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1950 - 1980

A new Open 'Tatters' Market was opened in 1955. The old butchers shops in the 1904 hall did not comply with food hygiene regulations, despite some unusual attempts like the Clean food window to solve the problem. However it proved impossible to upgrade the old shops to the necessary standards, and twenty new butchers' shops were built in 1956 forming a new Butchers' Row. Improvements were also made to the fish shops and Game Row.

The market was now selling produce from all over the world. Compare this with the nineteenth century, when most goods were produced in England. Produce for sale in the market as advertised in the Yorkshire Post included:
Apples (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, America); Bananas (West Indies); Dates (Tunis); Grapes (South Africa); Grapefruit (cyprus, Israel, Trinidad); Japorine (Japan); Lemons (Cyprus, Italy), Limes (Kenya); Mandarins (Morocco); Mangoes (South Africa, Kenya); Oranges (Cyprus, Israel, Morocco, Spain, United Arab Republic); Ortaniques (Jamaica); Peaches (South Africa); Pears (South Africa);Pineapples (Kenya); Plums (South Africa): Satsumas (Spain); Strawberries (Israel, Mexico, Spain); Tomatoes (Canary Islands); Tomatoes (Canary Islands); Aubergines (Ivory Coast);Chillis (Uganda).

The market now had 400 traders, and over 100,000 shoppers visited the  market on a Saturday. Despite the increase in trade the wholesale and retail markets still shared the same space.  The Council bought a site off Pontefract Lane, at Cross Green, and a new wholesale market was opened there in October 1966.

In 1958 the Slaughter House Act and the Slaughter of Animals act set out minimum standards which had to be met by a Local Authority when slaughtering animals. It would have been impossible to update the old slaughter house to comply  with the Acts, and a new abattoir and meat market was built, also on a site off Pontefract Lane.

1975 –The Fire.
Saturday, 13th December 1975 marks a turning point in the history of Kirkgate  market. Two thirds of the market buildings were destroyed by fire. The cause of the fire is uncertain some people said it was an electrical fault, others an overturned paraffin heater. Stallholders attempted to put out the fire, but it spread so quickly that they had to run for their lives. The smoke and flames could be seen from fifteen miles away.

Over 100 firemen with 15 pumps and 221 jets fought the blaze, but before they could bring it under control most of the roof of the market had collapsed. Miraculously, everyone managed to leave the building and that there were no casualties. The fire caused £7 million worth of damage. The 1904 market hall and the top section of the market were undamaged, and were open for business again within 3 days. Traders who had lost their stalls were accommodated in other parts of the city. The site was cleared, and by July 1976, a new hall had been built, and was ready for the traders to move in. A second hall opened in 1981.
Click images to enlarge
The Clean Food Window
The Clean Food Window
Area of fire damage, 1975
Area of fire damage, 1975
After the fire
After the fire
After the fire
After the fire
Damaged area with temporary scaffolding
Damaged area with temporary scaffolding
Business as usual
Business as usual
Report from the Yorkshire Post
Report from the Yorkshire Post




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