Film ID:
YFA 1480



Visitor Tabs


This film celebrates the centenary of Marks and Spencer in Leeds. It includes a guided historical tour, using commentary and old photographs, of Marks and Spencer and other notable places and buildings of Leeds.

The film opens with Marks and Spencer in Leeds, where, as the commentary explains, 100 years ago a Polish immigrant, Michael Marks, set up a market stall. Caption: 'Thank you Leeds this is where it all began.'

Title: 'Leeds ... Marks Time'
Production Team: Alan Abbott, Arthur Steeles, Fred Wells, Doreen Wood
Commentary: Richard Perkin'

The commentary poses the question of how much of Leeds City Michael Marks would recognise today. An old map shows Leeds before its growth in the nineteenth century, with three churches within the City walls. These three churches are then shown as they are today: St John's, the oldest, followed by Trinity and then the Parish Church of Leeds. With the help of old photographs, the commentary recounts the history of Leeds in the nineteenth century, including the growth of woollen factories and the railway. This was the background against which immigrants from Eastern Europe came for work. A picture of Michael Marks is followed by a photo of his stall, and the commentary provides a brief account of his early market stall in Leeds, where, because of his poor command of English when it came to haggling, he had a sign saying, 'Don't ask the price. It's a penny.' The market is then shown as it is today.

The film then recounts the history of Leeds Market Hall, with its fire in 1775. It shows both the new and old undamaged parts. Inside and outside the market, shoppers crowd around the stalls. Photos show the history of the Shambles in Leeds and the nearby slaughterhouse. The alleyways around Brighouse are seen with their shops and pubs, including Whitelocks pub in Turkshead Yard. From there, the Arcades are shown with a brief history of their origins, including the County Arcade and the Queens Arcade. By 1890 Marks had five penny stalls, and teamed up with Spencer, his first supplier. In 1904 they took up eight shops in the Cross Arcade. Photos of these early shops are accompanied by photos and commentary on developments in transport. A brief survey of the development of Marks in Leeds follows, together with other developments on Briggate, such as the closing of the Rialto Cinema to make way for a Marks and Spencer store. They made the most of their claim that 90% of their goods were British made. The store backs onto Trinity shopping area, which today has been pedestrianized, is shown with a busker. Items that didn't exist 100 years ago are displayed in shop windows.

There is a connection of the Knights Templers with Leeds, including the Temple Newsam House and Gardens and animals on its Home Farm. Then it is onto a tour of Roundhay Park including its amphitheatre, lake, and boats. This is followed by a history of Fountains Abbey, with maintenance being done to the brickwork. Next to the city square where there is a statue of the Black Prince. As part of the celebration of their centenary, Marks and Spencer have provided money for sheltered housing at St Michael's Court. Next the old Railway Station is being demolished. In place of the heavy industry, new warehouses have been built by the side of the canal. The Town Hall is shown on all their glory, having just been cleaned. Then the Civic Hall and its gardens, before the Lord Mayor's Parade, proceeding down streets lined with watching crowds. There is a special focus is put on the Marks and Spencer float celebrating their centenary.

End credits: 'we wish to acknowledge the assistance given by Graham McKenna, Leeds City Libraries, Paul Bookbinder (for Marks and Spencer)' Produced by Leeds Movie Makers'