The Seven Lost Wonders of Leeds PHOTO GALLERY

Leeds is home to some remarkable buildings but over the years many of the most impressive have been demolished.

Neil Hudson looks at seven lost wonders of the city.

If they were around today, they would be considered architectural gems. Doubtless, most would have found a use, being converted to flats or swanky shopping malls with that ever so soothing sense of history leeching into the present.

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Historical buildings have presence, they carry the weight of centuries and remind us just how deep our roots reach.

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Strange tales hide in their ornately-carved cornices and carved stone cloisters, while their very fabric excites our imagination and sense of wonder.

These are buildings whose primary concern was something other than monetary cost, buildings whose function often confounds but at the same time inspires us.

Countless buildings of this kind have been torn down, in some cases without so much as a second thought. Leeds has so many examples of lost architectural treasures, it has been difficult to choose just seven.

Dr Kevin Grady, director of Leeds Civic Trust, said: "These buildings were important landmarks and part of the character of the city.

"There was St Mary's Church at Quarry Hill, a so-called 'Million Act'

church, which was built with money from the Government directly after the Napoleonic War. The Government feared there might be a revolt and one of the ways of controlling the population was to get them into church.

"Had some of these buildings lasted another 10 years or so then they may have survived into the present."

St Mary's Church, Quarry Hill (1823-1979)

St Mary's was a so-called 'Waterloo church', one of three in Leeds – the others being Christ Church, Meadow Lane (now demolished) and St Mark's, Woodhouse – built with 1m voted by Parliament in 1818 to stem the growth of dissent following the Napoleonic Wars. It was a sister church to Leeds Parish Church.

St Mary's was built from 1823-25 to the design of local architect Thomas Taylor. It was a massive Gothic hall church with aisles as high as the nave.

It had a commanding view over the city and was a landmark building in its time. Many victims of the cholera outbreak of 1844 were buried in its churchyard.

In March 1975, the church was made redundant because of a lack of use and by 1978, its fate seemed to worsen with the demolition of nearby Quarry Flats. A campaign was mounted to save the church, led by the Save Britain's Heritage group and the Leeds Victorian Society, which argued the church could be turned into a sports facility.

However, it was not to be and the impressive structure was torn down in 1979 and in September 1983, the 1.2 acre site bought by Leeds City Council for the nominal sum of 1.

St James's Church, New York Street, near Kirkgate Market (1801-1951)

St James's was unusual in that it was an octagonal church. It was built as a nonconformist chapel for the Lady Huntington Society in about 1750 but only consecrated as a church in 1801 after being bought by the Rev John King.

It was so close to Leeds Parish Church it had no parish boundary, meaning it was informally known as the 'church without a parish'.

As such it operated as a 'chapel-of-ease' within the Leeds Parish Church boundary, meaning it made attending worship more convenient for people living further away.

The first wedding took place on October 1, 1932, between a Miss Annie Sykes, of Glencoe Street, Leeds and a Mr Leonard Atkinson, of York Road, Leeds. Prior to this it was not possible to solemnise marriages in a church without a parish but changes to the Marriage Act overcame this.

Church commissioners from the Ripon Diocese selected St James's for closure because of falling attendance. Like many churches selected for closure, it quickly fell into disrepair and was a target for vandals.

In November 1951, when it was eventually pulled down, 72 bodies were removed from 52 vaults under the main floor, they were re-interred at Adel Church.

Brunswick Methodist Chapel, Wade Lane, near the Merrion Centre (1825-1976)

When it was built, it was the largest Methodist chapel in existence but by 1953 there were 112 churches serving a population of 500,000 and its future was called into question, not least because of the nearby and more visually pleasing Oxford Place Methodist Chapel.

When the church organ was installed in 1827, it was described as 'the organ which cost 1,000 and 1,000 members', because it divided the congregation. Such was the division that members "left by the hundred" in protest, believing the introduction of an organ was somehow profane and that it diluted the meaning of church services.

In 1956, the church began screening films once a month after the evening service on Sunday. By the late 1970s, like many other churches, it was struggling financially and devoid of a congregation.

In 1980 planning permission was granted to the Mountleigh Group for a multi-storey office block to replace the church. Then, in 1982, there was talk of the derelict church becoming a mosque and in December 1983, thoroughly vandalised, it was being used by dossers and drunks. Today the site is occupied by an office block. It is not known what happened to the organ.

The Old Bear Pit, Cardigan Road, Headingley (1840-present)

Part of this amazing complex still exists. Many people will have passed the castellated frontage on Cardigan Road, Headingley but few perhaps realise that in its heyday it was a zoo, called Leeds Zoological and Botanical Society.

Opened on July 4, 1840, it was home to swans, eagle hawks, owls, monkeys, raccoons and other animals. There were also botanical gardens, a lake and a bear pit, with a bear which was made to climb a pole time and time again, whilst being pelted with buns by the public.

The zoo was not a financial success and courted controversy after keepers regularly put live rooks into the birds of prey cage, only for them to be killed cruelly and torn apart as the public looked on.

The site was bought in 1848 by entrepreneur Thomas Clapham, who made it a success but sold the land for development in 1858.

Leeds Civic Trust bought the sole remaining feature, the Bear Pit in 1966 and part of the wall, which was described by one newspaper as "a whimsical Victorian feature in the style of a castle" and which still stands today.

Leeds Stock Exchange, Albion Place, Leeds Centre (1844-1971)

Originally a branch of the Bank of England on Albion Place, it was sold to the Bank of Leeds in 1865 and in 1874, a portion to the rear was sold to the Yorkshire Conservative Newspaper Company (which became your modern day Yorkshire Evening Post).

The Stock Exchange moved into a new building directly opposite in 1875, with 50 firms offering investment opportunities in local and national companies, trading from 10am-3.30pm.

In 1878, the Bank of Leeds went into liquidation and shortly after this was acquired by Ford and Warren, the solicitors who founded Leeds Stock Exchange.

A labyrinth of cellars and vaults lay under ground, containing cabinets full of wills and deeds. In the 1870s, the ground floor was a-rush with traders buying and selling stock but by the 1960s, the Georgian faade had been partially desecrated, the ground floor given over to shops and only the upper floors retained their financial use.

In 1964, some 300,000 people were said to hold investments with Leeds Stock Exchange. In 1973, it became part of the London Stock Exchange. It finally closed in 1990 after the London Stock Exchange carried out a cost review. Talks of reviving the stock exchange abound to this day, although the building is no more and is on the site now occupied by Austin Reed.

Moot Hall, Commercial Street, Leeds Centre (17th Century-1825)

The Moot Hall was built at the beginning of the 17th century as a meeting place for the justices of the town. It was also used to administer relief to the poor, flog vagabonds and determine the paternity of illegitimate children.

It was situated on the upper part of Briggate and its front was adorned with a statue of Queen Anne.

It was part of a block of buildings known as Middle Row, with a roadway on each side so narrow that it was dangerous for two carriages to pass one another. A replacement building was erected in 1710.

Scandal dogged the building from the outset, after it was revealed the town bailiff had misappropriated funds meant to be given to the poor – he was duly dealt with.

Outside the front of the building were the pillory and stocks and in 1664 the heads of three of the Farnley Wood plotters – Robert Atkins, John Errington and Henry Wilson – were stuck on poles there, where they remained for 13 years before being dislodged by a gust of wind.

The building, which was at the spot where Commercial Street crosses Kirkgate today, was long considered a hindrance to traffic and in 1822, the decision was made to demolish it.

The bell from the hall, cast in 1758, was discovered at the home of collector John Stansfield in Lyddon Terrace, Leeds in 1932 and inspected by members of the city's museums committee.

Horsforth Hall, Horsforth (1699-1950s)

Originally the home of the Stanhope family, Horsforth Hall was built in 1699. It was a grandiose house and as such was meant to be a statement of wealth. The Stanhopes were one of five families bought up in Horsforth after the dissolution of Kirkstall Abbey in the mid-16th century. Their original home was Low Hall on Calverley Lane, built in 1575, which is still there.

The Stanhopes became the leading family in Horsforth by the end of the 17th century were among the most powerful in the area.

The Hall remained in their family until about 1833, when it was taken over by a Rev Rhodes; in 1851 a Mr Marshall owned it and by 1912 it had passed to a Lady Duncan.

It was given over to Horsforth Town Council in 1932 and the story goes that the building became overrun with dry rot, so much so that on one occasion, a secretary, having just dealt with a rather terse caller, slammed the telephone receiver down, only to have the floor beneath her give way and her, the telephone and the desk it sat on crashed through rotting boards to the room below.

It was subsequently pulled down in the early 1950s by Horsforth Town Council. The loss of the building is thought to have prompted the formation of Horsforth Civic Society. Today, all that remain are its grounds.