Film ID:
YFA 2373

HALF A LIFETIME

1978

Visitor Tabs

Description

Made by Leeds Movie Maker member Fred Wells, this is a film which documents the demolition of the Quarry Hill Flats and Westgate International Swimming Pool in Leeds. The commentary explains the reason for the demolition but also questions the Council's decision for these particular renovations.

Title - Parkland Productions Present
Half a Lifetime

The film opens with a shot of Westgate International Swimming Pool. It was opened in 1967. There are then exterior shots of Quarry Hill Flats, the commentary explaining that construction began on those flats in 1938. Both the buildings are set to be demolished.

Headline - Tories set to demolish pool and sell site.

There are shots of the motorway which runs near the Westgate site followed by exterior shots of the building from a variety of angles. It has been described as similar to a Chinese Temple, and inversely an eyesore to the cityscape. The facilities are unrivalled in the North. While in 1970 it won a design award, the building is not in desperate need of restoration.

The next scenes focus on Quarry Hill Flats, which in their heyday, were described as the Pride of Leeds and the Envy of Europe. There are exterior shots of the flats, and the commentary notes that the flat's structure is now weak and is set to be demolished. The site will be home to a new £7.5 million sports centre.

Accompanying footage of the exterior of Quarry Hill during various stages of demolition, the commentary points out that this is an odd decision especially as the current sports facilities at Westgate were said to be underused and unable to support funding for the facilities to stay in business. The demolition site is also shown through various seasons, and in some of the shots, snow can be seen covering the ground.

July 1978, demolition is still underway. F. Hardwick Ltd is the demolition company which has been contracted to carry out the work. The news sports facilities are in competition with facilities being built in Manchester, not only for customers, but for funding as well. The commentary also calls for the Council to have a more responsible attitude to the way in which it deals with these kinds of projects.

The film closes with more shots of the demolition site, construction vehicles in view, and the commentary states that the Quarry Hill flats have only been around for 40 years, or half a lifetime. In the end, funding for the site ran out, and so a temporary car park would be put in its place in order to get the most use out of the site.

Title - The End.