Leeds Civic Trust

Leeds Civic Trust set up its Historic Plaques Scheme in 1987 to promote public awareness of the heritage of the city of Leeds. The first blue plaque, which marks Burley Bar - one of the boundaries of the medieval town - was unveiled in 1987.
By January 2017, 161 plaques had been erected. A record of the history behind, and background to, the first 66 plaques can be found in the Blue Plaques of Leeds publication available from the Leeds Civic Trust bookshop.


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William Turton Corn and hay merchant here at Turton's Wharf and Warehouse rebuilt 1876. He pioneered horse drawn tramways across northern England. From 1866 he ran omnibuses in Leeds, becoming a founding director, then chairman, of Leeds Tramways Company 1872-1895. Councillor and Poor Law Guardian. 1825-1900

64, The Calls, Leeds, United Kingdom

The Olympia Works. Robert Blackburn, aviator pioneer, built aircraft here including over 100 BE2C army and navy biplanes and the famous Kangeroo, Swift and Sopwith Baby planes. He test flew the BE2Cs on Soldiers' Field and from there, in 1919, operated passenger flights to London and Amsterdam. 1914-1932

Tescos, Roundhay, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Frank Kidson M.A. 1855-1926 Musical antiquarian and folk-song collector lived here 1904-1926

5 Hamilton Avenue, LS7, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Philosophical Hall. The imposing home of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society stood here until 1966. Erected in 1821 it became the centre of scientific and cultural life in Leeds, housing a fine museum conveyed to the City in 1921.

HSBC Bank, Park Row, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Bramley Rugby League Football Club The Barley Mow Inn ground was the home of Bramley Rugby League Football Club (now Bramley Buffaloes) from 1890 until its move to MacLaren Field in 1965. Bramley played New Zealand All Golds here in 1907 in the Northern Union's first ever tour game. Founded 1879

The Barley Mow Inn, Town Street, Bramley LS13, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds & County Liberal Club From Parliamentary and municipal reform in the 1830s to 1894 the Liberal Party dominated politics in Leeds. This splendid club in Welsh terracotta opened in 1891. Crowds were addresses from its balcony 'on occasions of political excitement'. Chorley & Connon Architects

Quebecs Hotel, Quebec Street, LS1, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Mann's Patent Steam Cart & Wagon Company Ltd Steam-powered road vehicles were built here. Previously Mann & Charlesworth Ltd of Dewsbury Road, the company produced unique designs of steam carts, rollers, wagons and tractors. 1899-1929

Pepper Road, Hunslet, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Smithfield Ironworks Built as the Smithfield Hotel in the 1860s to serve Leeds Cattle Market opposite, it later became the imposing frontage of Thomas Green & Son Ltd. Green's made steam and motor rollers, traction engines, steam trams, railway locomotives and grass cutting equipment.

North Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Adelaide Neilson renowned international tragic actress was born nearby in St. Peter's Square. "Her Juliet was perfect ; her Isabella had marvellous earnestness and beauty". 1848-1880

Outside main entrance to West Yorkshire Playhouse, Quarry Hill, LS2 7UP, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Leeds Club Moved here in 1852. As a prestigious gentlemen's club, it was the meeting place for the town's leading business and professional men. Its lavish classical interior included coffee, smoking and dining rooms, a billiard room, bedrooms and a ballroom. Founded 1849.

3 Albion Place, LS1, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Grange Formerly the site of a Kirkstall Abbey farm, the house dates from 1752. John Marshall, millionaire flax-spinner, lived here like a country gentleman from 1804-1818. The banker William Beckett bought the estate in 1834, making major alterations in 1858.

The Grange, Beckett Park, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Richard Bentley FRS DD born in 4/5 Bentley Square; educated at Wakefield Grammar School and Cambridge; Keeper of The King's Library at St James and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. His brilliant translation and reappraisal of classical texts made him one of England's greatest and most controversial scholars. 1662-1742

Bentley Square, Calverley Rd, Oulton, LS26, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Mount St Marys Convent, Orphanage & School Founded in 1853 by the sisters of the Holy Family of Bordeaux to serve the Catholic community displaced from Ireland by famine and which came to live on the Bank, an area of severe poverty and deprivation. Architect: William Wardell Built 1858

Mt St Marys Catholic High School, Ellerby Road, LS9, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Hunslet Engine Company Was the longest-lived firm in this dynamic area, building over one-third of the 19,000 locomotives produced in Leeds for passenger and freight trains, factories, docks, mines, tunnelling and plantations throughout the world. 1864-1995

125 Jack Lane, Hunslet, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Ellen Heaton (1816-94) lived in 6 Woodhouse Square from 1859-94. She was an influential Pre-Raphaelite art patron and an active campaigner for women's rights, education, health, environmental issues and anti-vivisection. Her friend, the poet Christina Rossetti, stayed here.

Swarthmore Education Centre, 6 Woodhouse Square, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Dewhirst's and Marks & Spencer. This was the warehouse of Isaac Dewhirst, wholesale haberdasher and manufacturer of hosiery, pinafores, underclothing and aprons. Obtaining supplies here, the Polish immigrant pedlar, Michael Marks, met Dewhirst's cashier Tom Spencer. In 1894 they formed the most famous partnership in British retailing.

Harper Street, LS2, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds Civic Hall Was erected 1930-33 by the unemployed building workers of Leeds. Its magnificent accommodation includes Lord Mayor's ceremonial rooms, Council Chamber, committee rooms and offices. It was built to serve the 'ever-expanding municipal functions and duties' of Leeds City Council. Architect: Vincent Harris

Millennium Square, Portland Crescent, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Leeds Rifles. A volunteer corps raised by resolution of Leeds Town Council in 1859 when the Government feared the French might invade Britain. This headquarters, Carlton Barracks, was built in 1887 and remained the home of the Leeds Rifles until disbandment in 1969.

Carlton Barracks, Carlton Hill, LS7, Leeds, United Kingdom

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E. J. Arnold & Son Ltd Britain's leading educational suppliers and printers was established in this Georgian merchant's house No.3 Briggate in 1870. Its warehouse and factory was in Blayd's Yard.

3 Briggate, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Richard Oastler 'The Factory King' was born in St Peter's Square. His 1830 letter to the Leeds Mercury about 'Yorkshire Slavery' began the campaign to reduce the working day of factory children to ten hours. The Ten Hours Act of 1847 owed much to his persuasive writing and compelling oratory. 1789 - 1861

The Wardrobe, St Peters Square (by BBC North HQ), Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds Grammar School Was founded in 1552 by William Sheafield, chantry priest, Leeds Parish Church. It occupied this building from 1859 to 1997. Famous pupils include: John Smeaton, engineer; G. Studdert Kennedy, 'Woodbine Willie' chaplain; John Ireland, composer; Field Marshal Lord Nicholson of Roundhay. Architect: Edward Barry

Moorland Road, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leonora Cohen JP OBE Leading suffragette famous for smashing a showcase in the Jewel House at the Tower of London and for her hunger strike at Armley Gaol in 1913 Lived here 1923-36 1873-1978

2 Claremont Villas, Clarendon Road, LS3, Leeds, United Kingdom

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John Smeaton, FRS Was born and lived at Austhorpe Ledge, Whitkirk, Leeds. He developed scientific methods to harness better the water, wind and steam power essential to the Industrial Revolution. He consulted nationally on the design of mills, harbours, bridges and waterways, including the Aire and Calder Navigation. He was most famous for designing and building the third Eddystone Lighthouse. The creation of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers (1771) gave rise to the professional engineering institutions. 1724-1792

Leeds Lock, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Sir John Barran MP Pioneered the Leeds ready-made clothing industry in the 1850s, introducing the band knife for cutting multiple layers of cloth. In 1887 he added this factory to his others in Park Square. As Mayor he secured the purchase of Roundhay Park for Leeds. 1821-1905

Josephs Well, Chorley, Leeds, United Kingdom

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John Deakin Heaton (1817-80) Eminent physician lived at Claremont, a Georgian merchant's villa, from 1856-80. He was a prime mover in the campaign for Leeds Town Hall, and played major roles in the development of Leeds General Infirmary and the Yorkshire College, later the University of Leeds.

Claremont, 23 Clarendon Road, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Midland Engine Works. J & H McLaren produced steam rollers, traction and ploughing engines on this site until 1938. From 1926 they were Britain's first volume maker of high-speed diesel engines, transferring to the Airedale Works, Hunslet Road in 1946. Their products were exported worldwide. 1876-1959

Equinox Design Ltd, 100 Jack Lane, Hunslet, LS10, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Middleton Railway. Began nearby in 1758 to carry coal from Middleton Colliery to Leeds by horse drawn wagon. The world's first commercially successful steam locomotive, designed and built by Matthew Murray and incorporating John Blenkinsop's patented rack wheel, started work here on 24 June 1812.

Station, Moor Road, LS10, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Sir Berkeley Moynihan (1865-1936) Inspirational teacher and pioneer in abdominal surgery had his consulting rooms here from 1893-1930. He introduced the wearing of rubber gloves, and prized 'caressing the tissues' rather than speed in surgery. President of the Royal College of Surgeons 1926-31. Ennobled 1929

33 Park Square, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds General Cemetery. Alarmed by the insanitary and overcrowded state of the Parish Church graveyard and body snatching, the Leeds elite bought £25 shares in the Leeds General Cemetery Company. It acquired St. George's Fields and created this fine private cemetery, where many Leeds worthies lie. Architect: John Clark. Opened 1835

Gatehouse, St Georges Field, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Samuel Ledgard (1874 - 1952) was landlord here 1896 - 1952. The renowned private operator of bus and coach services in Yorkshire, in a remarkable career he was also a farmer, brewer, garage proprietor, quarry owner, haulage contractor and caterer to royalty and the nobility.

Nelson Inn, 210-212 Armley Rd, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Live at Leeds The University Refectory is a legendary concert venue. The Who's performance here on 14 February 1970 was recorded and released as 'Live at Leeds', the most celebrated live album of its generation

Leeds University Refectory, Lifton Place, Leeds, United Kingdom

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This historic courtyard occupies one of the 60 burgage plots which abutted Briggate in the Middle Ages. It is fronted by an eight-bayed wollen cloth merchant's house (built c. 1714) and contains the merchant's cloth finishing shops and warehouses.

Queens Court, Lower Briggate, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds School Board erected this fine headquarters and examination centre in 1878-81. First elected by the ratepayers of Leeds in 1870, the board built sufficient schools to ensure that for the first time every child in Leeds received an elementary education. Architect: George Corson

Calverley Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Meanwood Tannery. The monks of Kirkstall Abbey had a water corn mill here in 1230. Milling continued until 1785 when Thomas Martin used the mill for paper-making. In 1857 Samuel Smith built this fine tannery. From 1911 to 1994 it was used as a fellmongery.

Mill Pond Close, Leeds, United Kingdom

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City Varieties Music Hall. Harry Lauder, Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini performed in this Music Hall built in 1865 for Charles Thornton on the site of the White Swan coaching inn. Famous venue of the "Good Old Days" first broadcast in 1953

City Varieties Music Hall, Swan Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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East Bar. This ancient stone marked the eastern boundary of the medieval town of Leeds.

Kirkgate, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Louis Le Prince. Louis Aime August Le Prince came to Leeds in 1866 where he experimented in cinematography. In 1888 he patented a one-lens camera with which he filmed Leeds Bridge from this British Waterways building. These were probably the world's first successful moving pictures.

adjacent to the Leeds Bridge, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds Burial Ground. Huge population growth led Leeds Town Council to pioneer the English municipal cemetery here at Beckett Street. Anglicans and Dissenters had their own chapels and halves of the cemetery. The 27,000 graves, including many 'guinea graves,' contain 180,000 interments. Opened 1845.

Beckett Street Cemetery, Leeds, United Kingdom

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St. Paul's House This building was originally a warehouse and cloth-cutting works built for John Barran, the founder of the mass-production, ready-made clothing industry in Leeds. Barran was a Mayor of Leeds and served as its Liberal M.P. from 1876 - 1885 Architect: Thomas Ambler Erected 1878

Park Square, Leeds, United Kingdom

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The Leeds Library A proprietary subscription library founded in 1768 with Joseph Priestley as Secretary. Since 1808 it has occupied these purpose-built premises designed by Thomas Johnson. The first-floor reading room and Thomas Ambler's 'New Room' extension are amongst the architectural wonders of Leeds.

18 Commercial Street, LS1, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds Manor House The medieval manor house stood here on 'Castle Hill'. Its deep moat looped between the river and Boar Lane. Richard Wilson lavishly rebuilt it in 1765 and in 1823 it became Henry Scarborough's hotel. The present-day pub is a surviving extension.

New Station Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Oakwood Clock Was made in 1904 by Potts and Sons, to the design of Leeming and Leeming as the centrepiece of the new Leeds Market Hall. alterations to the Market led to the inspired decision to erect the clock at Oakwood in 1912.

Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Central Higher Grade School This imposing school was erected by Leeds School Board as the town's first local authority secondary school. Renamed City of Leeds School in 1928, it merged with Thoresby High School in 1972, and moved to a new site in 1994. Opened 1889

Great George Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Fletland Mills In 1887 Wright Bros., corn millers, acquired these late 18th and 19th century mills. they produced large quantities of flour and 'horse corn' for the Leeds district. In 1991 the buildings were splendidly converted to a high quality hotel.

The Calls, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds College of Art Founded in 1846, by Leeds Mechanics' and Literary Institution, pioneered the teaching of practical art and design in England and USA. Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth studied here. This building was erected for the college in 1903.

Rossington Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Brodrick's Building These fine shops and offices were designed by Cuthbert Brodrick (1822-1905) the architect of Leeds Town Hall, the Corn Exchange and the Mechanics' Institute. They were renovated by Trinity Services in 1988. Erected 1864

Cookridge Street, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Bank of England The Bank of England opened a branch in Leeds in 1827 These premises, entered from South Parade, were designed by Phillip Hardwick and erected 1862-64. The Bank remained on this site until moving to King Street in 1971.

Park Row, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Burley Bar Stone This stone, now housed inside the main entrance of Leeds Building Society, marked the medieval boundary between the manorial borough, or town, of Leeds and Leeds Main Riding, the surrounding agricultural land. First recorded 1726

The Headrow, Leeds, United Kingdom

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William Hey's House This impressive Georgian townhouse was built for William Hey (1736-1819) one of the founders and later Chief Surgeon of Leeds General Infirmary. For 50 years Hey was in the front rank of British surgeons. Architect: Thomas Johnson Erected 1794-5

2 Albion Pl, Leeds, United Kingdom

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Leeds Charity School The chapel of Harrison's Almshouses, which formerly occupied this site, was converted for use by the Charity School in 1726. When the present building was erected in 1815, the institution clothed 80 poor girls in blue and trained them for domestic service. Founded 1705

Mark Lane, Leeds, United Kingdom