Heritage photos of historic Leeds club destroyed in devastating fire

The fire damaged clubhouse at Potternewton Park Bowling Club.
The fire damaged clubhouse at Potternewton Park Bowling Club.

Precious memories and sporting mementos have gone up in smoke after a fire gutted a historic Leeds clubhouse.

People involved with Potternewton Park Bowling Club have voiced their sadness at a blaze that claimed the building as well as photographs and memorabilia stretching back through its 100-year history.

Gerri Kostrzewa took this picture of the fire at Potternewton Park Bowling Club.

Gerri Kostrzewa took this picture of the fire at Potternewton Park Bowling Club.

The Leeds City Council-owned timber-framed building was destroyed in a fire that officers from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) were called to on Saturday night.

Firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the incident due to the extent of the damage to the clubhouse, but WYFRS has said it could not rule out that the blaze was started deliberately.

Susan Richards, who has been chair of the club for 30 years, said the building had been due to be replaced by the council in the coming months.

“I couldn’t believe it – there were so many memories there,” she explained. “It’s the end of an era for us after all these years.

“There were photos from the beginning of the club and they have all gone up in flames and we have no copies of them.”

Mrs Richards said that the club is now desperately seeking support from the council as it attempts to put on its final summer fixtures before its busy winter season begins.

It is hoped a series of portable toilets can be brought on site and the area cleaned up so that play can resume as normal.

“They (Leeds City Council) were going to put a container there instead, it was ready for coming down but someone’s done the job for them,” Mrs Richards added. “It will be a real shame for people to see.”

She reiterated that the fire will have no impact on the future of the club. It is appealing for new members and planning for the months ahead.

Firefighters were called to the scene to find that the clubhouse was ablaze on Saturday at around 7.40pm. Nobody was hurt in the incident, which WYFRS recorded as involving 100 per cent of the two-storey building.

Fire crews from Leeds and Killingbeck attended the blaze, with the last engine leaving the scene after 10.30pm. A fire investigator has surveyed the site.

A council spokeswoman said that officers had been along to the park on Monday to assess the damage and would be liaising with club members.

To get involved with the Potternewton Park Bowling Club or to become a member call 0113 2694240.

Graham Pearce of KPMG

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