Historic Leeds pub up for sale

THE blue plaque on the front of the peeling outside wall is the only clue to the building's historic importance.

On it is a brief biography of Samuel Ledgard, who served behind the bar of the Nelson Inn (then the Nelson Hotel) from the late 1890s.

It was from this humble beginning that Mr Ledgard built his transport empire and created the Ledgard bus company.

Now the pub in Armley Road, Armley, Leeds has closed its black outer doors and the For Sale signs have gone up above its battered cream entrance, prompting fears that it will join the long list of Leeds public houses to go to the wall.

Barry Rennison is the chairman of the Samuel Ledgard Society, set up in 1998 and now with more than 300 members including many ex-Ledgard staff.

Mr Rennison, who is general manager of Independent Coachways in Horsforth, said: "Samuel Ledgard spent 55 years as a publican there.

"We still have meetings of our society at the pub and have had a tour of the living quarters upstairs, which were pretty frugal for a man of his eventual means.

"The pub was a stepping-stone for his other businesses leading to the coach and bus company.

"I hope it does continue. It's all that's left of the Ledgard empire. The old Otley bus depot is now a KwikFit."

The 63-year-old, who once worked as a bus conductor for Ledgards, added: "We paid half towards the blue plaque and the Ledgard family paid the other half.

"We'd want the plaque back if they're going to knock it down!"

As well as buses the twice-married Mr Ledgard, who had 11 children, ran a haulage business, marquee rental, a quarry and farming interests all while based at the Nelson.

Estate agents Christie & Co are handling the sale.

Christine Cody-Owen, from the Greek Street branch in Leeds, said: "We are selling it as a freehold and as a going concern.

"The guide price is 225,000 but open to offers. If somebody is prepared to run it as a pub that's great. That is its history after all."

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