Video nostalgia: Leeds Corn Exchange

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Here’s an interesting look at the Corn Exchange, which our photographer managed to snap from exactly the same angle, after he was able to gain access to some of the upper stories above the shops opposite the iconic building.

The original black and white picture was taken in 1963, a century after it was completed – the present day version was taken just a few weeks ago.

BLEND: David Clay

BLEND: David Clay

Note in particular the absence of the chimney behind and to the right of the domed exchange. Another difference is the buses – both modern and historic can be seen in the blended picture.

For centuries the farmers and merchants attending Leeds corn market had stood on Tuesdays in an area called Cross Parish near the Market Cross at the top of Briggate.

In 1828 the town’s first purpose-built corn exchange was opened on the north side of the Headrow facing down Briggate but the industrial boom in the 19th Century meant it was not big enough.

The new exchange was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, the Hull architect best known for designing Leeds Town 
Hall. It is a Grade I listed building and was completed in 1862 and opened on July 128, 1863.

The 75-foot high dome was designed to allow the maximum amount of light to enter the building, while avoiding direct sunlight to hit the corn which would have made it appear a different colour. For this reason and to utilise all the space available, the building is elliptical, although it appears circular from the outside.

The Corn Exchange has undergone a number of redesigns, perhaps the most significant of which came in 1985 when it was converted into a shopping centre.

It underwent further change in 2007, when it was turned into a food emporoium.