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1920 - 1950

In 1931 Miss E Langdon-Down made a series of paintings of the market. Three of them are shown here, and give us a good idea of how the market looked at that time.

Because of its central position Leeds became an important centre for the distribution of goods. Trade, particularly wholesale trade, increased dramatically. At the same time, road transport in the first half of the twentieth century increased as motorised vehicles replaced the horse and cart. This caused problems at the market. Approach roads became congested with traffic and wholesale and retail traders were sharing a space which could no longer accommodate vans and lorries as well as the increased numbers of shoppers. Up to 600 lorries a day used the approach roads to the market. The solution was to separate the retail and wholesale markets, and in 1939 G W Atkinson drew up plans for an extension of the market onto a site between George Street and Eastgate. However when World War II began the scheme was abandoned.

During the war, despite conscription, air raids, and the blackout, business continued at the market, though it was much reduced. Air raid shelters were built for the tenants and over 100 volunteers manned an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Service. The Ministry of Food occupied rooms in the market to implement Government regulations for food control. On 14th March 1941 Kirkgate Market was damaged in a bombing raid.

After the war the Markets Committee could once again begin improvements to the markets, and a 55,000 scheme was proposed. A new Open Market was provided, along with new warehouses, and a separate area for market gardeners. Old buildings were demolished to provide more parking space. 20 new butchers' shops were built, and old shops refurbished.

A photograph of a stall in Game Row taken in the 1940s, shows the variety of poultry on sale. In 1947 part of the roof of game row collapsed.
Click images to enlarge
Market in the 1930's
Market in the 1930's
Market in the 1930's
Market in the 1930's
Market in the 1930's
Market in the 1930's
Proposed scheme for markets, 1939
Proposed scheme for markets, 1939
Game Row 1940's
Game Row 1940's
Roof damage to Game Row, 1947
Roof damage to Game Row, 1947
The Market, 1947
The Market, 1947




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003