Top Twenty

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Morley press photographer  Leslie Overend’s death. I’ve been sent a Press Release from Stephen White, custodian of the collection.

Twenty more pictures illustrating the work of the late Morley photographer Leslie Overend will be added to his website this week to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Leslie worked as a freelance photographer for the Morley Observer and other newspapers in the old West Riding of Yorkshire for almost 60 years.

His work and travels around the area made him one of the best-known people in the town.

Born in Eccleshill, Bradford, in 1905, Leslie took his first published photograph in 1918. After learning his trade working for two Bradford daily newspapers, Leslie and his father, a former teacher, set up the Overend Press Agency – freelancing for newspapers all over the country.

Leslie took his first pictures in Morley in 1926 when he visited the town to cover the mayor-making ceremony of Alderman T A Buttery. That event was to be the first of 46 such mayor-making ceremonies that Leslie was to cover in the town.

In 1955, Leslie married the former Doris Morse – the owner of the Rendezvous Café in Town Hall Buildings, Queen Street.

The couple made their home in the former Dinky Dyson’s chemist’s shop, also in Queen Street, which they ran as a newsagent’s. Doris died in 1960.

Although Leslie moved to live in Dewsbury soon after Doris’s death, he retained his close ties with Morley and the surrounding area, taking tens of thousands of pictures in a varied career that continued until ill-health forced his reluctant retirement in 1983. 

When he died, on May 16, 1989, Leslie left his archive of negatives to a former Morley Observer colleague, Stephen White.

Stephen, now deputy editor at the Bristol-based Western Daily Press, is keen to keep Leslie’s work in the public eye.

He said: “When Leslie died and I inherited a huge pile of old boxes full of glass and film negatives I thought I should try to do something with them. It seemed a real shame that they would otherwise have just remained in boxes, perhaps lost to the people of Morley for ever.

“In 1992, I published a book of 100 pictures from the 1960s, then last Christmas released a book of pictures from the 1970s. In between, I archived Les’s negatives and set up a website in his name (

You can view the pictures by logging on to

“To mark the 20th anniversary of his death, I thought it would be a good idea to post another 20 pictures from his archive on to the website, displaying a variety of his work in and around Morley.

“Choosing 20 pictures from such a vast archive was an almost impossible task, but I hope the ones I settled for will bring back some welcome memories for people who have lived in the town for some time.”

He included these two.