The Medical Mile

Medical Mile is a podcast and walking tour that explores how Beckett Street came to be known as Leeds’ ‘Medical Mile’.

Join Dr Ranmalie Jayawardana, Community Co-Producer at Thackray Museum of Medicine, to visit 13 sites – from the Back-to-Back housing in Harehills down to the Quarry House Department of Health.

We meet the people who shaped this remarkable healthcare landscape and learn how Thackray Museum of Medicine and St James’ University Hospital came to be here.

We delve into the pasts of lesser-known sites too, like the Chapel and Burmantofts Health Centre, to understand the global success of the hospital next to health inequalities of its neighbours.

Together, we will explore how public health policy affects people, and how people affect policy.

You can listen to Medical Mile as a standalone podcast or use it as a guided walking tour.

To follow the walking tour, simply use the map to plot your journey. There are audio directions to the next site included in every episode.

We recommend you listen to the episodes in order; however, episodes can be listened to individually as well.

  1. Introduction

    We start the Medical Mile podcast and walking tour by introducing the Thackray Museum of Medicine and surrounding area.

  2. 1

    The Workhouse

    We delve into Thackray Museum of Medicine’s origins as Leeds Union Workhouse. We hear from Workhouse Network Volunteer Belinda May, and author Chris Nickson.

  3. 2

    Back -to-Back Housing

    We explore the connection between healthcare and migration in Harehills’ Back-to-Back housing. We hear from Adam Aslam, a youth worker and Imam, whose family has lived in Harehills for three generations.

  4. 3

    Beckett Street Cemetery

    We learn about the people buried in Beckett Street Cemetery and the volunteers keeping their stories alive. We hear from Alun Pugh, Chair of the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery.

  5. 4

    The Chapel

    We explore morality, poverty, and care through the history of the Workhouse Chapel. We hear from Geraldine Cunningham, Chaplaincy Secretary at St James’s Hospital.

  6. 5

    Research and Innovation Building

    Content warning: This episode references historical medical terminology that is now deemed offensive.

    We look at the site’s former ‘Idiotic Block’ to track changes in medical language and care.

     

  7. 6

    The Imbecile Ward

    Content warning: This episode references historical medical terminology that is now deemed offensive.

    We examine at the link between medical categorisations and institutionalisation. We hear from Polina Merkulova, a health historian researching the history of psychiatry.

  8. 7

    The Infirmary

    We explore how the hospital has adapted to meet changing community needs. We hear from Belinda May, a Workhouse Network Volunteer.

  9. 8

    East Leeds Military Hospital

    We investigate masculinity, medicine, and warfare through this site’s time as the East Leeds Military Hospital. We hear from Dr Jessica Meyer, a Health Historian at the University of Leeds.

  10. 9

    The Moral and Industrial Training School

    We explore the lives of children on this site and hear from Workhouse Volunteer, Belinda May, about her personal links to her research.

  11. 10

    St James’ Hospital

    We talk about the hidden costs of hospital development by looking at the Bexley Wing. We hear from Dr Carolyn Huston, a retired GP who worked in the area for 25 years.

  12. 11

    House of Recovery

    We look at the House of Recovery that used be on Beckett Street. We hear from Dr Carolyn Huston who researches local history as part of The Workhouse Network.

  13. 12

    Burmantofts Health Centre

    We examine the changing role of GPs by hearing from Dr Carolyn Huston about her experiences.

  14. 13

    Quarry Hill

    We explore Quarry Hill’s transformation over the past 100 years, including the inclusion of Department of Health on the Medical Mile. We hear from Sophia Lambert, a historian researching housing in Leeds.

    Conclusion

    We end the Medical Mile by looking back at the people we have met at each site, and reflect on those whose stories remain unheard.

Introduction

141 Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7LN, UK

We start the Medical Mile podcast and walking tour by introducing the Thackray Museum of Medicine and surrounding area.

1. The Workhouse

140 Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7AA, UK

We delve into Thackray Museum of Medicine’s origins as Leeds Union Workhouse. We hear from Workhouse Network Volunteer Belinda May, and author Chris Nickson.

2. Back -to-Back Housing

86 Harehills Rd, Harehills, Leeds LS8 5PA, UK

We explore the connection between healthcare and migration in Harehills’ Back-to-Back housing. We hear from Adam Aslam, a youth worker and Imam, whose family has lived in Harehills for three generations.

3. Beckett Street Cemetery

140 Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7AA, UK

We learn about the people buried in Beckett Street Cemetery and the volunteers keeping their stories alive. We hear from Alun Pugh, Chair of the Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery.

4. The Chapel

141 Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7LN, UK

We explore morality, poverty, and care through the history of the Workhouse Chapel. We hear from Geraldine Cunningham, Chaplaincy Secretary at St James’s Hospital.

5. Research and Innovation Building

St James University Hospital, Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

Content warning: This episode references historical medical terminology that is now deemed offensive.

We look at the site’s former ‘Idiotic Block’ to track changes in medical language and care.

 

6. The Imbecile Ward

School of Dentistry, University of, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7LN, UK

Content warning: This episode references historical medical terminology that is now deemed offensive.

We examine at the link between medical categorisations and institutionalisation. We hear from Polina Merkulova, a health historian researching the history of psychiatry.

7. The Infirmary

St James University Hospital, Beckett St, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

We explore how the hospital has adapted to meet changing community needs. We hear from Belinda May, a Workhouse Network Volunteer.

8. East Leeds Military Hospital

St James Hospital, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

We investigate masculinity, medicine, and warfare through this site’s time as the East Leeds Military Hospital. We hear from Dr Jessica Meyer, a Health Historian at the University of Leeds.

9. The Moral and Industrial Training School

Lincoln Wing, Harehills, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK

We explore the lives of children on this site and hear from Workhouse Volunteer, Belinda May, about her personal links to her research.

10. St James’ Hospital

69 Beckett St, Leeds LS9 7LP, UK

We talk about the hidden costs of hospital development by looking at the Bexley Wing. We hear from Dr Carolyn Huston, a retired GP who worked in the area for 25 years.

11. House of Recovery

35 Beckett St, Leeds LS9 7LP, UK

We look at the House of Recovery that used be on Beckett Street. We hear from Dr Carolyn Huston who researches local history as part of The Workhouse Network.

12. Burmantofts Health Centre

148 Lincoln Green Rd, Leeds LS9 7SU, UK

We examine the changing role of GPs by hearing from Dr Carolyn Huston about her experiences.

13. Quarry Hill

Quarry House, Leeds LS2 7UE, UK

We explore Quarry Hill’s transformation over the past 100 years, including the inclusion of Department of Health on the Medical Mile. We hear from Sophia Lambert, a historian researching housing in Leeds.

Conclusion

We end the Medical Mile by looking back at the people we have met at each site, and reflect on those whose stories remain unheard.

Traffic warning

The walking tour takes you along Becket Street and onto St James’ University Hospital. These are busy sites with heavy road and foot traffic.

Please remain vigilant of your surrounds, pausing the audio when necessary.

We strongly recommend using the controlled crossings indicated in the audio directions to cross roads. If it is not possible to use a controlled crossing, only cross the road where there is a clear view of traffic. Only cross a road if/when you feel safe to do so.