This film is part of Free

Chapeltown: One Year On

A documentary that reveals the gap between the talent and determination of a community, and its lack of control over its own destiny.

Documentary 1987 21 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


As if to prove the Biblical proverb that there is nothing new under the sun, the poor housing, lack of jobs, despondency, and cynicism with politics that characterises our own time, is revealed to have been just the same back in the 1980s. One year on from establishing task forces to create jobs in inner cities, the govt. project is viewed as purely cosmetic among the young jobless black men and women of the deprived Chapeltown area of Leeds, shortly after riots there in 1987.

This documentary is a follow up to one made on the task force a year previously. In the meantime there was a riot in Chapeltown on 22 June 1987, sparked by a young black man arrested and beaten by police (not mentioned in the film) – this followed riots there in 1975 and 1981 (and a subsequent one in nearby Harehills in 2001). Cambridge Economic Consultants published an Evaluation of the Inner City Task Forces in 1991. Local resident and sociologist Max Farrar published a long-term study of Chapeltown in 2002, The struggle for ‘Community’ in a British Multi-Ethnic Inner-City Area: Chapeltown remains a deprived area: with boarded-up houses, waste land and prostitution, no bank branches, post office and no pub.