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The Victorian history of Leeds

Way Out

Over the last twenty years or so, Leeds has grown into a modern, cosmopolitan city with a skyline of innovative and eye-catching architecture – but take a stroll through the city and you’ll also see that the Victorian era has stamped an indelible mark on the history of Leeds, with some of the most popular shopping precincts and buildings being largely unchanged since the turn of the century.

Kirkgate Market

Kirkgate Market has grown steadily throughout its history into the largest covered market in Europe. With over 800 stalls it’s possible to wander around it all day without ever really acknowledging its extraordinary architecture. Although the final work on the hall wasn’t finished until a couple of years after Queen Victoria’s reign ended, the architecture is heavily influenced by that period, and the winners of the prize to find a designer worthy of such a project, J Bagshaw and Sons of Batley, did Leeds proud.

Victoria Quarter

The marrying up of the most exclusive and high-quality stores in Leeds with the Victoria Quarter has been a natural progression – after all, who wouldn’t want to be associated with some of the finest Victorian architecture anywhere in the world? Yes, the Victoria Quarter of County Arcade, Queen Victoria Street, King Edward Street and Cross Arcade feature the most lavish and grand stonework, beautiful mosaic flooring, and glass roofing (over Victoria Gate) that creates a feeling of a botanical garden.

The Corn Exchange

Completed in 1864, the Cuthbert Brodrick designed Corn Exchange is one of only three such buildings in the country still used to trade goods. Brodrick also designed Leeds Town Hall after winning a competition to do so – something that appears to have been the norm in Victorian times (see Kirkgate Market above)! Often considered Brodrick’s greatest architectural achievement, the Corn Exchange is quite an imposing building from the outside, but once you walk through the doors you can see why it’s given this accolade. The ribbed and domed roof, along with the delightful period rails and arches, make it a place to visit for any fan of Victorian architecture.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this celebration of the Victorian buildings still in operation in Leeds today. Why not drop your car off with us at Trafalgar Street car park and spend the day visiting them? We’re the best value 24-hour manned car park in the and situated ideally to see all of the sites that will lead you on a journey through the history of Leeds.