Leeds Through The Ages

  • by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Central Library

Most readers of this blog will already be very familiar with Leodis – our historical archive of photos from Leeds and its surrounding area. But what few people will be aware is just how many other places that Leodis collection is used. We regularly take requests for images from a wide range of sources, including media organisations like the Yorkshire Evening Post and the BBC; academics; local history societies; marketing agencies working with retail clients in Leeds – and many more. 

One particularly interesting such usage of the Leodis collection was by Park Lane Properties, who recently commissioned a fascinating web app that allows the viewer to browse images of specific Leeds locations and landmarks – images from the past; the present; or both mixed together in a seamless integration of ‘then’ and ‘now’. You can see Leeds Through The Ages by clicking on this link, or scroll below to read more about the motivation behind the creation of the app and its celebration of Leeds’ rich heritage.

“Established as a city in 1893, Leeds is now the largest city in Yorkshire with a population of 750,000 people. It holds a unique history itself, producing the first moving picture which was filmed in Leeds in 1888 by Louis Le Prince and inventing the well-loved board game Cluedo.

Over the years the city has taken huge steps to modernising the landscape and the way that the city runs. From introducing new shopping centres, to working on transport for the future, Leeds keeps up with the fast pace environment and demands that city life has.

Parklane Properties are keen to honour Leeds’ history by combining past and present day photos of iconic locations all over the city. The slider, named Leeds Through The Ages, gives you a chance to learn about the history of Leeds and see what the streets and buildings were like up to 100 years ago.

Lydia Eustace, Marketing Manager at Parklane Properties said, “Here at Parklane Properties, we are proud to be one of the longest established property companies in the area. Leeds’ heritage walks hand in hand with our own and we are delighted to be able to showcase the city then and now.”

Lewis’s Department store on Headrow, which features in the slider, first opened its doors to the public on the 17th September 1932 and was 40ft higher than any other retail building in Leeds.  Now 84 years later the department store has been divided and is home to T.K Maxx, Argos and Sainsbury’s.

The locations included in the piece are:

  • Kirkgate Market
  • Kirkgate Tram Stop
  • Albion Street
  • Victoria Arcade
  • Brudenell Road
  • 02 Academy
  • The Arndale Centre
  • Corn Exchange
  • Headrow
  • Parklane Properties

Many of Leeds developments throughout the years have been focused on improving the shopping quality within the city and attracting people from all over the country to join a unique retail experience.

This had become particularly prevalent in Leeds, with developments like Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre and the new Victoria Gate shopping centre. Victoria Gate, which is set to open its doors on 20th October, will feature the John Lewis flagship store as well as other high end luxury brands and will continue to centre the city as a commercial hub.

The Arndale Centre chain were the first shopping malls of their kind in England which included an 18 lane bowling alley, however ‘The Bowl’ closed in the 60’s and today you can find a wide range of shops and restaurants in its place.

A notable feature that hasn’t changed in The Arndale Centre over the past 50 years is the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, featuring in both the 1967 photo and today’s.

Lydia added: “Some people may be able to look at some of the past photos and remember the buildings looking like that and give them not only a sense of nostalgia but also some information they never knew about the buildings”.

(For all media enquiries, please contact lucy.slater@blueclaw.co.uk or call 0113 234 3300)

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