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Victorian Schools in Leeds

Creating the Shopping Centre of the North

The Changing Face of Briggate

As the middle classes got richer they had more money to spend on luxury goods like jewellery, silver, designer furniture and musical instruments. New shops sprang up on Briggate selling these kinds of things.


Black and white photograph showing the Briggate area of Leeds.  There are lots of people in the wide street, and horses and carriages
Briggate Shoppers in Early 1900s

In the late Victorian period Boar lane had Leeds’ finest and most fashionable shops. The first department store, Grand Pygmalion opened on Boar Lane in the 1880s.

Boar Lane Shoppers in 1860s

Leeds was the first city to have covered shopping arcades. Some of these arcades were built over old slum yards.


Colour tinted postcard of Boar Land in Leeds in 1906.  It shows trams on the street, lots of people walking around and shops open for business
Leeds Boar Land in 1906


Thornton’s Arcade


Black and white illustration of a beautifully decorated long, narrow arcade with shops on either side.  There is a glass ceiling and  lots of wealthy looking people walking around.
Thornton's Arcade, Leeds in 1878

In 1873 Charles Thornton, who owned the City Varieties Hall, developed Thornton’s Arcade. It has three storeys and a glass roof. At one end there is a clock with four life sized figures in it telling the story of Ivanhoe. They were made by the Leeds Sculptor John Wormald Appleyard.


Queens Arcade


Black and white photograph showing buidings on either side of a cobbled street.   There are no drains.
Rose and Crown Yard, Leeds

This was the second arcade to be built in Leeds in 1888. It was built over the old Rose and Crown yard. It was named in honour of the Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. This arcade is 3 storeys high with a glass roof. The second storey is filled with shops now but was originally where the shopkeepers lived.


Grand Arcade

This arcade was built in 1898. It took its name from the nearby Grand Theatre that had been built in 1878.


County Arcade

Leeds County Arcade

County Arcade was built in 1898 over the old White Horse Yard. The arcade is two storeys high and richly decorated. It has a vaulted glass ceiling with mosaic figures representing Liberty, Commerce, Labour and Art.