OVEREND'S MORLEY 1970-1979LESLIE OVEREND 20th ANNIVERSARY     leslie overend
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The Morley Connection

Leslie Overend and his father set up a freelance photographic agency in the 1920s.

Leslie became the roving photographer, travelling up and down the country taking pictures of anything he thought might sell. His father dealt with the business end of things – setting up the work, receiving orders and chasing the money.

Leslie took photographs at thousands of football matches - he travelled for years with Huddersfield Town, who were very successful at the time. He would also cover fur and feather shows, dog shows, even mouse shows, all over the country.

During this time he developed a passion for steam railways. In later years he often talked fondly of his times travelling in luxury aboard some of the country’s famous trains, while sampling the finest food and drink.

Leslie's sister Evelyn’s husband, Percy Fraas, was a conductor on the Devonian (Bradford-Paignton) service and his memories of the food and service on board that train would keep him talking for hours. He had a fascination and deep appreciation of how such high quality food could be cooked and served in such difficult conditions – from a tiny galley in a high-speed, swaying train.

He would also talk about the efficiency of the trains in days gone by. One example he related on various occasions was when he once left Bradford on a Saturday morning, took pictures at a football match on the south coast in the afternoon and was back in Bradford to play, and win, a billiards match that evening.

His billiards opponent poured scorn on his story of such long distance travel in a day – until Leslie produced a copy of that day’s south coast newspaper from his jacket pocket.

As the years rolled by, newspapers began to use more and more photographs and the national scene became more competitive – meaning there was less call for a roving photographer. Leslie began to concentrate on more local matters.

He often talked about his introduction to Morley in 1926, when he was a raw journalist representing the Yorkshire Evening Argus. His job was to record the mayor-making ceremony of one Alderman Thomas Albert Buttery.

That event was to be the first of 46 such mayor-making ceremonies he was to cover in Morley and the first job in the town which he was to become so closely associated for such a long time.

After a short time, Leslie established himself as the unofficial Morley Observer photographer, but always retained his freelance status.

His Morley links were strengthened in 1955 when he married the former Miss Doris Morse, proprietor of the Rendezvous Café in Town Hall Buildings, and moved to lived with her in a flat above the café.

Working for a number of proprietors and various editors, he served the Morley Observer, Batley News and Dewsbury Reporter - and various others in the West Riding - for almost 60 years.

Such was his activity at such an assortment of events he became one of the best-known and most recognisable people in the district.

Despite his pride at being a Bradfordian, Leslie had enormous respect for Morley and its people and would wax lyrical about the great characters from the town – the businessmen, the politicians, the drinkers, the gamblers, the womanisers – he was proud to have known and worked alongside.

He also recognised that his work put him in a privileged position; here was a man from a quite ordinary background who was often allowed to mix in extraordinary circles.

All in all, he lived quite an extraordinary life.

Leslie Overend

Butchers with boaters in Morley Market.

Tingley WMC AFC.

Candy floss at Morley Feast.

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