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Headrow, Permanent House

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Headrow, Permanent House
1st April 1931. Head Office of Leeds Permanent Building Society, opened 15th May 1930. Arched entrance was to Cross Fountain Street. The Society was founded in 1846. By the time of its 10th birthday, the Society had 3,500 members and was proudly proclaiming itself to be the largest building society in the world. In 1876, the Society was housed on the corner of Park Lane and Calverley where it remained for the next 50 years. A further move took place in 1930, this time to purpose-built premises at The Headrow, on the corner of Guildford and Cookridge Streets. The Leeds Intelligencer reported on 25th September 1847 that the Society's manager and in-house solicitor was William Middleton Esq. of Gledhow Grange Estate. Later, the firm Middleton & Sons would include William's sons; solicitors John, Leonard and Arthur Middleton. John's sons, Richard Noel Middleton and Gilbert Middleton were also solicitors as was Arthur's son, Henry Dubs Middleton. As Chairman of the Leeds General Infirmary, Henry had played host to Princess Mary when she visited the Leeds General Infirmary in 1932. Henry and his son, Ralph, also a solicitor, and his first cousin, R. Noel Middleton, were long-time members of the Yorkshire Ramblers Club, as was Gilbert Middleton and his solicitor son, Alan. Keen golfers, Mr and Mrs Henry D. Middleton (d.1964) - the daughter of Sir Henry Hanson Berney, 9th Baronet - were members of the Alwoodley Golf Club, as were their sons Ralph and Cecil, a champion golfer. The Alwoodley Park Estate was originally conceived as a co-operative for members of the Alwoodley Golf Club; Leeds solicitor, J.H. Milner, had purchased the King Lane Farm Estate from the Lane Fox family in 1918, forming the Alwoodley Park Estate Association. Ralph Middleton was Hon Sec. of the Alwoodley Golf Club. Ralph's brother, Cecil, and his cousin, Peter Middleton - son of Richard Noel - were up at Oxford University in the 1930s. Ralph and Cecil Middleton were the great great great grandsons of George Nevill, 1st Earl of Abergavenny, himself the godson of King George II. Peter Middleton`s family lived on the Alwoodley Garden/Park Estate (King Lane) as did Ralph whose family lived at The Bield (The Fairway). The Headrow premises housed Middleton Solicitors until 1985 when the firm was absorbed into Booth & Co (itself later absorbed by Addleshaws). The property, designed by Sir Reginald Bloomfield, has since been renovated (2001) and is now The Light, a retail and leisure centre. Edited 3/5/16

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