Yorkshire Diary: Leeds's own Chapel of Love

A former Methodist chapel first opened in the 1850s and which went on to become one of the area's best known dance schools, has been given a new lease of life... as a curry house.

Porritt's Ballroom in Farsley, between Bramley and Pudsey, was once the centre of activity on Saturday evenings and drew people from miles around. Some even found romance on its dance floor.

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Many couples learned to dance in the former chapel, which was also used

to stage large banquets and other events.

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Now the search is on to uncover more of its past.

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New owner, businessman and entrepreneur Zulfi Hussain, 48, said the building had a rich history which he was keen to preserve.

Memories

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He is appealing to Yorkshire Diary readers to get in touch with their memories and pictures so that he can create a mosaic of memories in the new restaurant, which is called Deeva.

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Mr Hussain said: "It was a former dance hall and a very famous one too. I love the building because it's so iconic. It had been out of use for more than ten years, we have restored it to its former glory."

It is understood that the building on Town Street was built in the 1850s as a Methodist chapel. By the 1970s, it was known as Porritt's Dance School and was run by a Mrs Porritt. Later still, the building was home to Stork's nightclub.

However, for at least the last decade the building has been derelict.

Mr Hussain, a former BT systems engineer who now runs several companies, said: "Prior to us taking it over, the building had been derelict for many years.

"I live locally and am a great believer in contributing to the local economy, plus I have never owned a restaurant before. It is such a beautiful building. We tried to preserve as much of the building as possible, especially the wooden dance floor but sadly it was ruined when the ceiling collapsed."

Mr Hussain said he was keen to hear from people who remembered how the building was and to hear their memories.

He added: "I would like people to send in pictures and stories, whatever they remember of how the building used to be.

"I have already heard several stories, including some from couples who met here when it was a dance hall. One couple who met here have already celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It's amazing to think that there are people still living around about who met here. This was their Saturday night out.

"Many people will have learned to dance here. We think that such memories will make a great historical display."

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