Monday, August 4, 2014

leeds arcades

You'd have thought that I'd have realized before now that Leeds has a lot of shopping arcades - magnificent Victorian ones.  I knew this in abstract terms, knew this as a factor in Leeds' revival as a shopping metropolis, at some level - but I'd not properly internalized their urban, architectural splendid presence.  This is the stranger since they figure (it turns out) in my family history.  My paternal grandmother used to work in a haberdasher's in one arcade - at Miss Salt's - opposite what used to be Marshall and Snelgrove, then the most upmarket store (where my maternal side of the family used, by coincidence, to shop.  Or not really by coincidence - Leeds was everyone's metropolitan center).  It was when changing Miss Salt's books, in the lunch hour, at the Leeds Institute's Lending Library that my grandmother met my grandfather, who was a clerk there.  So I guess that (the First World War intervening, just a little), my father's origins belong rather closely to the local topography.

Passing through - Manchester tomorrow.  Alice's first taste of the north, and, despite my mother's anxious prognostications, she finds that she can, mostly, understand people when they speak.

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