How this gravel barge turned Leeds student pub divided opinion

It was the converted gravel barge turned student pub which divided opinion.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 6:00 am
The barge in dry dock near the Leeds Metropolitan University. PIC: Mel Hulme
The barge in dry dock near the Leeds Metropolitan University. PIC: Mel Hulme

These two photos rewind to August 1993 and show the old gravel barge Lambda on Woodhouse Lane when it was converted into the Dry Dock public house.

This new kid on the block prompted debate among YEP readers at the time.

Letters to the editor included this one from Graham Auty of Cookridge.

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PIC: Mel Hulme

"Is Leeds City Council determined to turn the centre of the city into a complete eyesore? First we suffer the abomination of the so-called Landmark Leeds, creating a veritable obstacle course through the busiest streets in the precinct, complete with the brilliantly conceived death trap in Trinity Street, where an unguarded three foot drop, awaits its first victim.

"Next, the council allows street traders to set up stalls to block pavements, turns a blind eye peddlers of counterfeit goods and beggars, and a deaf ear to the sub-standard music pumped out by buskers.

"Now to rub salt in the wounds, half and pavements and roads in the city are being dug up so that we can have pretty red kerbstones.

"To cap it all, a new eyesore has been planted on a former green field right alongside the existing eyesore of the Woodhouse Lane multi-storey car park, presumably to keep it company. I refer of course to the rustling hulk of a barge that will form part of a new 'theme' restaurant, The Dry Dock.

The Dry Dock in January 1994.

"Perhaps the council should take heed of its own motto, emblazoned on refuse wagons, and 'Keep the Streets Neat.'"

Fast forward to 2018 and The Dry Dock was featured in a YEP round up of underrated bars and pubs.

"Its position near the universities means it’s a little out of the way from the main stretch of pubs and bars, but this docked boat certainly catches the eye if you happen to be in the area," read the review. "While it’s often dismissed as a student pub, Dry Dock has plenty of appeal for everyone, thanks to its delicious food menu and diverse variety of drinks - all at very reasonable prices."

DO YOU REMEMBER THE DRY DOCK WHEN IT FIRST OPENED IN LEEDS? Share your memories with [email protected] or tweet him - @AndyHutchYPNREAD MORE: 29 Leeds pubs we have loved and lost .


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Laura Collins