I like a good mystery me ! Take a look at the picture above. It's an image I found online on a site called Leodis - a photographic archive of Leeds. These are the 'ninety nine steps' in between Burley Road (at the bottom and Belle Vue Road at the top. What the hell has this got to do with Jimmy Savile I hear you ask ! Well, my fiends, listen up and I'll tell you an interesting tale of how I got lost and found on my way to find Jimmy's childhood home !
Here's where Jimmy grew up - the street is called Consort Terrace. I spent some time researching the place online, but no one apeared to be sure if Jimmy's was 20 or 22. I don't let minor details like other people's misinformation put me off so I found myself looking at both houses and working out very quickly which one was THE ONE ! You see, I recalled that film clip that's always shown of Jimmy driving up to his old gaff in his white Rolls. No 22 was the only one with hard standing, in fact, it's hardly changed at all since the 60's 'cept for a few licks of paint and some new windows (I think) !
Let's go back to that top picture again shall we ? I told you that I had found this during my hunt for information about the area around Consort Terrace. I had several street names to go on and Burley Road was one of them. I felt kind of seduced by this image and one poster's description of climbing these steps every day in their youth, but alas, the steps he said were no more, no doubt a victim of those 1970's bulldozers that took so many great buildings and street away !
Oh well, onwards ! The driver told me to get off and I found myself - well, lost actually. i did not know what street I was on but there was a shop and a pub and a lad coming out of said shop holding his newly acquired lunch in one hand and a mobile in the other. He kindly looked up a street map on his gizmo and pointed me in the direction of a steep looking road. I started my uphill climb and found another hearty soul travelling quickly in the opposite direction. I'm not one to waste my lags and lungs if I can help it so I asked her if she knew where Burley Road was, just to make sure I was on the right track. She pointed me back to where I had started, I started to lose hope !
Try imagining the scene if you will folks. This was not some neat little residential street I was on, this was one of those commercial/industrial estate looking streets weher no one appeared to live. Worse still, it looked like a bloody long road. I might never find Jimmy's gaff !
I walked miles - that's rabbitaway miles to you and me, and finally came to an odd looking pub/cafe. Finally, someone to ask where the hell Consort Terrace was ! The nice bar attendant had actually heard of the place. He stuck out his left arm and told me to go that way out of the door and then go up
THE NINETY NINE STEPS !
It didn't occur to me that these were the same steps that I had read about when he directed me thus. I thought that he must be talking about some newly built access but he wasn't and my heart filled. I'm easily pleased aren't I guys and gals and well I should be, I was home again. I'll explain :
I won't bore you with all the details but let me assure you that some very strange things have happened to me whilst conducting various investigations in various places here in the UK and abroad ! These strange things some might describe as mere coincidences, but, I like to think that they represent a message. I have on more than one occasion found myself arriving at a location I had wanted to visit but not actually set out to find that day, if that makes any sense to you ?
I had wanted to find Jimmy's gaff and I did but on the way I found a place that had intrigued me days before leaving my home to travel to Leeds. Had I bothered to read a map I would have known that the street that the driver had dropped me off on was Burley street and while this does eventually lead to Burley Road, the steps and Consort Terrace, it is NOT the most direct route. Lunchman sent me on the most direct route from the bus stop but Ms in a rush sent me back on the longer route via my steps !
Many of the buildings and streets that inhabit the pictures in the photographic archive (Leodis) are long gone but the Ninety Nine steps remain as a reminder of happier times for some of us. Strangely enough, here's another view of the steps - Yes Guys and Gals, that's Yorkshire television Studios there at the bottom on the right ! You can imagine Jim up and down these steps on a daily basis perhaps, can't you ?
The 'message' I received that day was that I was on the right path - spiritually if you like ! I believe that Jimmy Savile was a good soul and one good soul deserves at least one other to shout up on his/her behalf.
You won't hear from me for a week - I'm off on me jollies - in the meantime remember 'LOVE IS AN UPHILL THING' !!