Leeds nostalgia: The story of Duncan Street

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This week’s blended picture shows Duncan Street in Leeds, the two dates being more than a century apart.

The short street links Briggate and Boar Lane, two of the main thoroughfares of the city and adjoins New Market Street. However, it didn’t always have that name. It was originally known as Fleet Street but this was changed following the Napoleonic Wars, when Admiral Adam Duncan achieved a memorable victory over the Ductch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown (1797).

Duncan first became a baron but later a viscount. Fleet Street was renamed in his honour.

Additionally, between 1824 and 1827, the central market opened here and the well known school outfitted Rawcliffes was based here for many years. And, of course, there is the eponymous Duncan pub, a well patronised city drinking hole and one of the handful of pubs in Leeds to retain its traditional layout.

Incidentally, it wasn’t the only pub in Leeds with that name. There was another, which today is known as the Northern Monkey and which was formerly called Oxygen and before that The Guildford, then The Green Dragon and before that The Duncan.

It stands on The Headrow and was one of the last two pubs in Leeds to be ‘men only’ right up to the introduction of the sex discrimination laws in the 1970s - the other pub being The Whip, which had to have female toilets specially installed to comply with that legislation.

While that pub seemed to be somewhat dragging its feet in terms of sexual equality, it led from the front when it came to other social changes, being the first in Leeds to adopt a ban on smoking.

If you have an old picture of Leeds which you would like us to feature in this column, please feel free to contact us at the usual address.

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