Closure for historic Leeds pub with proud role in story of Tetley’s

The Fleece in Farsley.
The Fleece in Farsley.
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A Leeds pub with an historic claim to licensed trade fame has shut unexpectedly.

The Fleece, on Town Street in Farsley, was one of the first pubs bought by Tetley’s as the Hunslet-based brewery expanded its operations in the final years of the 19th century.

Now, though, its doors have closed – but drinkers with an interest in the city’s brewing heritage shouldn’t start drowning their sorrows just yet.

A spokesman for the Spirit Leased division of Spirit Pub Company, which today owns The Fleece, said: “The pub has closed temporarily while maintenance checks are carried out on the property.

“We have parties interested in the lease and expect to reopen shortly. In the meantime we apologise to guests for any inconvenience this temporary closure may cause.”

The Fleece was acquired by Tetley’s in 1890 along with another pub, The Duke William.

Based in the brewery’s yard in Hunslet, The Duke William closed in 1953 and was then used for storage until its demolition in 2002.

Its demise left The Fleece as the oldest licensed pub in the world with connections to Tetley’s.

That special status is still marked by a blue plaque on the building’s front wall.

Its inscription says: “This plaque was erected to commemorate the fact that the Fleece, Farsley, is the oldest original licensed Joshua Tetley public house.

“The pub was purchased by the company on 11 November 1890 for the sum of £2,206-15s-5d.”

Founded in Leeds in 1822, Tetley’s became part of the Carlsberg drinks empire in the 1990s.

The Danish firm last year controversially ended production of Tetley’s beer at Hunslet, with work being shifted instead to plants in Tadcaster, Hartlepool and Wolverhampton.

* The Fleece was a regular haunt for the cast of ITV soap Emmerdale during the period when the show was filmed in an old mill complex in Farsley.

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