I have recently been indexing for the Leodis website a set of photographs from the area on the eastern side of Briggate, to the south of Boar Lane, which had a complex network of yards and courts, often inter-connecting. The area bounded by New Station Street, Boar Lane, Briggate, and the railway line, underwent major redevelopment from the late 1970s, and on Briggate itself the whole area between the Viaduct Hotel and the Time Ball Buildings was redeveloped. The area is now the site of Trevelyan Square Car Park and The Bourse.
The photos date from 1973 and show the area prior to demolition, with most premises already empty, and focus on Wormald’s Yard and Commercial Court, just north of the railway line.
Wormald’s Yard ran westwards from lower Briggate almost to New Station Street, and parallel with the railway line. It could be accessed from Boar Lane via Alfred Street and White Horse Street, and on foot from an entrance between nos. 14 & 16 Briggate. It also connected into Commercial Court via a gateway between buildings.
Wormald’s Yard was home to Taylor Brothers, glass & china merchants, the largest wholesaler in Yorkshire, along with many other small businesses, including G.W. Agencies, selling toys and sports goods, and John Whitehead, printers.
The map below shows the layout of the area, with the many pedestrian entrances.
Alfred Street was home to the Royal Lancastrian Free School at number 13. The school was set up for the education of up to 500 male pupils, taught on the principles developed by the educationalist Joseph Lancaster, based on a system of monitors. Prefects chosen from the older boys passed on their learning to groups of younger, less able children. The building was later occupied by wool merchants, iron and steel merchants.
White Horse Street contained the premises of Goodall, Backhouse & Co, manufacturing chemists, and White Horse Buildings, home to a variety of businesses.
Commercial Court was a network or interconnecting yards behind Lower Briggate and south of Wormald’s Yard, adjacent to the railway line. There were three places where the court could be entered, but only on foot – between nos. 12 & 13 Lower Briggate, by a gateway from Wormald’s Yard, and through an alleyway between the railway bridge and no.10 Lower Briggate. The main buildings in Commercial Court were the Viaduct Hotel, photographers Reynold & Branson’s wholesale department, and a large warehouse separating the court from Wormald’s Yard.
As early as 1946 part of the area was selected as a proposed site for car parking, as the image below shows:
By the mid-1970s many of the commercial premises had either closed or had been sold to developers prior to a major redevelopment of much of the area. A large part of the west side of Lower Briggate, from Nos. 12 to 23, between the Viaduct Hotel and the Time Ball Buildings, and the properties behind, was redeveloped and is now part of the Marriott Hotel complex.
Wormald’s Yard, most of Commercial Court, and the surrounding buildings are now the site of Trevelyan Square Car Park and The Bourse.
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