Leeds nostalgia: The old diving line between rich and poor

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Leeds is a city of change and it seems that judging by our archive pictures, this is nothing new either.

The original picture (below) dates back to February 1967, while the more modern picture was taken toward the end of 2014.

The original black and white image shows a crane, presumably involved in the creation of the large red brick building which stands there today.

Going back even further, to the late 1700s, East Parade, like Park Square, Park Row, Park Place and South Parade, was part of the Wilson’s family estate and was used for housing workers away from the towns warehouses and finishing shops. Consequently, East Parade became a kind of diving line between the richer western side of the old town and the poorer eastern side.

It was initially laid out in 1779 and was intended to form a residential square incorporating Park Row and South Parade. In 1834, the Leeds Medical School moved into premises there, while in 1841, East Parade Chapel was opened. This was prompted in part by a shift in the demographics, as more the wealthy middle classes moved away from the south side of the river, which had become heavily industrialised, into the more affluent areas in the north.

Those whom had previously attended Salem Chapel eventually came to the decision that it would be favourable to have a church on East Parade, the foundation stone for that being laid in 1839.

The church, when open in 1841, catered for 1,600 parishioners and ran a Sunday school which saw attendances of 500 plus. They even paid £1,200 for an organ.

However, the chapel was demolished in 1899 and the North British Mercantile Assurance Company building was erected on its site.

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