The Calls area along with neighbouring Clarence Dock served as docks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation throughout the industrial revolution and the early 20th century.
The areas decline began in the early 20th century when Leeds' industry moved away from the centre out towards Hunslet, Holbeck, Armley and Kirkstall. Leeds' post-war industrial decline spelled the death knell for the area and the area became rundown and suffered from crime and vagrancy. Redevelopment began in the area in the 1990s.
The Leeds Gay Village
Today The Calls, Call Lane and Lower Briggate have become Leeds' main gay district,There are many pubs and bars around the area (such as the Aire Bar, Calls Landing, Elbow Rooms, Oporto, Queens Court and Revolution). The most notable perhaps is The New Penny, which is supposedly the UK's longest running gay pub. The Calls area is also the setting for the post parade street party and stalls at Leeds Pride. many companies have also set up offices in the area. A new footbridge links The Calls to Brewery Wharf, part of the Tetley's brewery. A new footbridge further East close to Leeds Parish Church which links the area to Clarence Dock.
The Calls area has many LGBT bars, pubs and clubs some of these include:
- Queens Court
- The Loft
- Blayds Bar
- The Viaduct
- The Old Red Lion
- The Bridge Inn
- The New Penny
The majority of the other local establishments are LGBT friendly and some even have gay nights such as The Cockpit.