Five things: Leeds Kirkgate Market

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Think you know Kirkgate Market? Think again.

1. Europe’s largest covered market, Kirkgate has 800 stalls and attracts 100,000 shoppers each week. It was originally sited in Briggate and construction started at Kirkgate in 1857.

2. The first site included nine slaughterhouses and 18 homes within the market. The balcony area was used for the sale of ‘fancy goods’. Fish Row opened in 1894 and the meat market in 1899.

3. Kirkgate was the location of the first ever Marks & Spencers store – then a penny bazaar. The founders moved to Cross Arcade in 1904 and the Market Hall clock commemorates them.

4. The ornate new market hall was completed in 1904 as part of a grand scheme to improve Leeds’s image after it was granted city status. It exceeded the budget by more than £30,000.

5. The markets survived wartime bombing but a huge fire in 1975 caused £7m worth of damage and destroyed many of the modern halls. The 1904 hall escaped destruction.

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