Now, Leeds. There’s so much talk about how much of a cosmopolitan city it is. How the city centre hosts so much dazzling architecture. How it is a melding pot of all sorts of cultures, world famous, a conglomerate of various lifestyles. In fact, a list came out a few years ago with the 50 Most Deprived Areas Of The UK on it, and Leeds was nowhere to be seen. Obviously the person who compiled that list has never set foot inside the city boundaries.
So, I thought instead of writing something similar to the usual iLiveHere entry which reads along the lines of “yeah this place is full of chavs and they all smoke and they drink and swear and wear jewellery and have kids at 15 and buy clothes from Argos and oh my god it’s a HORRIBLE place!” I thought I’d divide the city of Leeds into four quadrants, and give a guide to each of them.
Quadrant 1 includes the city centre. The A660 student corridor stems out of it, passing through the “student ghetto” of Headingley, Hyde Park and West Park and when it reaches Lawnswood, suddenly explodes and expands. It basically ranges along the A6120 Ring Road from Horsforth in the West to Roundhay in the East, and up to the North city limits. This is the nicest part of Leeds. Many affluent neighbourhoods such as Cookridge, Chapel Allerton, Moortown, Alwoodley, Shadwell, Weetwood, Rawdon and Meanwood are included. Not without it’s faults, however. Because it’s the richest side of the city, Q1 does attract the scrotes who come up for the rich pickings from the less priveliged areas. Burglary and mugging does occasionally happen here. And not just from council estate scrotes. You have the occasional grammar school boys who don tracksuits and use slang and take up smoking. “Ere bruv, got a cig”, they usually ask in their soft North Leeds accents. But these occurences are rare in Q1 and trouble isn’t rife in these sleepy suburbs.
Moving onto Quadrant two. It begins in the Inner City slums, Little London and Chapeltown, which geographically should be in Q1 but they have the character of a Q2 place and moves eastwards through Burmantofts, Richmond Hill, East End Park and Cross Green, before spreading out across the not-so-pleasant parts such as Gipton, Harehills, Halton and Swarcliffe, as well as Seacroft which is the largest council estate in Europe. These places are notorious for crime. Tracksuit clad scrotes and tarted up young women, a lot of the time with pushchairs, are found milling about. The A64 has a job centre, conveniently placed, and if you want a close examination of the species who dwell in the outback of Q2, feel free to walk inside and have a look at the gypsies, tramps and thieves who are native to this region. There are a few decent parts of Q2 such as Cross Gates, Whitkirk, Colton and the further out Garforth, but the streets at night of these places have been taken over by the cider swigging pondlife at night. Q2 is definitely the time that land forgot.
Moving further South, we have Quadrant 3. Sandwiched between the westbound M621 and the River Aire running ease, Q3 is of a similar ilk to Q2, except Q3 has no decent areas. If you come in from the City Centre, the first place you will end up in will likely be Beeston or Holbeck, two red brick terraced slums housing smackheads and immigrants, as well as those bombers who blew up the buses and trains in London, and themselves of course. Eastwards are the notorious Belle Isle and Middleton estates, or “Miggeh” as the locals of Q3 call it. All times of day you see belligerent youths roaming the street in these parts, looking ten men. The furthest South part of Q3 is Morley. If you ain’t local, and you’ve never had sexual intercourse with someone who is a family member, they won’t like you. Visiting places such as Morley Markets and the White Rose Centre will give you a taste of what kind of creatures dwell in darkest South Leeds. The only good thing I can think of is that Q3 hosts Elland Road, home of the greatest football team in the world, Leeds United FC. But then Hunslet Hawks are also here, with the most bitter fans in all sport.
Go up past the M621 from Q3 and you end up in Quadrant 4, which extends as far north as the A65. Very mixed part of Leeds. On the whole the areas are generally pleasant. Wortley, Rodley, Calverley, Kirkstall, Farnley and Burley all have a reasonable reputation. On the flipside, Q4 is home to some of the worst parts of Leeds. Bordering the city centre is Armley. If proof be needed that evolution hasn’t entirely occured, pay a visit. All kinds of sub-creatures wandering about Armley Town Street, smacked up grannies and delinquent teenagers. Home of HMP Armley, where most of it’s residents aspire to be. Further up the A647 you end up in Bramley. A place which presents itself as a historical village, when really it’s an amalmagation of some of the most wretched sink estates. The Broadleas, Fairfields, Raynvilles, Gamble Hills, Outgangs, Landseers, Ganners. A total freak show. And across the river is the Hawksworth estate, a place no one would dare to visit, day or night. On the furthest edge of Q4 you have Farsley and Pudsey, the two places I swear The League Of Gentlemen took inspiration from. Visit either of these inbred towns and you’ll see what I mean. Q4 is the closest part of Leeds to Bradford, a place which is a whole different kettle of fish and beyond any redemption.
So, in summary, Q1 is brilliant, definitely the best part of Leeds where run-ins with chavs are less frequent than others. Q2 and Q3 are beyond hope, pay a visit to these two quadrants and you pay a visit to the land before time. Q4 is decent in parts but the bad parts, really are horrible.
“Leeds – The pride of Yorkshire” – The jury’s out on that one…