Historic building in Leeds city centre set for £110,000 facelift

The Kirkgate area of Leeds city centre.
The Kirkgate area of Leeds city centre.
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A project to preserve one of the oldest parts of Leeds city centre is now underway thanks to a £110,000 grant.

The major funding package from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Leeds City Council will be used to repair 92 Kirkgate as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), with work set to begin on site soon.

Work on 92 Kirkgate will include repointing, re-roofing, installing sash windows and reinstating a traditional shop front.

The specialist work aims to be in keeping with the nature of the building and the area.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “This part of Leeds is steeped in history but has been neglected for far too long and we need to act now to invest in the area and ensure it is not lost.

“By making this investment, we will not only be protecting the history of the area but bringing these buildings back into use and in turn stimulating business and economic growth and thereby recouping our investment in the long term.

“Lower Kirkgate is a key part of our city’s heritage and I am confident this will help restore this area to its former glory.”

The Kirkgate area was originally a centre for the cloth industry, with the First White Cloth Hall being the first covered trading hall in Leeds.

It is believed 92 Kirkgate was a cloth merchant’s house, which went on to be used by sign painter Joseph Lucas in 1829 and grocer Francis Thornton in 1834.

The building is the first of a number in the area which will be transformed and brought back into use, with grants being pursed for further major improvement projects.

Survey works have recently finished on the First White Cloth Hall and specialist conservation architects are considering how the building could be restored in future.

If a viable scheme is identified it is hoped that repair and rebuilding could start in 2017.

The THI also aims to protect and restore other buildings in the lower Kirkgate area and in total £1.05m has been awarded to the project from the HLF, which will be matched with £668,000 public funding.

Along with £894,000 of potential private funding, this could bring the total investment to £2.6m.