This week’s look back at the way Leeds used to be shows old shops on Albion Street around the turn of the 20th Century.
Shops include Gillman & Co, Whitelock’s and A A Pearson, with one advertising ‘Umbrella Walking Sticks.’
There were certainly fewer cars on the streets, which themselves were mainly cobbled but the whole place was always alive with business. Boar Lane was home to carpet shops, restaurants, hotels and countless other businesses.
Until 1867, like many other streets in Leeds, it was very narrow, being only 21ft wide in places.
Thankfully, those in charge of the city at that time realised something needed to be done if the city was to grow and keep pace with the increase in trade and so buildings were pulled down and the street was widened significantly - the work continued up to about 1869, by which point it measured almost three times its original width, at 66ft.
The entire scheme cost £60,000, with the new buildings being designed by Thomas Ambler. Ambler (1838 – 1920) was an English architect, living and working in Leeds.
Ambler was a friend of the Mayor of Leeds and Member of Parliament, John Barran, who became his patron. Sir John Barron was pretigious enough and pioneered the Leeds ready-made clothing industry in the 1850s. He was also Mayor Leeds and during his tenure, he secured the purchase of Roundhay Park, a move which was considered folly by some - he was even lampooned by cartoonists, who drew him leading a huge white elephant.
If you have an old image of Leeds you would like us to feature in this column, please get in touch with us.