Four Leeds landmarks that are no longer with us – and one that never was

Leeds International Pool.
Leeds International Pool.
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Some Leeds landmarks are loved, others are most definitely loathed.

But however they fare in the popularity stakes, they all form part of the proud history of their city.

Drinkers at the old Fforde Grene pub.

Drinkers at the old Fforde Grene pub.

Here are a few parts of the Leeds landscape that have been consigned to the history books and will no doubt stir more than a few memories.

An imposing sight on the city skyline, the floodlights that once rose above Leeds United’s Elland Road ground were famously the tallest in Europe.

Three of them went up in 1973 while the fourth, at the stadium’s south east corner, was added in 1978.

For years they were as much a part of the Elland Road night game experience as a packed bus from town or a half-time cup of Bovril.

Construction of the old YEP building on Wellington Street.

Construction of the old YEP building on Wellington Street.

They also secured an unlikely place in music folklore when an ‘exuberant’ fan decided to climb one of the towers during Happy Mondays’ gig at the ground in 1991.

Sadly the floodlights were taken down in the 1990s and, for some supporters, evening matches have never quite been the same since.

The Leeds International Pool dated back to the 1960s and was regarded as one of Leeds’s least attractive buildings.

Designed by Pontefract architect John Poulson – later jailed for corruption – the pool was famously too narrow for eight-lane Olympic standards.

It closed in October 2007, with the bulldozers moving in two years later.

Plans for a 24-storey residential tower called The Spiracle’ on the site fell victim to the credit crunch.

The Fforde Grene pub in Harehills was built in 1938 and for many years was one of Leeds’s main music venues, playing host to early gigs by big names such as The Sex Pistols and U2.

By the early years of the 21st century its reputation had nosedived as it became a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

It remained, however, a reassuringly familiar presence at the busy junction of Roundhay Road, Easterly Road and Harehills Lane.

The Fforde Grene closed for good following a drugs raid in 2004 and three years later came the announcement that it was being turned into a supermarket.

The old Yorkshire Evening Post building on Wellington Street was never easy on the eye but that didn’t stop it being at the very heart of Leeds for more than 40 years.

Opened by Prince Charles in 1970, it was designed by John Madin – also the architect of the BBC’s Pebble Mill complex.

The site housed more than 1,300 staff while the presses in the main print hall stood around three storeys tall.

The building was demolished in 2014, with the YEP moving to its present multi-media home on Whitehall Road.

Finally, here’s the one that got away.

Anthony Gormley, the man who designed the Angel of the North, came up with an idea for a giant Brick Man sculpture for Leeds in the 1980s.

He wanted the proposed 120ft-high sculpture to occupy a high-profile gateway site near Leeds City Station.

In the event, however, the council refused to grant it planning permission following a campaign of opposition led, in part, by the YEP.

The only thing that did get made in the end was a 6ft model of the Brick Man, which has been on show at Leeds Art Gallery.

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