Leeds nostalgia: Nuanced changes on Leeds thoroughfare

Leeds, Headrow, 24th June 1975

Looking towards Leeds Town Hall
Leeds, Headrow, 24th June 1975 Looking towards Leeds Town Hall
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TWO PHOTOS. Two entirely similar, yet entirely different scenes. At first the view of The Headrow, Leeds, appears not to have changed much at all.

When you focus in on the images however, acknowledging the nuances, the differences between the two become evident.

29 July 2016 .......   TARDIS
Headrow Leeds.   Picture Tony Johnson

29 July 2016 ....... TARDIS Headrow Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson

Each image shows The Headrow decades apart. In the original, possibly taken during the 1970s, it’s curious to think that the Soviet Union still existed.

The flower beds and zebra crossings were soon stripped away after this photo was taken, making room for the higher levels of traffic running through the city, as seen in the more recent photograph.

A narrow street originally known as the Upper and Lower Headrow, the road is where the new John Lewis will soon open.

What these two images do not show is the transformation that took place almost 90 years prior.

The buildings on the north side of the street were quickly disassembled, enabling the width of the road to be doubled

In the 1840s, people spoke of a need for a grand thoroughfare from east to west of Leeds.

By 1924, the council decided to embark on such a scheme. The buildings on the north side of the street were quickly disassembled, enabling the width of the road to be doubled.

Thus, the road once known as the Upper and Lower Headrow became Headrows, with the ‘s’ disappearing over the next few years.

The next century saw various construction projects.

In 1937 the Headrow Garden was opened to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.

Much later, three major retail developments were built, including the St John’s Centre in 1985, the Headrow Centre in 1990, later refurbished and renamed the Core, and The Light, which opened in 2001.

So many changes on one of Leeds’ most used streets.

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