Leeds Bridge

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Leeds Bridge
Carries Bridge End
Crosses River Aire
Locale Leeds, West Yorkshire
Design arch bridge
Material cast iron
Opened 1730
Coordinates 53°47′38″N 1°32′30″W / 53.7939°N 1.5418°W / 53.7939; -1.5418Coordinates: 53°47′38″N 1°32′30″W / 53.7939°N 1.5418°W / 53.7939; -1.5418
The eastern parapet of the bridge, looking towards the south bank
Coat of arms of Leeds on the bridge

Leeds Bridge is a historic river crossing in Leeds, England. The present cast iron road bridge dates from 1730.[1] It is Grade II listed.[2]

The medieval town of Leeds centred on 13th century burgess building plots either side of a wide road from the river crossing called Bridge Gate, now Briggate. A wool cloth market operated at Leeds Bridge, becoming the centre of wool trade for the West Riding of Yorkshire in the late 17th century.[1]

A medieval bridge was built at the site of a ferry across the River Aire. It was widened in 1730 and 1760. The bridge was rebuilt in 1870-73 by W. H. Barlow to a design by T. Dyne Steel. The iron was cast by John Butler of Stanningley. The cast iron balustrade is of rings and flowers. The east side bears the arms of the Corporation of Leeds (crowned owls and fleece). The western side has the names of civic dignitaries on a plaque.[1]

In 1875 thousands of local inhabitants crammed onto the bridge, Briggate and local streets to watch The Theatre burning down.[3]

Leeds Bridge marks the western terminus of the Aire and Calder Navigation which opened in 1700 creating a vital goods transportation infrastructure.[1]


Pioneering moving image[edit]

Still from an 1888 moving picture of Traffic on Leeds Bridge by Louis Le Prince
The plaque in Leeds

In 1888 Louis Le Prince made a pioneering moving picture recording of Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge from an upstairs window of No 19 Bridge End, then Hicks the Ironmongers.[1][4]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Pevsner Architectural Guides - Leeds, Susan Wrathwell, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10736-6
  2. ^ English Heritage. "Grade II (465558)". Images of England. 
  3. ^ Bradford Observer, 29 May 1875: "Fires"
  4. ^ BBC Online - Louis Le Prince

External links[edit]