The amazing image taken when Leeds train station's concourse was a car park

How many times have you taken Leeds train station's stunning north concourse for granted as you rush for a train?

By Joe Cooper
Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 3:41 pm
Leeds City Station's northern concourse in 2007.
Leeds City Station's northern concourse in 2007.

It's easily done - eyes are normally fixed on the departure boards ahead, or trying to avoid the lure of a McDonald's.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Look up and take a moment, however, and you'll appreciate the true beauty of the London Midland and Scottish Railway art deco grand hall.

The work of architects William Curtis Green and W H Hamlyn, the northern concourse was opened in 1939 at the time of merger of the adjacent but previously separate Wellington Street and Leeds New stations.

But it wasn't always this way.

Amazingly, after only around 20 years, it had started to become neglected.

Work begins on the northern concourse refurbishment in 1998.

The station was completely rebuilt in 1967 when the nearby Leeds Central Station closed, and its services transferred to Leeds City Station.

Bridges taking the railway over the Leeds and Liverpool canal were replaced, a new roof over the station was constructed and the newly created south concourse was the main location for shops, refreshment rooms and the ticket office.

By the time the above black and white photo was taken, the Grade II-listed northern concourse - considered by the Railway Heritage Trust to be the most important piece of art deco railway architecture in the country - was being used as a car park.

Thankfully, between 1999 and 2002 the station underwent significant rebuilding and refurbishment in a programme called Leeds First.

It brought back into action the largely abandoned Wellington side of the station, increased the number of platforms from 12 to 17 and built a new footbridge with modern escalators and lifts - and the northern concourse was also restored to its former glory.

The multi-storey car park is now outside - a much better place for it.