Leeds: Back In The Day V’s Now!

Let’s travel back in time and take a look into the past to see just how much Leeds has drastically changed over the years.

This history rich West Yorkshire City is ever changing. The below images comparing well know locations will show just how far we have come over the past century or so. Whether it’s Leeds most famous city centre streets or the most legendary pieces of architecture, the changes are massive. Don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself…

Leeds Past & Present

1. Millennium Square

image of millennium square in leeds

present photo of millennium square in leeds

I bet you didn’t know that once upon a time, there was a swimming baths where Millennium Square once stood. The Cookridge Street baths were a Cuthbert Brodrick special – though it’s hard to imagine Leeds without its famous square and the wonderfully preserved Electric Press.

2. Vicar Lane

vicar lane past

vicar lane present

You’d guess in 10 years time, the changes will be even starker than today. But, over the past 50 or so years, it’s safe to say that Vicar Lane has tried to keep with the times. The gothic architecture of Kirkgate Market remains, but it’s a world away from the Vicar Lane you see now.

3. Call Lane

call lane past

call lane present

Now we all love Red’s True BBQ, but how much better would it be if it was in this old gem of a building which once stood where they are today? The corner of Call Lane was once renowned for the news and magazines of a certain WH Smith’s rather than ribs of the now legendary Leeds restaurant.

4. Corn Exchange

corn exchange past

corn exchange present

In 1859, after receiving repeated petitions, the Council decided to erect a new Corn Exchange to house both the sack market and the sale of grain by sample. In 2000 Arcadia made further transformations to provide a contemporary shopping environment in harmony with the buildings architectural beauty.

5. Boar Lane

boar lane past

boar lane present

With all the talk of a new transport system for Leeds, you’ll do well to remember Leeds’ tram system. This is 1899, when they were re-laying the tracks down Boar Lane and Briggate. With Holy Trinity Church rising high back then, see if you can spot where Trinity Leeds should be?

6. The Calls

the calls past

the calls now

The advertising hoardings show the age of the photo, and The Calls in the 1930s are a far cry from what they are today. In the place of the ads in the foreground and the factory in the background are now shops in the railway arches and a new 21st century block of flats.

7. Calverley Street

calverley street past

calverley street present

It’s Millennium Square from a different angle, but it goes to show how different this part of the city is today. With the expansion of Millennium Square around the Civic Hall and the addition of Leeds Beckett University and General Infirmary altering the skyline significantly.

8. The Majestic

the majestic past

the majestic present

This famous building opened in 1922 and was originally used as a cinema but, as many may have found memories, became a club in 1996. Today, as fire crews damp down, it’s looking far from majestic. But it’ll probably take more than a blaze to remove this famous feature of Leeds from the city centre landscape.

9. Great George Street

great george street past

great geroge street present

Say hello to the year World War Two broke out. The building to the left is not as it was – the Electric Press has taken care of that, and if you park your car like that outside of Nation of Shopkeepers and Almost Famous, a ticket or three is more than likely.

10. Briggate

leeds briggate past

briggate present

1951: The heart of the city for 800 years, Briggate leads directly off the Leeds Bridge. A major redevelopment in 1870 brought many new shops and arcades to the thoroughfare.

Which photo from the past surprised you the most? Let us know!