The photographs show how the waterfront changed during the twentieth century. They also show where some things have not changed, and in some places the old waterfront survives.
Some of the buildings have not changed much. The building which housed the Riverside Mission is still standing, but the row of cottages next to it has been demolished, and the once-busy wharf is now a car park. The Aire and Calder Warehouse building of 1827 was still standing in 1950; it has now been rebuilt as flats, although the stone arches of the ground floor remain.
Looking East from Leeds Bridge
The seven storey warehouse in the centre of the picture was the tallest building on the waterfront. It was built in the early nineteenth century, and still stands. It has been refurbished as residential accommodation, with a restaurant on the ground floor, where the original brick vaults can still be seen. The warehouses beyond are now a smart hotel, 42, The Calls. In 1999 the Parish Church is still a landmark in the distance. There were still barges on the river in 1950, but there are none in the 1999 photograph
The Canal Office and Bridge.
Both have survived demolition, as have the towers of the old tower works behind. The Canal Bridge was rebuilt in 1841, and the canal office built at the same time. There is rural feel to the modern photograph, which reminds us that until the end of the 18th century the canal was meadowland.
View from Crown Point Bridge to Warehouse Hill.
In the photograph taken in 1916 it is just possible to see on the north bank of the waterfront, the warehouse at No. 46, The Calls with its industrial loading bays jutting out over the river. In the 1999 photograph these have been replaced by the three towers on the fašade of the Design and Innovation Centre built in 1988. Next to it is Langton's Wharf and the Chandler's both new housing developments which replace old warehouses. The photograph taken in 1999 shows the Centenary footbridge built in 1992. Whereas coal barges are moored at the wharves in 1916, the boats on the river in 1999 are obviously leisure craft. The south bank of the river remains much as it was in 1916.
It is easy to see the old warehouses in the design of the new housing development, as the fašade remains the same as it was in the nineteenth century. It was part of the Aire and Calder Navigation warehouses and terminus built in 1815-1821, and is the site of the first private housing development on the waterfront. With the help of an urban development grant the conversion of the warehouse and construction of new houses was undertaken by Barratts in 1985-1988. On the other side of this building is the old Aire and Calder dock, once a deep dock for the loading and unloading of barges. Originally the dock was covered by a roof, but this was removed, and the dock has now been made shallower, planted with water plants and has a fountain.
The Canal Basin.
Built in 1820 as a terminus for the Leeds and Liverpool canal, the canal basin had dry docks for building and repairing boats and wharves for stone and slate. In the 1945 photograph the Victoria coal wharf is on the right, with the Leeds and Liverpoool canal warehouse on the left. The roof of the dry dock is in the centre of the picture, with the Dark Arches and the railway behind. Despite being taken from a different position on the wharf, the 1999 photograph shows an absence of the industrial activity seen in the earlier picture. There is a car park in the dock area, for people shopping in the Granary Wharf shops in the Dark Arches, or for those who wish to take a walk along the towpath, or a trip in a barge. An area of industry has been transformed into one for leisure activities.
This is the area just to the south of Leeds Bridge. A photograph taken in 1945 shows on the extreme left part of the Georgian house where the Quaker James Hotham was a retail linen draper in 1830. It was here that in 1847 Jabez Tunnicliffe founded the Band of Hope Movement. In 1865 the shop was occupied by Hick Brothers, ironmongers and tinners, and it was from the upper floor of this shop that Louis le Prince took the first moving pictures in 1888.
The building in the centre of the picture is Leeds Bridge House, built about 1880 as a Temperance Hotel by John James Cousins, a Leeds banker. The hotel closed in 1900, and since then it has had a variety of uses. It was bought by Leeds City Council in 1960, and scheduled for demolition, but was reprieved and refurbished as offices in 1981. The strange shape of the building reflects the restricted space available on the site. On the right are the premises of George Angus and Co., belting manufacturers.
The photograph taken in 1999 shows that except for the road layout, and the removal of the tower from the building on the right of the picture, little has changed since 1945. The Leeds Civic Trust have proposed that changes be made to the Bridge End area; details can be found on their website.
Leeds Civic Trust website
|Click images to enlarge|
Warehouse Hill, 1950
Warehouse Hill, 1999
View looking east from Leeds Bridge, 1950
View looking east from Leeds Bridge, 2003
Canal Bridge and Office, c.1930
Canal Bridge and Office, 1999
View from Crown Point Bridge to Warehouse Hill, 1916
View from Crown Point Bridge to Warehouse Hill, 1999
Dock Street, c.1930
Dock Street, 1999
Canal Basin, 1945
Canal Basin, 1999
Bridge End, 1945
Bridge End, 1999