7 surprising things about Leeds you might not know
Fancy yourself as a historian?
Here are seven facts about Leeds you might not know:
1. Hippos once roamed our streets
Its strange to think hippos were once wandering around Leeds, but a discovery in 1851 found the bones of three hippopotami, thought to be over 130,000 years old.''Now displayed in Leeds City Museum, it is thought they roamed close to Armley Gyratory, one of the busiest road intersections today SWNS
2. We once had a zoo where you could feed bananas to bears (and still have the bear pit to prove it)
Anyone whos driven down Cardigan Road will be familiar with the sight of a peculiar castle-like structure. However, the now listed building was once home to a bear pit as part of Leeds Zoological and Botanical Garden.''Opened in 1840, the gardens held a number of specimens brought back from far off places in the fast-expanding British Empire. Housing monkeys, eagles and swans, the Victorians were fascinated by the new creatures, but the bears were the main attraction - especially as visitors were able to feed them bananas if they climbed to the top of the pit!''Despite closing in 1848, the remains of the Victorian bear pit are still visible to passersby today.
3. The Light is named after a now-discontinued newspaper
Although its often seen as one of Leeds newer destinations, The Light is actually made from not one but two listed buildings: Permanent House and The Headrow Buildings. And before its 100m redevelopment, The Light was formerly home to the headquarters of Leeds Permanent Building Society, with Browns Restaurant now occupying the former banking hall.''Despite re-opening as a retail and leisure centre in 2001, The Light keeps some of its original features to this day, including its name inspired by a newspaper published for staff.
This unusual structure in Holbeck may appear to stem from Ancient Egypt with its out-of-place design, but it was actually built by engineer James Combe in 1836.''The Grade I listed building was once a flax mill, built with a surprising feature: sheep. As the mill needed to retain humidity to prevent the linen thread drying out, grass was grown to cover the roof.''To prevent the grass from becoming overgrown, it was maintained by a herd of grazing sheep. However, as the sheep could not use the stairs, the first hydraulic lift was created to move them onto the mill roof.