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1600-1800

Cossins map of 1725 clearly shows both the Upper and Lower Head Rows. New Street has been built to connect the Head Row to St. Johns Church and Harrisons Almshouses built by John Harrison in 1631. It was after the building of New Street that the Head Row was divided into Upper and Lower, or Nether, Headrow. The street to the west of the junction with Briggate was called the Upper Head Row, and that to the east the Lower Head Row.

The Upper Head Row ends at Burley Bar, after which it becomes Park Lane. The map shows a gate across the road at this point, and a gate is also shown across the entrance to Woodhouse Lane, marking  the position of Woodhouse Bar.  Below the junction with New Street the Lower Head Row runs eastwards to the junction with Vicar Lane.

The map shows clearly how narrow the Headrow is compared to Briggate. Despite this it was used as a market place; Ralph Thoresby, writing in 1715, tells us that the horse fair was held in the Upper Head Row, and the pig and cattle market in the Lower Head Row.

The Head Rows are shown as being built up on both sides along their whole length. Properties fronting the street were a mixture of houses, shops and inns. Behind the buildings of the north eastern side of the Head Rows were yards similar to the ones on either side of Briggate. There were several large houses with gardens behind, like Red Hall, one of the grandest houses in the town, and shown on the map near the junction with Lands Lane. All of these old buildings have been demolished, and to give us an idea of how the Head Row looked in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we have to rely on photographs taken when some early buildings still survived. A photograph taken in 1906 shows a row of shops, probably built in the early 1700s, at Burley Bar, and an old print shows the Cock and Bottle Inn which became part of Schofields store.

Some of the shops in the Lowerhead Row had iron Templar crosses mounted on the front. This indicated that these properties were tenanted from the manor of Whitkirk rather than Leeds. The manor of Whitkirk used to belong to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, successors of the Knights Templar. The inhabitants of the manor of Leeds had to have their corn ground at the Kings Mills; a court case in 1787 decided that the tenants of the manor of Whitkirk were exempted, and they displayed the Templar cross to indicate this.

Houses were built at both ends of the Head Rows in the eighteenth century, but development was very different at the west end from that at the east end. The West End of Leeds began with the building of large and elegant houses on the Park estate. They were intended for the rich merchants and professional people of Leeds, and the estate was laid out accordingly, with wide streets, and gardens. Tuke's map of 1781 shows the beginning of the development of the Park Estate at the West End of the Headrow. In 1792 a seperate development was built at Albion Street, described in the 1806 Leeds Guide as 'perhaps the pleasantest in the town………………the houses in this street are remarkably well-built, and are chiefly inhabited by professional gentlemen, and persons in a wholesale line of business, as no retail shops are allowed to be opened in it. William Hey, the eminent Leeds surgeon, built himself a house, Albion Place, on Albion Street.

The development of the east end was very different. The area around Timble Beck was the site of water mills, dyehouses and workshops. The beck itself was heavily polluted with the effluent from tanneries, dyehouses and oil mills and with sewage from the houses of east Leeds. The houses of the working class were originally cottages in the yards and courts of the city centre. As the population grew, cottages were built on the land between former farmyards in the Mabgate area, and small housing developments were built piecemeal along the York Road and on Quarry Hill. Some housing was put up by private developers, and some by building clubs where several people joined forces to build a number of houses which were then let out to tenants. Both types of development were found in Nelson Street (later demolished when East Street was built.) which ran along the northern edge of the Crackenthorpe Garden estate. On the north side of Nelson Street the houses were erected by a private developer, Abraham Croft, whereas on the south side a building club put up a row of houses which fronted onto Union Street. The houses were all of the same kind - two or three storey back-to backs with tunnels at intervals along the row of houses. The tunnels led to the entrances of the houses behind those facing the street, and to the courts and yards between the rows of houses. The houses were crowded, with no supply of clean water or proper sanitation, very different from the elegant buildings of the Park Estate.  

Click images to enlarge
Cossins Map, 1725
Cossins Map, 1725
Old Shops at Burley Bar, 1906
Old Shops at Burley Bar, 1906
Red Hall
Red Hall
Cock and Bottle Inn
Cock and Bottle Inn
Templar Crosses on old shops in Lowerhead Row
Templar Crosses on old shops in Lowerhead Row
Tuke's Map, 1781
Tuke's Map, 1781
Houses in Park Square
Houses in Park Square
William Hey's House, Albion Place
William Hey's House, Albion Place
Nelson Street
Nelson Street




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