More than 180 years ago it was home to a bustling local trader supplying Georgian shoppers with bacon, cheese and flour.
Now a historic building is set to become the latest to join the growing renaissance of Leeds’s oldest street after getting a slice of funding from an ambitious regeneration project.
The building at 94 Kirkgate will receive a grant for repair and refurbishment as part of the Lower Kirkgate Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), an innovative partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Leeds City Council.
The project offers grant funding to owners for repairs to historic properties which are vacant or under used on Lower Kirkgate, which is the oldest street in Leeds.
Records show that 94 Kirkgate was used by a cheese and bacon seller and flour dealer in 1834 before becoming a bootmakers owned by a J. Steel in 1898. But like many buildings in the area, it subsequently fell into disrepair.
Current owners Rushbond Plc plan a comprehensive programme of repairs to the roof utilising traditional blue slate, and the reinstatement of the traditional timber sash windows and shopfront, with designs based on the original.
Richard Baker of Rushbond said: “These are exciting times for Kirkgate and we are delighted to keep the positive momentum of change flowing by commencing these important refurbishment works. There is already some fascinating enquiries from Leeds businesses, who understand the fast changing nature of this locality and want to be part of this ‘game changing’ revival”.
The Lower Kirkgate THI, has already attracted a string of new businesses to the area, including a barbers, a bar and restaurant, another bar with a vinyl record shop above, which complement other independent businesses already established in the area.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said;
“The restoration of Kirkgate is now gathering pace, with a growing number of repaired properties attracting a range of new businesses which have revitalised the area. This will be further enhanced, with more heritage led regeneration to occur over the next couple of years, including the First White Cloth Hall.
“The street is already being nominated for awards which shows how successful the partnership working with our local businesses has been.
“Our aim is for everyone to enjoy the area and that the enhancement to the appearance of the conservation area is truly appreciated by the people of Leeds and by visitors to the city.”
As well as grants for repairs the THI also funds a number of heritage skills training events.
These provide a background about the importance of carrying out the right repairs to historic buildings. The sessions also involve hands on practical elements. Further details are available by contacting email@example.com
Note to Editors
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
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Rushbond own further property in the vicinity, including New York House and a long lease on the Corn Exchange, they also own the former Majestyk building at City Square where a major scheme of refurbishment is now underway.