Former Victorian bakery in Leeds City Centre gets much-kneaded revamp

A former Victorian bakery located at the heart of one of Leeds's oldest streets has been given a new lease of life thanks to a major regeneration scheme.

Project bosses and developers have revamped and revitalised the empty building at 90 Kirkgate as part of the innovative Lower Kirkgate Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

From 1852 90 Kirkgate was used as a bakers and confectioners by Peter Proctor and before this, in 1839, Thomas Collison ran a pawnbroker shop there.

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The newly-completed work has brought three floors back into use, with repairs to the interior being carried out along with reinstatement of the traditional shop front, alongside the installation of timber sash windows and new Yorkstone flags in the adjacent ginnel.

This project was made possible after the owners applied for a £105,133 grant through the Townscape Heritage Initiative, this being something which aims to protect, preserve and restore historic buildings on Lower Kirkgate, which is the oldest street in Leeds.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “It’s fantastic to see another piece of Leeds’s history being brought back into use in a way which both respects the building’s special heritage and makes it a modern and sustainable asset to this up-and-coming area.

Director in charge of the project, Chris Priestley, added: “The project took over 18 months in the design and planning stages, but thanks to the THI, a severely dilapidated building has been returned to its former glory. The strong interest shown in this building and those already refurbished, is a clear indication of the value of the THI to small local businesses.”

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The project at 90 Kirkgate follows the successful opening of both Wapentake at 92 Kirkgate, as a traditional Yorkshire café, and next door at the Doghouse, which is a café and bar with Paula’s Vinyl record shop above.

Further grants and improvement projects are also being pursued for other buildings on Lower Kirkgate in order to bring them back into use and improve them in the same way as that of 90 Kirkgate.

The repairs have also enhanced the character and appearance of the City Centre Conservation Area and the setting of the grade II* listed First White Cloth Hall.

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