Blue plaque for historic Leeds property

HONOUR: Ruth Sterne and Coun Mohammed Rafique at 21 Leopold Street.
HONOUR: Ruth Sterne and Coun Mohammed Rafique at 21 Leopold Street.
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A historic blue plaque has been placed on an old house converted into flats which used to be a Jewish synagogue and also the first ever mosque in Leeds.

The building at 21 Leopold Street, Chapeltown, accurately reflects the ‘ever-changing’ face of inner-city Leeds, say civic trust experts.

It is being called The House of Faith, due to its multi-faith history. Now it becomes an official landmark of Leeds.

Built soon after 1860 for residents of the affluent middle class suburb, in 1924 it became a Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. From 1952 to 1960 it was the Sinai Reform Synagogue.

Then from 1961 to 1974, as the Jinnah Mosque, it was the first mosque in Leeds.

Now it is owned by Unity Housing Association – which is sponsoring the plaque – and has become apartments.

Lynda Kitching, chairman of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “Chapeltown has such a fascinating history.

“We are pleased that the passage of time now means the contribution of the city’s succeeding generations of immigrants can be celebrated on our plaques.”

Councillor Jane Dowson is chairman of the Chapeltown Heritage Group which fights to protect the area’s character and most important buildings.

She said: “The Blue Plaque commemoration of the House of Faith building is a recognition of how the community here in Chapeltown, and across the city of Leeds, have lived in harmony and understanding over many years. This historic building and its varied use is an appropriate reflection of the rich tapestry of life, the ebbs and flows of the local community, and the rich diversity of its users.

“The plaque will ensure that the history and traditions of this house in Leopold Street are forever remembered and placed on the map as an official civic landmark of Leeds.”

Leopold Street has historic links with the Jewish Connections when Jewish immigrants arrived in the later part of the 19th century.

According to the 1951 Census, there were 145 Pakistanis living in Leeds. When the Jinnah Mosque opened in June 1961, its trustees came from both west and east Pakistan.