Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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A sad loss

Every neighbourhood has a particular resident who takes a devoted interest in the local history of their area and we were sorry recently to lose one of those. Philip Leeman, who died aged 82 on 24 May, was considerably helpful to us when we set up the History Group, providing many images of Nunnery Lane and the long-demolished streets behind. He played a key role in recording changes to the neighbourhood around Bishopthorpe Road and Clementhorpe.

Philip was born and bred in Nunnery Lane and educated in York. After National Service in the RAF he worked as an administrator in the old Yorkshire Herald offices for many years. He was particularly attracted to history and always claimed to be a distant descendant of George Leeman, the famous rival to George Hudson.

Neal Guppy of Guppy’s Club told us: ‘Philip had a keen interest in classical music, attending our group at Guppy’s for many years from the 1970s onwards and visiting concerts in Leeds. We succeeded in encouraging him to develop his musical tastes.’ He also attended lunches at Clements Hall.

Buried deep beneath his gruff exterior Philip had a warm heart, and a dry sense of humour. One famous story he used to tell was about one of his neighbours, who was concerned because another neighbour had recently died. The neighbour visited the widow and expressed his condolences, and then said ‘And by the way, did he mention a tin of paint?’ Apparently the deceased had borrowed a tin of paint from the neighbour, who was keen to retrieve it.

Despite considerable ill health Philip was often seen visiting the cafes on Bishopthorpe Road with his newspaper. He also spent much time in the reference library and his archival binders have now been donated to York Explore Archives.