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Swinegate Depot, Headquarters of Leeds City Tramways


Subject ID:
2011127_173011
Location:
City Centre
Subject Year:
Copyright:
Leeds Library & Information Services
Class number:
LQ 388 L517/117
Swinegate Depot, Headquarters of Leeds City Tramways
Description:
1916-1917. View of the Swinegate Depot, Headquarters of Leeds City Tramways taken during the First World War. The building dates from around the turn of the century. In July 1914 a new car shed was erected here to cope with the extension of the tramway system and the large additions to the fleet. However, the Swinegate depot was soon recquisitioned by the War Department for use as a recruiting office. Later in the war it was taken over again, this time to use as a clothing store. In May 1961, after three weeks culminating in an "amazing transformation" the depot re-opened as a new exhibition hall known as the Queens Hall. It was said to be the biggest exhibition space outside London. The refurbishment cost £40,000 and the hall acquired 100,000 square feet of floor space. The Queens Hall was leased from Leeds Corporation by a company called Modern Exhibition Services Ltd. A spokesman for the company, Mr. Trevor Davey, estimated that the space could accommodate a seated audience of 6,000 and, at a pinch, 10,000. The very first event to be held there was the Yorkshire Ideal Homes & Food Exhibition (5th to the 20th May, 1961), sponsored by the Yorkshire Post. (Evening Post report of 19th April, 1961). Over the years the Queens Hall had been a venue for popular music. The Beatles played there in 1963, although on that particular night it was Acker Bilk who topped the bill. 2,500 tickets had been sold up to the morning of the concert so the council stepped in with an extended late night bus service for the fans. Other bands across the years included The Rolling Stones, who played there on the 13th July, 1964, The Clash, The Faces, Roxy Music and Joy Division. As far back as the 1980s there was talk of an arena for Leeds and by that time the Queens Hall was in need of extensive modernisation to bring it up to an acceptable standard. It was decided to demolish it and demolition took place in 1989.

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