Leeds nostalgia: Can you solve riddle over date of one of city’s oldest (now demolished) buildings?

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This week we feature two old pictures of Leeds sent in by reader Robert Holman, from Farsley.

They were taken on Briggate circa 1952 and show a bustling city, thronging with shoppers and others going about their business.

A sign indicates the entrance to Ye Olde Pack Horse pub, one of the many ‘alley pubs’ in this part of the city, while the main image also shows Wm Timpson’s. Perhaps of more interest, however, is the date on the building, which is just visible toward the top of the picture, and indicates a date of either 1513 or 1515, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in Leeds.

This seems to be in dispute with some existing accounts of the now long demolished building, because several date the building to 1613.

Leodis, for example, has it that it was “built in 1613 by Richard Sykes, who became an Alderman of Leeds in 1629.”

It goes on: “The building was occupied here by F. Wallis, hosier and glover; the words ‘Ye Olde Stone Shoppe’ and a panel above this says ‘RS1613’. It was taken over by Timpsons Shoes in 1919 and demolished by them in 1955 to make way for a new shop.”

Sykes was one of the richest men in Leeds (and responsible for ‘buying’ the Manor of Leeds from the London Corporation in 1629 but he died in 1649. If so, then how could he have built the shop in 1513? His father was also Richard, a clothier - could it have been built by him?

Mr Holman said: “I worked for Timpson’s for over 20 years. It was an excellent family business, known for its quality, value and welfare of their staff.

The second picture, taken some years later, shows the new shop from the opposite side of the road, again with the entrance to Ye Olde Pack Horse visible on the left hand side of the frame.

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