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Development

Seventeenth Century:
Briggate is the centre of trade in Leeds, just as Maurice Paynel had intended it should be. Merchants live in the houses lining the street, which is now, with the building of the first Moot Hall, the centre of judicial and council administration. It is still the site of the market, which grows in importance as the town itself grows. The civil war comes close to Briggate, but the street survives.





Eighteenth Century:
Briggate is strengthened as the centre of administration when a new Moot Hall is built. Trade increases, as does the power of the merchants. The cloth market has moved from the bridge to Lower Briggate, but is eventually moved to the cloth halls. Briggate becomes a transport centre. The Industrial Revolution brings more people to Leeds, and this has an impact on the streets of the town including Briggate.






Nineteenth Century:
Judicial and municipal administration move away from Briggate. So does the market, which has by this time outgrown the street. Briggate becomes a shopping centre for the new middle class of Leeds. New shops, arcades and theatres are built. Many of the crowded yards and courts remain.






Twentieth Century:
Development continues, but in the 1930s the Headrow becomes the new main street of Leeds, and parts of Briggate fall into disrepair and decline. Any development that does occur often results in the demolition of historic buildings, and much of old Briggate is lost. The end of the century sees a different approach, and the arcades are refurbished, and new shops opened, returning Briggate to its former glory.
Click images to enlarge
John Harrison, who lived on Briggate
John Harrison, who lived on Briggate
Statue of Queen Anne on the Moot Hall
Statue of Queen Anne on the Moot Hall
County Arcade
County Arcade
Briggate, 1999
Briggate, 1999




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