Early Sunday Morning by Peter Mitchell is a documentation of the city of Leeds throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Born in Manchester in 1943, Mitchell left school at 16 and trained as a cartographic draughtsman working for the civil service, until aged 24, he went to Hornsey College of Art in north London. After a visit to Leeds, he never returned to London and has lived in the same house in Chapeltown for more than 40 years. During his working life he has had many jobs, truck driving to silkscreen and printmaking, hand-lettering and poster designer and stock control clerk of a perfume counter – all the time taking photographs. It was his time driving as a truck delivery driver showed him the nooks and crannies of Leeds from a vantage point removed from the immediacy of the street and enabling him to see the city from a new aesthetic standpoint.
Early Sunday Morning brings together a collection of rare, mostly unpublished photographs that reveal the layers of the urban and social history of Leeds. Mitchell explored the city in a unique and precious way that shows hundred-year-old terraces and cobbled streets, flanked by concrete flats, with newly cleared ground. You can see the way in which photographs relate back to his poster design days, with graphical framing that complements the narrow streets and rectangular shaped buildings. We see corner shops, betting shops, pigeon shops, factories and pubs — many adorned with archaic adverts, painted signage, or are boarded up, revealing the open seams in the brisk transformation of the city.
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Alea Stony Rock, Westlock Terrace, Leeds © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB Photobooks
Burley Road © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB Photobooks
Union Cross between Stocks Hill and Crab Lane © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB
Corner of Sunny Bank and Roxholme Avenue © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB
Cloth Hill Street © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB Photobooks
Hyde Park Corner © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB Photobooks
Meanwood Road off Cliffdale Road © Peter Mitchell courtesy RRB Photobooks