meanwood and snatched a box of chocolates, was forced to drop his loot when chased.

It was also reported that in a little over six months, 141 streetlamps, out of 234, were wilfully damaged in Horbury. Headmasters were asked to tell children to stop climbing on lampposts. In Bridlington, fluorescent lighting was installed in the lifeboat station - the first in the country.

Finally, March 6 marked 144 days since the ‘999’ service began and figures released by police showed there had been one arrest per day as a result of 3,778 calls.