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Water Hall, Water Lane

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Leeds Library & Information Services
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T LIE Water
Water Hall, Water Lane
Undated. View looks from Water Lane onto Water Hall. This building had once been a single property later divided into separate dwellings and business premises. According to a Leeds Mercury report of 1899 the house had been owned by the Quaker family, Kay. James Kay built Water Hall Mills which was said at that time to be the oldest mill property in Leeds. He also had a shop in Lowerhead Row selling flax and line. Water Hall itself was described as a very old gentleman's residence, marked on an old corporation map of 1781. The late son of James Kay, Joshua Kay, (listed in the 1851 Leeds Directory) who resided at Water Hall was mentioned in the Leeds Mercury in 1891 in an article about the Quaker burial ground between Water Lane and Great Wilson Street. He was remembered fondly as Jossy Kay, a "kind, corpulent, honest old bachelor who was so indiscreetly and indescriminately charitable that his house was beset with beggars of every description who knew his weakness and dogged his footsteps at every turn". This photograph, taken by Alf Mattison and dating from the early 1900s, shows the premises of Arthur Shevill, blue and grey slater and cab proprietor, Dr James Ewing, physician and William Cail, oil importer. The photographer Alfred Mattison was born in Hunslet in 1868. His passion for local history led to lecturing, photography and writing. In 1908 he wrote "The Romance of Old Leeds" based on his articles and photos for the Yorkshire Daily Observer. He died following a street accident in Leeds in Sept 1944. On 17th February 1923 Water Hall was reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post as being connected to 'a house of entertainment' called Pasture Spring, a kind of tea garden.

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