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Submitted by on March 12, 2014 – 7:10 pm2 Comments

roof grey

In a moment of reckless enthusiasm last week I promised on Twitter that I’d write something about Holbeck for #cityseriesleeds.

It hasn’t turned out as intended. I did walk around Holbeck – but then I’m always walking around Holbeck, so that’s not news – and ended up taking lots of photos. On my old Nexus 7, which has a basic self-facing camera. Fine for taking selfies, not so great when you want to get a shot of the Candle House from Victoria Bridge – you can’t see what you are snapping. So this has turned out the record of a meander with random images.


I set off along Whitehall road. The Yorkshire Post building is in Holbeck these days (or should that be The “The Yorkshire Post” building? They Rebranded and relocated. Let’s wish them the best of luck.)


The old central train station was on the edge of Holbeck. I love this image of the old loading shed (it’s Grade 1 I think, so they can’t knock it down) reflected in the blank glass wall of that dull new-build box beside another car park. Isn’t this car park the illegal one?



Hard to see from this pic but the Victorian viaducts are magnificent. And just to the left of this one was the site of one of the biggest factories in Leeds, Doncaster Monkbridge.



A view from the river of the “development” to the North of Holbeck.



And a rather elegant bridge across the river Aire to the canal tow path.



This is the sort of sign I’d like to see more of.



It’s the Leeds-Liverpool canal, though there is a city along the way that calls it something else. But they are deluded.



Tower Works looking good these days.



Even from behind.



The beck in Holbeck.



And of course, Welcome to Yorkshire are based here.



So of course we have some bicycle art (let’s pretend we haven’t noticed the building behind, eh?)



We’ve got more surviving buildings from the first industrial revolution than anywhere in England (or so I’m led to believe.)



And, of course, the great engineering innovator Matthew Murray was based here.



I have no idea what this is even though I pass it almost every day. Impressive though, isn’t it!



It’s not all historical engineering stuff. There’s a brilliant theatre company based in one of the viaducts – and if you haven’t visited the Holbeck Underground Ballroom you really should check out what’s going on in there, some amazing stuff. SlungLow are a touring company too. I hear they are taking their Moby Dick show to Zimbabwe … (sorry Alan, been loving the Hamlet to North Korea tweets the past few days.)



And next door to a serious theatre company is …



Not so long ago behind this fence there was a huge distribution centre. Now it’s mainly a set for zombie apocalypse films and cop show car chase backdrop (last one was DCI Banks I think.)



Leeds Music Trust are based at Old Chapel Studios.



Forget Mike’s Carpets – this is how you do carpet showroom.



Great to see the old King’s Arms looking good again (my dad was born in that top left room, I’ll have to see if I can get a look in soon.)





Sadly not all the pubs are looking so dapper. The Britannia (not The Brit, that’s just horrid) had the most beautiful central bar once upon a time, much like the one in Cheers. And was run for decades by a couple of guys who were local characters. Sad to see the place like this.wpid-IMG_20140311_104010.jpg


The old KwikSave reborn as a Turkish supermarket/coffee shop. Brilliant place.




This originally was a cinema. Was a building society for a bit, now sadly empty … but such potential.



To the left of this building was a club called the Druids where I got my first pay check and was given my first dismissal notice a few weeks later – I’d rather not go into that, let’s just say it was an educational experience over changing a barrel of Tetley’s mild. To the right was my granddad’s local, The Blue Ball, where all the toolmakers from Crabtree-Vickers went after the day shift.



More viaduct … and more fencing. Those daffodils need all the protection they can get.




The Holbeck Working Men’s Club – or just The Holbeck now apparently. The oldest WMC in the country. And doing a bloody good job.




The infamous Holbeck flyover, which everyone blames for the demise of the community. Who wants to go to The South anyway?




And Ninevah Bridge. Lovely isn’t it? When I was a kid it was a bit less shabby around here, though I remember a film crew using the place as a location for a drama called The Silver Sword, set in Warsaw in the final months of World War 2 … Holbeck was the closest place they found to the devastation of Nazism … crikey.




Welcome to Reality. How we laugh …




It’s not all dereliction and dilapidation. There are plenty of really good new buildings in Holbeck too, and this is a solid, decent effort. Beautiful inside too.




Of course, Holbeck boasts the best pub in Leeds.




And the prettiest new residential development, The Candle House.

So, an hour rambling around Holbeck. History, culture, pubs, lively places, and lots of potential. And only ten minutes from the city centre. It’s still my favourite bit of Leeds.





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