Park Row Courthouse

Park Row Courthouse (1813 – 1861)
Bottom of Park Row
The Courthouse, designed by Thomas Taylor, was located at the bottom of Park Row and was first opened in 1813, replacing the courts in the Moot Hall, Briggate. The Rotation Office, formerly on Kirkgate and where Magistrates made decisions before going to trial, was moved to the new Park Row Courthouse. The Courthouse had a small prison with thirteen cells for inmates awaiting trial, while four fire-engines were housed in the basement. The great room could hold eight-hundred people and was used for both court hearings and public meetings. After the courts were moved to the Leeds Town Hall in 1861, the Courthouse became the Post Office, before demolition in 1901.

1829. Drawing of the Court House. (c) Leeds Library and Information Service, www.leodis.net

The Courthouse, designed by Thomas Taylor, was located at the bottom of Park Row and was first opened in 1813 replacing the courts in the Moot Hall, Briggate. Construction began on the 2nd September 1811 and the Courthouse was opened in 1813. In 1834/35 Robert Chantrell added another floor to the building. The entrance was a large portico with pillars supporting the roof flanked by single storey wings decorated with Coade Stone panels depicting the Golden Fleece of Leeds.

1850 OS Map, Sheet 10

The Rotation Office, where magistrates dealt with complaints and examined cases against people before going to trial, was moved to the Park Row Courthouse, after previously being located in Kirkgate. It was called the Rotation Office because local magistrates sat there in rotation.

Undated, This engraving by H. Adlard depicts the coloured cloth hall as it looked in about the 1820s. The building seen right in Park Row is the Court House. (c) Leeds Library and Information Service, www.leodis.net

The Courthouse had a small prison with thirteen cells for inmates awaiting trial and four fire-engines was housed in the basement. As there was an armoury in the Courthouse the military often used the basement as a temporary guardroom for criminal suspects. The great room could hold eight hundred people and was used for both court hearings and for public meetings. There were two galleries, one for women and one for the Grand Jury.

After the courts were moved to the Leeds Town Hall in 1861 the Courthouse was became the Post Office and the building was later demolished in 1901. Here is an image of the Courthouse as the Post Office in 1897.

Undated. c. 1897, Old general post office, formerly Court House at the bottom of Park Row. (c) Leeds Library and Information Service, www.leodis.net
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