/ History of Henry Price
Can anyone tell me the history of climbing at Henry Price in Leeds? When did climbers first start developing this crag? Was it when the building was first completed back in 1964? Or did climbers wait a while and hop on in the 70s or 80s?
I was living there in 1970 and to my knowledge it was not used then.
Was very busy when I lived in Leeds in 1983. Significant climbing on outdoor (building) walls seemed to spring up, at least in Sheffield, in the very early 1980s. Would suspect Leeds followed suit.
1964 was when the Leeds Uni wall opened. Generally it's importance wasn't realised until circa 1970. So I think few people would have gone brick-edge cruising until at least the mid-'70s and increasingly the early '80s.
I started using it in the 80s and it was very well known as a venue even then. In fact it may even have had its first re-pointing.
Ah! Those finger-burning 'thumbless' traverses
I was there in 73-74 and the climbing wall was the wall of a corridor in some building or other. It was a busy thoroughfare and the chances of collateral damage were fairly high but people took it in their stride.
I had a few sessions but decided I was better off catching the bus out to Otley or Ilkley.
During foot and mouth it was probably the most popular crag in West Yorkshire.
I lived in Henry Price in 1983. I wasn’t a climber then but dimly recall seeing people using it. I have a mix of memories from that time, 10/12 person ‘flats’, vinyl covered mattresses (yuck), bathrooms accessible between rooms via different doors, flippable windows, water fights, big parties, super hot Indian food, pub crawls, football in the corridors, fraternising with the girls flats, the graveyard...
It was already an established venue when I arrived in Leeds in 1982.
I think about 77 or 78, we were using many gritstone walls in Leeds to traverse on. Predictably Al Manson started it with Woodhouse Ridge wall and then many others around Headingley area, Alma Road was one of the best until someone realised HP had a rain cover and lights at night.
> I think about 77 or 78, we were using many gritstone walls in Leeds to traverse on. Predictably Al Manson started it with Woodhouse Ridge wall and then many others around Headingley area, Alma Road was one of the best until someone realised HP had a rain cover and lights at night.
Do you remember which part of the ridge wall he used?
It was some where behind the uni flats where I lived in my first year, James Baillie flats it was called at the time. Not sure it was very good, north facing and a bit green. I think Alma Road down the side of the shopping centre was the best of them but knowing Alan he probably kept the best ones secret!
Just looked at Alma Rd on google and its been repointed, pure vandalism!
Alma Rd could be a bit dodgy, being on the footpath of the public highway. Passers by could get a bit sniffy about climbing on it whereas Henry Price was part of the uni and students were much more tolerant
I'll ask Al Manson next time I see him
When I was living in Delph Lane in the early 1970's, in the same house as John Syrett, Tim Jepson, John Eames etc, we were regularly climbing on the gritstone walls of Woodhouse Ridge, which was nearby.
> Just looked at Alma Rd on google and its been repointed, pure vandalism!
First read that as:
Just looked at Alma Rd on google and its been redpointed, pure vandalism!
Initial reaction: "Eh, why?" Then adjusted specs and realised. Sorry!
Vandalism indeed. There was a lovely traverse wall in Sheffield, Red Lane, a few hundred yards from where I lived. It was easy enough for anybody to get on but long and quite pumpy in places. It got closed off when the spare bit of land beside it was 'developed' and renamed Betjeman Gardens.
John Betjeman loved Sheffield names like Ringinglow. He'd have been livid at Betjeman Gardens. And I like to think he'd have been in sympathy with all of us who loved Red Lane.
Red Lane was great, long but not too desperate, I was sad when I heard about it. It was much quieter back in the day and we rarely got hassled apart from predictable piss taking. I suspect if places like Alma Rd where used by the modern numbers of climbers they would have fallen down by now as the holds got bigger in the year or two we were on them. Which was the Sheffield one with little roof over it and desperatley fingery, uni or poly building I think?
Geoff Breach,Dave Turnbull and others developed this wall around 1981/2.One section was really hard crimping..I think Allan Manson developed Alma road about 1980.Leeds Uni climbing club climbers I think developed Henry price from about 1981.MartinBerzins Chris Sowden Rob Gawthorpe...Tony Mitchell..Alan Clarke and others.This is how I remember things.
I was at Leeds University from 1976 to 1979 . We were climbing on Alma Road then after Alan finally told us where it was. I remember using Henry Price but it might have been on regular trips back in years just after I moved away. Memory is not guaranteed over 40 years.
Taken just round the corner from our flat in Chapel Allerton in 1978, Sunny Bank Wall even had its own pub (The Regent)attached and the Landlord was happy for us to play on it.
The one with the roof is at the Poly on Broomgrove rd. It’s on some of the free films currently on the bouldering films thread. Certainly in Statement of Youth, think it might be in One Summer. Man, there were some hard crimps on that traverse.
The RedWall was quite long wasn’t it, along the side of the footpath. It was kept pretty clean from the amount of traffic it got. I’d quite often stop after work to pick up anyone who wanted a lift to Burbage. I’d do a few traverses, but then usually had to wait for Geraldine who needed to complete 10 there and backs.
also remember going to a stone wall a few times with Andy Pollitt in Endcliffe Park, but it was pretty dirty even in the summer.
Just realised where the Henry Price wall is, doh. Moving to Leeds Uni is a possibility if we ever get back to normal. I went up for a tour last month, and that wall is just across the old church yard (St. George’s Field?) from the Engineering Faculty. I had a look when I was walking back to the car park. Looks excellent.
I went to a wall in Leeds in the mid to late 70's but I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. It comprised half bricks missing here and there, half a bricks sticking out somewhere else, the odd bit of concrete and a couple of largish ledges. Later climbers started gouging out the cement from between the bricks. It was quite high and you had to keep dodging the badminton players. Many of the top Yorkshire climbers frequented it.
Sounds like Rothwell
Am glad you enjoyed Red Lane. I'll always remember walking past, on a lovely summer's day in the late '70s. There was a bunch of Italian guys playing football on the strip of land to the side (which got built on). A very pretty girl passed by and the guys all stopped playing and cheered her. It was so spontaneous and good-hearted, nothing at all salacious. She smiled, then burst out laughing. Just one of those unexpected happy memories which stay with you forever.
> Which was the Sheffield one with little roof over it and desperatley fingery, uni or poly building I think?
As Paul says, Broomgrove. My favourite. Wonderfully fingery training.
Hi Paul, I believe Pod found the one in Endcliffe Park. It was very popular, circa 1980, then fell into neglect. As it was in a shady spot, it really needed more traffic to keep it clean.
In the late 70s, there was a good pumpy wall on Mushroom Lane, at Crookes. The Harcourt Road boys used to go on it a lot, I think. Sadly it too was repointed.
There was also a lovely little wall at Tay Street, also in Crookes, again a personal favourite. Superb technical moves. It was rumoured that John Kirk had soloed the blunt arete (E6 onsight??) There was a school up above and I believe the Headmistress started complaining to the police. Seemed overkill. I only ever once saw anyone else there (Dave Greenald) and kids never came by. You weren't setting a bad example and I doubt they'd have got both feet off the ground for long enough to hurt themselves.
If you get to Leeds, do check out Henry Price.
Hi Mick, hope you're keeping well.
The Mushroom Lane wall pointing eventually fell out and it came back into vogue (with a latter day Harcourt Road team) and has yet again fallen out of fashion following another restoration. When I used to live in Crookes, we used to use the school wall on Tay st. I seem to remember it was highball enough to require a steady head in places. There was also a featured concrete wall on crookesmoor Road underneath the Uni Arts Tower, but that was generally used when staggering back to Crookes from Fagan's.
That was a tough crowd at Broomgrove Wall, the levels of barracking hung heavy on your shoulders when you were trying to send something and failing for the 100th time. Were you around when the Al Rouse wall opened. In the cold weather, the Hunter House Rd habituees virtually lived in there to keep warm.
Is the Endcliffe Park wall the one on the opposite side of the stream to the main path?
There's another good little wall above Aukley Rd and below Chesterfield Road, but nothing too hard on it as it's slabby
That's an amazing photo! Love the style! Before the dawn of lycra, did climbers wear flared jeans on the crags?
Unfortunately when flares were in fashion it was difficult to get your hands on anything else. I wore them because I had no other choice. I have always hated flares and still do. Between flares and lycra there were baggies and I mean really baggy.
> Is the Endcliffe Park wall the one on the opposite side of the stream to the main path?
Yes. I can't remember the name of the road above. (It's at the tip of my tongue.) I think it joins up with Rustlings Road. (God, I've been away a long time!)
> There's another good little wall above Aukley Rd and below Chesterfield Road, but nothing too hard on it as it's slabby
Ah, didn't know about this.
Paul, I loved Tay Street, happy autumn afternoons there in the late 70s. Only ever did laps of the traverse though. Paul Mitchell had assured me thus: "Some really good boulderers have been totally shut down by that traverse. You won't get anywhere on it." Thanks, mate.
Had Broomgrove nailed, so never the slightest bit of barracking. Remember going there one Sunday afternoon in the '80s, when I was working as a management consultant, with grim cummutes/hours/pressure/lifestyle. Out of shape! Oddly enough, could still do the traverses though. Hard-wired. Anyway, the only other two people there were Sean Myles and Ben Moon. I looked at them and said, "What have I done to deserve you two?" They laughed; we got on fine. Next time on, there was a young guy there, obviously a good climber, trying the traverse. When I sailed across (not in any way trying to piss him off), he still got the hump and stomped away. What a pity.
I hated the Al Rouse wall and suspected that Al would have hated it too. All those knee-wrenching rockovers! Saw Johnny Dawes there and couldn't believe his dynamic style.
Was the Poly television room up from Broomgrove? I remember Noddy saying you could have a great time in the Poly television room. He'd probably gone there with Jerry to keep warm.
Something about the way he said it, the sadness, touched my soul. When he died, I was never the same again. And when Will died, well... Still, you gotta go on, haven't you?
Stay safe out there!
the Al Rouse wall was terrible, but it was just mimicking the other terrible walls at the time. If the Foundry had been open, then they could have taken inspiration from The Wave or just bought a lorry load of timber and plywood. Who knew?. The telly room was indeed a great place to stay warm while waiting to blag a meal at the Poly refectory! I find it very difficult to watch some of the videos contemporary with that time. Absent friends.
> That's an amazing photo! Love the style! Before the dawn of lycra, did climbers wear flared jeans on the crags?
And before that unflared jeans and before that animal skins and wode. Actually there must be some mileage in what people dug out to wear at the crag. Chris was actually in his street smart "Fonz" gear in this pic I recall he favoured Helly Hansen bottoms at the time. You can date old pics by the leg wear; painters whites, chef checks,Hellys, moleskin britches. The rolled up denim was very fashionable mid 70s maybe thanks to pics of John Allen in the climbing comics.
That's class! Surely the flare got in the way - how could you see where your toes were going past all that flapping fabric?!
It sure was tricky - but the era was all about style. Somewhat appropriately named loons (early '70s) were the most flared of all. So maximum style points soloing HVS and XS in 'em. It was all about style.
We were very young and very silly...
> You can date old pics by the leg wear; painters whites, chef checks,Hellys, moleskin britches.
When were painters whites and chef checks a thing? Are there any photos of climbers out in them?
I would absolutely love to see some pictures of this style in action... are there any?!
Probably why foot work was never my strong point - plus at that point I think I'd just arrived at a glorious jamming crack. Definitely one of my favourite pitches in the Pass.
I had some turquoise cord loons with bells on the inside leg. They never made it to the Pass.
Moleskin breeches, late '60s (and probably earlier). I had a pair! You wore 'em with big mountaineering boots. Weren't allowed to have rock shoes (PAs, EBs, etc) until you could climb VS, at least. Mountaineering boots were supposed to encourage good footwork. Hmm...
Painters' whites were popularised by top American climber, Henry Barber (e.g. FA of Fish Crack, the first 5.12b in Yosemite). Supposedly he'd had a job as a painter. He came over here in '73 and had a blitz. Thus they became fashionable on both sides of the pond.
Blue Helly Hansen (boating wear) became very fashionable in the late '70s. Pete Livesey had a pair; I think big Ron had a pair too.
Chef checks. Kim Carrigan, maybe? Someone will have to help me out here.
Also denim jeans, cut-off in shorts. De rigeur for mid 70s' summers, particularly for soloing (HVS and... oh, we've already got the picture!) You had - and this was a MUST - to be ripped to wear 'em. No hint of a beery belly - even though we were consuming vast amounts of ale.
Can't think of any loon shots, though there must be some in the Historical section. Someone once did a photosequence of me on Hardd, with a pair. Alas, lost in the mists of time.
"Hot Henry loads his guns at Tanky's` was one advert I remember.
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