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Wasted Space: The Empty Pubs of Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Discussion

These old Leeds pubs should be put to better use.

They all used to be Leeds favourites, but these five classic pubs now sit empty – it’s time they were given a new lease of life.

Once upon a time, these Leeds pubs were jam-packed full of people from morning until night. Now, however, they’re empty, derelict and unused, victims of our changing culture. It’s meant that hundreds of pubs have closed down in Leeds over the years – a staggering 22% in the decade since 2007. These empty shells are what we’re left with, but hopefully that won’t be the case for long, as they have great potential to be brought back from the dead.

The Star and Garter

The Star and Garter

The Star and Garter was once the place to go on Call Lane but it’s been shut since the 1970s – and nothing has ever replaced it. Its boarded up blue doors stand out on the otherwise bustling street, but it’s an absolute travesty that owners Samuel Smith’s Brewery aren’t doing anything about it. They could turn it into a watering hole once again, or at least hand it over to someone else. It’s long overdue, and honestly, there’s no excuse to leave it stood empty.

The Star and Garter, 32 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.

The Cobourg

The Cobourg

This gem at the top of Leeds city centre has quite a history. For years, it was The Cobourg, a classic Tetley’s boozer famed for its real ales. It became incredibly popular with students at the turn of the millennium, with PlayStations, Ikea furniture and DJs playing through the night. Alas, The Cobourg closed its doors in the early 2000s, and after a brief stint as Viva Cuba, Bar Red and some form of Chinese restaurant that no one remembers the name of, it reverted back to empty status in 2015. It would be great to become a traditional pub once again.

The Cobourg, 19 Queen Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8AF.

The Crown Hotel

The Crown Hotel

Credit: Mtaylor848 licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

The South Bank’s regeneration is moving apace, but The Crown Hotel has so far been ignored. Nestled between Sheaf Cafeteria and The Tetley, it’s been empty since the 1990s, so the curved facade and ornate features of this old Whitbread Brewery pub have seen better days. It was earmarked for demolition back in 2012, but the development that was meant to replace it never materialised – perhaps this old boozer could come back to life after all.

The Crown Hotel, Crown Point Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1EX.

The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun

Credit: Rawdon Fox licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.

The Rising Sun pub is a weird one. A Joshua Tetley Heritage Inn, built at the turn of the 19th century, it was once a heaving pub at the heart of the local community. It shut down and became a furniture store in 2011, before a fire gutted the place in 2013. Although it was declared unfit for use, it’s since had a reprieve and there have been rumours of it being resurrected and turned into apartments. Whatever the future holds, it’s going to take a lot of money to get it back into use, but it’d be great to see this beautiful building rising from the ashes.

The Rising Sun, 290 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DN.

The Marquis of Granby

The Marquis of Granby

A lot of places have benefitted from Victoria Gate, but the bottom end of Eastgate has been somewhat forgotten. This is where you’ll find the old Marquis of Granby, which was renowned for its huge curved bar and local ales. It’s looked out across Eastgate roundabout since 1933, replacing an earlier 18th century pub of the same name, but it shut down in 1984 despite being popular with workers from local businesses and folks in Quarry Hill. It was transformed into offices, before closing again and has stood empty for the past few years. Will it be given a new lease of life or will the bulldozers head in?

The Marquis of Granby, 33 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7RD.