It’s hard to imagine an entire street disappearing from existence, but over the years, that’s exactly what’s happened in Leeds…
Whether you’ve lived here for one year or ten, you’ve probably already realised that Leeds is an ever-evolving city. But while most of the attention has been drawn to the things we’ve gained in recent years, we’ve also lost a fair few things. In fact, entire streets have disappeared over the past century, leaving us with a very different view of Leeds than we would have seen all those years ago.
All that’s left of Trinity Street in the heart of Leeds city centre is the passage from Commercial Street into Trinity Leeds. But instead of connecting to a shiny new shopping centre, this bustling high street once took you all the way through to Boar Lane.
Trinity Street has always been a vital part of Leeds. Home to shops like C&A, Bailey’s and Kendall’s, it attracted thousands of people daily in its heyday. But as the city grew, so did its ambitions – the old buildings were bulldozed so the new Trinity Arcade could be built, effectively erasing the street that once stood here. Now of course, it’s changed again, but you can still follow the route of the old street down past Franco Manca and into Trinity Leeds, where it comes to an abrupt stop.
Little Cross Street
If you head past MEATliquor, into Trinity Leeds, you may find your attention diverted by the street sign in between the restaurant and the building next to it. It reads ‘Little Cross Street’, but the street is now fenced off and has been closed to the public since Trinity Arcade gave way to the shiny new shopping centre.
But it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, before the huge renovation in this part of the city centre, it acted as an important route between Bank Street and Trinity Street. It was also home to a medley of businesses, including plumbers, gas fitters and warehouse agents – the latter of which had a vital role to play when Leeds was at its industrial height. The offices for the now defunct Yorkshire Evening News were also here for a while too.
Yes, City Square is still there, but it hasn’t always looked the way it does today. It was first created in 1899 to celebrate Queen Victoria granting Leeds city status a few years earlier – but for nearly 100 years, the square was open to traffic on all sides.
In 1997, roads were closed and traffic was diverted to the ring road, leaving the space in front of The Old Post Office Building free for regeneration. They set about creating a pedestrianised square worthy of the new millennium. It was finished in the early 2000s, and the statues, which were already a part of the square, were repositioned in front of the building, right where you can see them today.All images copyright Leeds Library and Information Services, Leodis.