‘The Chartist movement in Leeds may be said to date from the early Autumn of 1837, when, at a meeting on the Moor, the decision was taken to form a Leeds Working Men’s Association. In that same year, 40,000 people assembled to consider nominations for the Leeds MP’ -according to local historian Ian Harker in his book ‘A History of Woodhouse Moor’.
It felt like that number last Monday – it was heaving. At least this time they had some floodlights so you could see more or less where you were going. I remember coming to the bonfire here a few years ago and once you were away from the fire it was really hard to see anything.
The bonfire was impressive, probably the biggest I’ve ever seen – it looked about 40 feet high, a bit like the one on ‘The Wicker Man’, but let’s not go there.
There is something really exciting about being in a big crowd, and the atmosphere it creates, although I did find myself a bit nostalgic for the days of childhood when each street had its own little version, and bonfire night was more of a neighbourhood thing. This was spectacle, and once it was over the army was suddenly moving in all directions, to the funfair, or the local pubs.
I didn’t know how it would work filming the display, but I think you get some of the atmosphere. Terry