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24 September 2014

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You are in: Leeds > Civic Life > Local History > Hidden Leeds

An old bridge over a stream, hidden under Leeds

Hidden Leeds: pic by Fast Egg

Hidden Leeds

You might not give it a second thought as you walk along Leeds' busy streets but there is a whole world hidden under your feet.

It all started with a discussion on the BBC Leeds messageboard about wasted space in Leeds. During the discussion Rich Edwards said: "I've heard rumours and urban myths of everything from nuclear bunkers under the Civic Hall to a part-completed subway system abandoned in Victorian times..."

Other posters went on to talk about old streets buried under the Merrion Centre and rumour of a mothballed Odeon cinema in the same shopping centre.

Suddenly hidden Leeds was out in the open. It can be a world in which it is difficult to separate fact from fiction but here goes...


We can reveal that Leeds does have the abandoned subway that Rich Edwards had heard about. It was not built as part of a transport system but as a utilities conduit.

The experimental York Street Subway was built in 1903. The tunnels were designed to house sewers, water mains, gas pipes, electricity and telephone cables. There were several built in the area around Marsh Lane and the bus station for instance and some lengths of the system are still believed to survive. The tunnels were over 2 metres high and 2.4m wide.

There is no clear report of why this subway idea failed to catch on.

Sewers and water

In the 21st century we take the existence of Leeds' sewer system for granted but it was not always like this. In the early 19th century few streets were drained and even by 1870 an estimated 30,000 (non-flushing) privies were still in use. Middensteads, great piles of human dung, were still commonplace in the streets. One in Wellington Yard measured 7m by 2m and was 2m deep - and it was reported a local drunk had fallen in and drowned.

A hidden mill goit or watercourse, pic: Fast Egg

A hidden mill goit or watercourse

The Leeds Improvement Act of 1842 was the first measure to give the council power to construct sewers and other drainage works.

The importance of work in this area was underlined by outbreaks of deadly cholera in 1832 and 1847 - even though the transmission of the disease wasn't entirely understood. This was followed by the first Public Health Act in 1848.

Even then the Times called the 1848 act "a reckless invasion of property and liberty" but the size and complexity of Leeds sewers continued to grow.

Leeds was one of the first towns in Britain to have a piped water supply to houses. It came into operation in 1694 using either lead pipes or the bored trunks of elm trees.

Many becks and tributaries flow through Leeds and as the city have grown many of them have been culverted - or covered over. Some in the central area of Leeds are of substantial size. The Lady Beck culvert near the bus station is more than 6m wide.

Leeds also had many water-powered mills where water was diverted through goits from the River Aire or other sources. Many of these have now been filled in or covered over.

It is true that in some parts, especially of the city centre, the street level has risen substantially. When workers were relaying sewers in Commercial Street for the Landmark Leeds project they found that the highway is a entire storey above the earlier street level. Workers were able to see the original frontages of old buildings - including a hotel with a wrought iron staircase still intact.

Millennium Square

Much of what makes Millennium Square is hidden from view. Designed by City Architect John Thorp these features are in an undercroft connected by stairs and a lift. Six dressing rooms, toilets and showers, an artists' hospitality room (with fitted kitchen), production office and storage space.

Searching the sofa

These are just some of the unexpected features of Leeds. Another site user, known as Fast Egg, has provided the pictures used in this article. He or she says:

"Over the last year or so I’ve become interested in photographing parts of the city that are rarely seen, though personally I don’t call them hidden places. These tend to be the places under things, or between things, or behind things that people may pass every day and never know they are there.

"I was struck by how little of the city most people see, trawling the same routes everyday. Even now after driving and walking hundreds of miles around Leeds I’m still amazed to find things that I never thought could be so far off the radar of public perception.

"I suppose the nearest analogy I can find is that if Leeds were a sofa then these would be the things that have dropped down the back of the cushions!"

And the cinema does exist above Woolworths in the Merrion Centre. It isn't open to the general public and is little used although there are occasional special screenings.

Hidden Leeds is a subject we will be returning to... watch out for news of Hidden Temple Newsam soon. In the meantime we need your help - have you got information or pictures of Hidden Leeds?

Send an email to

Much of the information in this article is from Leeds City Council and Hidden Beneath Our Feet: The Story of Sewerage in Leeds written by David Sellars.
Pictures from Fast Egg's personal collection.

last updated: 06/09/07

Have Your Say

What do you think of hidden Leeds?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Kyle w
to jamie c.I have also been down the bunker in adel woods about 8 yrs ago as a 16 year old after being told by a friends dad who had been down 40 yrs before that he and his friend had found a passage on the bottom floor which led all the way to some woods near leeds and bradford airport!.on there way they also found lots of old army gear like old water bottles and army ware also a paper from 1909 which he still has today we this infro we ventured down the rope and down the concreate stairs with are mag lights firmly in are hands when we got to the bottom we could find no trace of the passage but did find a bricked up wall! we rather disapointed we returned to the surface. i have since found out that around the late 1980's a young child feel down the bunker trying to climb down he unfortunatley he died and thats why it was originally blocked.there is also a derilict village in adel woods not knolwedge of this in teh local libary tho.


I saw Stuart's comment about the air-raid shelters at the back of Tesco on Roundhay Road.I believe they were part of the Ditchburn/Blackburn aeroplane factory there during the war.I was at Roundhay Grammar School as a kid and the year after I left (c 1960) I held a party in one of the shelters we called "Hell". The party went on for a couple of days and we must have stripped the Fforde Greene of all its glasses.About a year or so after I hitched a lift from Newcastle with someone I'd never met who recalled a wild party in an air-raid shelter on Roundhay Road.It's a small world.

Anthony Chatterton
I also knew the tunnel from newlaithes hall in newlay lane horsforth but i was always led to believe it was an escape route from kirkstall abbey during the dissolution of the monasteries hence a lot older than a victorian culvert.

william sharp
All in all, very interesting.But obviously some of the much younger 'users', have very vivid imaginations.!

Darren Lawton
A bit out of the center now but there's some filled in toilets in Charlie Cake park, Armley opposite what used to be West Leeds Boys. What is more interesting is they've been used as a location for what I think was an episope of Frost back around the mid to late 90s

Beeston Boy
Johnny & Horace I spent many happy hours playing on the swinging tree at the side of the woodman public house part of the site used for the White Rose Centre now. It was built on the site of Morley’s old sewerage works & Rhubarb field Two Turkey sheds were also in the same area Pictures of this can be seen on leodis picture site. As for the other side of the road this was a Refuse Land fill site around 1970'S so I think the little brick air vents are for this reason as they were not there before and the same vent are to be found on the old Eland Road Brick works site. Next time you pass this area take a look at the old farm buildings in particular Stanks Barn this was a medievel chapel and later converted to a barn bricked up windows are also visable on the houses this was done to reduce taxes

D Nuttall
I was interested to read Stevie B's comment concerning the tunnel from Newlay Lane to Kirksatll Abbey. I have read and been told by the landlord of the Abbey Inn (near Newlay Lane) that there is a tunnel leading from the basement of the pub to Kikstall Abbey. Does anyone know if there is any truth in this?

david bapty
realy iteresting,should have been basis for underground railway,like to see programe on lost Leeds including transport

as a kid growing up in chapeltown(spencer place)our playground was potternewton day upon the hill(facing harehills ave)we found an opening in the was about 6ft wide.well straight away we jumped down about was a tunnel that lead into other was pitch black and someone was dispatched to go get some candles(we couldnt afford torches)when the candles arrived we went exploring.a couple of the tunnels were blocked off,but the one we followed took us to the big church on the corner.not the greek orthodox church the other one.we had about 3 weeks playing time before the council closed it in.on carnival days my sister and i always sit on the hill.there is a big concrete slab where the entrance was.ive been told it was air raid shelters,can anyone ellaborate on my teens my friend diane,s mam and dad had the whip hotel on duncan street.i used to collect glasses on a saturday for them .it was a very busy pub with all the leeds fans in on a lunchtime,on an evening it was all the teddy boys and going back to the late 70s their cellar,which was massive and had loads of little rooms,diane showed me a tunnel.she said it went to whitelocks and then onto kirkstall was long very dark and dank.we walked probably to topshop then got scared and ran back.the tunnel up to where we walked wasnt blocked and i often wished id gone further.not that i would even more of a scardy cat now in my 40s as i was in my teens.i wonder if its still there .why dosnt the council open these tunnels and do guided would generate lots of interest and money.

Armchair_TravellerIt believe is the bridge at the side of the Mabgate Pub. The tunnel goes under Quarry Hill and comes out at the river aire,

hi, i live in morley and in dean woods there is the end/start of the tunnel and me and my mates did go down daringly and it leads into dewsbury.

mike atylor
how exactly do you get to the entrance to the tunnel in Horsforth that goes to Kirkstall?

most intresting thing i have read on leeds, cant wait to go out and find these places.

clift a
i used to live in cemetary st which was directly opposite the pack horse in woodhouse lane.the marquis hotel was on the corner of reservoir st woodhouse moor library was on the other side.directly opposite the library,over woodhouse lane,was the top of the cinder moor,bounded by raglan rd on the other side,i believe there is a monument now standing there.underneath there was a large bunker or air raid shelter during the war.

hi i live in leeds close to adel woods. one day me and my friends were walkin through the woods until one day we came to eastmoor farm. further down there is like a whole estate of abandoned houses and what looks like an old police station. i have always wondered why it is just abandoned and it has been abandoned for many years. also ther are a lot of security measures up there and people are not supposed to go in. i wonder why and what theyr trying to hide... strange

im only 15 but i like to travel a lot on my bmx mostly through woods and mostly adel woods as i live close to allerton high and there is also an archelogical dig going on there but back to adel woods i have recently discovered an old village and there have been lots of rumours tht loonys escaped there but could be tru as there is a prison but the whole place is abandoned but i have heard it was aplace for storing explosives and i would like to find any old bits of leeds in woods as i find it fascinating.

John, we explored the bunker in Adel woods as kids and later did some reserch. Above the entrance there is/was (not been for over ten years)a gun turret so we initially assumed it was just a massive ammunition store. However after a little more digging and talking to elderly relatives from the area we we told, and I stress the word told, that during ww1 there were a number of these made through out the country designed to hold documents from london should the germans ever successfully invade. Not sure if this is true but it truely was a ast space when you got in there.

Years ago I when I was an apprentice the old Whitehall Road power station had been turned into an apprentice training centre. From the basement of the turbine hall you could lift steel plates which had ladders leading down into a sub basement. We never dared go down there. Also, behind the admin offices at street level there was a shallow ramp leading down into the tunnel network. The tunnels were quite extensive and were believed to run out as far as Kirkstall and out to quarry hill. The police were reputed to use some of these utility tunnels for transferring prisoners although they were really built for the cables from the power station. My team leader had told me there was a deeper level to the tunnels which went under the river aire. Last time I looked the tunnels were being used by Yorkshire Electricity

james lovedale
Hi folks, i'm a shift engineer on the maintenance team at the LGI. I can cofirm the existance of two service tunnels from our old boiler house, one runs parallel to Calverley St under the Brotherton wing and comes to "Steet level" at the back of the hearing and balance centre.Its around 200 yards in length. The other runs under the old nurses home to a switchroom in the old site and is slightly shorter. As with any old buildings of this nature there are quite a few cellars and undercrofts, cable and pipe ducts, but alas there are no secret tunnels to the town hall, old Bridewell etc, because lots of our staff over the years have looked, me included! Sorry to dissapoint you all!

I was wondering, is it still possible to explore parts of the horsforth-kirkstall abbey tunnel?

Sounds fantastic, I’m doing a little research into the history of the Leeds Metropolitan University’s site at Headingley. It’s amazing what you find out with a little research. They say there is a tunnel leading from the grange down to Kirkstall abbey, might be one of those Victorian sewers. It’s the Headingley Campus’s Centenary and I’m trying to find out anything anyone would know about the Beckett Park. But on the other hand, getting back to Hidden Leeds, would love to see the pictures that Fast Egg has. Hope this is going to go further, would love to see what’s down there, anyone know who we need to talk to on the council to take this further….!


Pat Burns
I was very interesting to read that there could have been an underground railway in Leeds which was unfortunately abandoned, I remember once seeing a picture in the YEP Of what the trains would have looked liked if it had gone ahead, I think the reason why it didnt go ahead is that Leeds is a very hilly City which would have made it difficult to construct, it's a shame there isnt a underground in Leeds which would help with the heavy traffic congestion, and its so sad that the supertram wasnt allowed to ahead.

Isn't there a now hidden subway beneath Briggate, just up from McDonalds that allowed people to cross under Briggate and had male and female toilets?

Brian Uttley
Helen Wood is corect about the Post Office not being bombed. It wasn't. She is also right in that the Woodpecker pub was destroyed when the bottome of York Road was bombed. I remember it well! But other places in Leeds were also bombed notably Holbeck and Hunslet. McClarens Engineering Works went up in flames! Mark Wilson is a little "out" about the Snakepit. It was not under the Scotsman, it was almost under the Regent, the entrance was between the Regent pub and the snack bar next door, That used to be the Mason's Arms pub. The snakepit was not illegal; you had to be a member. I was a member for quite some tiime.

Hi in reguards to the Old train tunnel from dean woods in Morley. I have been looking over some old maps and its does not apear on any pre 1900 from what i can tell. From a map dated 1922 you can clearly see the line witch runs thorugh Gumersal towarks Cleckheaton. I also used to play down there as a kid and have gone into the tunnel but not very far. maybe 50-70m max. I have always been interested in finding out when it was biult and when it was closed. I have also heard the rummer of the Crash. If anyone has any info let me know.

Brian Uttley
Fast Egg remarks on the underground toilets in Briggate "which once had a subway". This was the pedestrian subway from one side of Briggate to the other, but the toilets were there long before the subway was built. When trams ran up and down Briggate. In fact I believe the toilets were there even before the trams! The stairs to the toilets were in the middle of the road, and trams ran either side of the stairs. Quite dangerous at times when in need of a public convenience. There were underground toilets also in City Square, facing the Post Office.

Brian Uttley
Mark Wilson is not quite right about the Snakepit. Not under The Scotsman, under what used to be The Mason's Arms, later a snack bar. The snakepit entrance was down the stairs at the side of The Regent pub.

I grew up in Alwoodley, near Adel woods. The concrete 'bunker' that is located off Stairfoot Lane attracted the curiosity of me and my school friends. In the late 1980s when I was studying for my GCSEs I asked around some of the older people in my community if they knew anything about the bunker, and an elderly gentleman was able to fill me in about what it was. According to him the place was a MOD gun battery. He told me that parts of the wood were sealed off completely during the war, and that there were two large naval guns on the same site as the bunker. He also told me that that naval training excercises used to take place on the nearby Eccup Resevoir, and also that there was a search-light complex in Cookridge. The fact that it was a gun battery would make sense because it is on a high point, and although the entrance is sealed off nowadays (for the best given how dangerous it is), inside the bunker there was just rows and rows of metal racks along narrow corridors which were presumably used to store ammunition. Given that the place was run by the MOD and was top secret it will be difficult to find out much about it, but photographic evidence probably exists somewhere.

john trevor gibbs
I worked at Leeds university during the late 50s.I often used the tunnels and corridors to get into different departments.It was possible to enter hidden corridors from a gallery above the main entrance to the Parkinson building and travel unseen down the lenght of University Road.I also visited the Hyde Park bunker.This was set out like a `war room`and i think at that time had a connection with the T.A.

Nick Smith
I've been a regular visitor to Leeds since '72 and used to go to the Odeon, Merrion Centre. I saw Tom Courtenay in "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovitch" there and that was early '70s. Whenever I go past the place I feel sorry for it. It's a scandalous waste of useful space at present.

Michael Griffin
My father once had a part time job as a boilerman/caretaker for one of the buildings on Wellington street. This was in the late '50's and I was 5 or 6. To get to the boiler room we had to go down one level through the kitchen of a restaurant and then down another level to a terrifyingly dark arched basement. Below that was yet another level that my father once took me down into. Here there were no walls between the various buildings on Wellington Street, just seemingly endless tunnels like those under dark arches. My father told me that these tunnels ran all the way under Queen's Hotel, City station, City Square and, in the other direction, Central Station. He also told me that men had got lost down there and never found. We can do very damaging things to our children without meaning to!!

Angela W
As a child in Kirkstall, I was told by my aunts that the old cottages on Morris lane has tunnels connecting them to the Abbey House Museum

andy b
the tunnel in dean woods has had a new gate/door put on it. last time i was there you could walk all the way inside but now there is a brand new stainless steel gate to keep you out. who is that maintains and checks all these tunnels to stop people getting in?

Natalie W
There is a bobm shelter in the woods near my house in Cookridge. The woods has also a big concrete fence with rusted barbed wire on the top. Its all overgrown now so it could have been used but the again it could have not! Who Knows?

edwin turner
used to go to leeds to my aunti in meanwood in the 50s got off the bus by the tramsheds wached the trams going by and then caught a tram to meanwood yes the stop was right beside the underground toilets and i have spent many a penny down there and you could hear the trams above you they had those little roofs made out of tough glass

Regarding the Armley gyratory tunnel that Lee was asking about. Well Holbeck high level rail station used to be built above that very same tunnel & it was an entrance from Whitehall road through the tunnel. The middle section used to be in the open but has now been covered over by track since the station closed in 1958.

Richard Formby
Just a couple of points. I have a series of 20 maps drawn up by the council covering the whole of Leeds, and showing the proposed redevelopment of the city. The maps are dated 1949 I think, and show two different "shelters" on Hyde Park. Being immediately after the war this is no surprise. Incidentally, the proposed use of the area next to the park (where the circus and fair is held) is designated a Helicopter Landing Area. I'm not sure if there is a nuclear bunker in Lawnswood. I had a look around in the early 1980's and I remember it being more of an old 2nd World War facility. There is a nuclear bunker at Coney Park opposite the Airport. The place was up for rent about 10 years ago. I had a look-as you do- and was told it was still operational.

Alan F
I was born 1954 near roseville road we used to go to meanwood baths via what we called 5 mile tunnel it went from near the yorkshire traction bus garage to near meanwood baths we bent railings apart behind some advertising hoardings to get in I think it was some sort of storm drain with lots of drains & branches connecting into it. great fun exploring at the time. I no longer live in leeds & wonder if this tunnel still exists.

Chris Bell
In response to John's question about the bunker in Adel Woods I beleive it was used by a local builing society to store property deeds during the war, just in case the city offices were bombed. There is an article about it on the YEP website.

Hi Seadog, I used to work at the Town and Country Club (Now Creation) on Cookridge Street and also heard that there was a tunnel leading from the bearpit on Cardigan Road that led into the T&C when it was a circus. I went into the tunnel which you could access behind the kitchen in The Underground club but after a short distance it had been bricked up. I was told that one tunnel went to Millenium Square where there used to be a swimming pool, this was used to transport sealions to the circus which was then flooded for their performance. The other tunnel was used to transport wild animals to the circus as it was deemed too dangerous to have them in the city centre. I was also told that the T&C was haunted by the ringmaster who was found hanging in his dressing room, he was found by a young boy who lost his way looking for the toilets,he ran on to Cookridge Street in a panic only to be run over and killed. He too apparently haunts the same building, I remember seeing things when staying late at work there but this could be put down to the copious amounts of alcohol I was consuming as a perk of the job.

I worked a few years ago for Harvey Nichols on briggate,we used to enter via the side arcade of the victoria quater, when you open the door to enter you step down onto what seems to have been a narrow cobbled street and you can see the backs of where ryman stationers etc are. quite interesting to see i thought! why do they cover these things up? Just like the old tram tracks which they tarmac over on the headrow, but they refuse to stay hidden! you can see the bumps in the road!

As a teenager in the early 80's, a group of us went all the way through the tunnel starting in dean wood,i remember about 1/2 a mile in the ground was covered in orange sludge about 6 in deep which got deeper in places . we almost turned back more than once but made it all the way to the birstall end . Unfortunatly we had to come back because thwere was a locked door in the bricked up entrance.If you drive up asquith ave towards gildersome ,on the left side of the wood a sealed vent can be seen at ground level. by the way the orange sludge took a week or more to get off our legs.

Richard Hainsworth
YEP:Bunker was vital to the homes front By Howard Williamson THE mystery of a wartime concrete bunker found in overgrown north Leeds woodland has been solved. Speculation in the village of Adel was rife that it was a Second World War air raid shelter – and in a way that was true. But the real story has emerged thanks to some timely information from the Halifax Bank, which took over Leeds Permanent Building Society in 1995. Bosses have revealed that the bunker was a wartime store for the deeds of property worth nearly £100m, together with other building society records. These documents had been lodged in strong rooms at Permanent House in the centre of Leeds, where they were vulnerable to German air raids. Safer quarters were hard to find. The solution was to build the bunker in a four-acre quarry in Adel Woods, the plans being prepared in 1939. Watertight The bunker provided 25,000 cubic feet of storage space on two decks. It was built of reinforced concrete and had a watertight envelope of brick and asphalt. Heavy doors and grilles protected the entrances and an armoured steel door guarded the main entrance. It was essential to bring electricity to the bunker and a road up to the entrance had to be made so vehicles could take deeds to and from the safe. Boxes of deeds began to rust because of condensation and several methods of drying were tried before a cure was found. A book, A Survey of One Hundred Years of Leeds Permanent Building Society 1848-1948, states: "In spite of all the difficulties, the project was highly successful. "The best proof is the fact that Leeds Corporation stored many of its historic documents there, including the Charter granted to the city in the 17th century by King Charles II. "These, together with the deeds deposited in the safe, were in excellent condition when removed in September 1945. In 1946 the place was dismantled and bricked up." One writer to the Hidden Leeds website recalled a visit to the bunker in 1974: "The entrance had a small opening wide enough for three 12-year-olds to climb through and shimmy down a short knotted rope ladder. "My friends had previously had the courage to creep down two flights of concrete stairs, but never to go any further. Madness overtook this day and we went all the way to the bottom. We came across an underground room at least 100 yards long. "Every three or four yards were pillars that had what looked like concrete bunk-beds. The room was pretty dusty and looked to us like it was being kept in good condition. "We got a little scared as the batteries on our torches soon turned a dull faint amber and we quickly made our way up the stairwell." 21 October 2006

i worked with the bar cellar man of the whip pub,and can confirm streets/complete with shops underneath.

Does Anyone know what the shelter/mound is at the corner of Cookridge cricket ground?

Tracey McNeil
I have been visiting Leeds since i was 15 months old (i'm now 35) many fond memories of kirkstall abbey as my gran used to stay in 'norman row' I myself come from and stay in glasgow! but still visit when i can! don't ever change leeds!

Simon Harris
I remember about 2/3 years ago there was something in the Yorkshire Evening Post about an old air raid shelyer builders had found whilst modernising an old childrens playground in chapel allerton park near the tennis courts. Anyone know any more about this shelter? A good source of old pictures of leeds is where you can search a peticular area. Could someone also provide some further information about the underground bunkers in adel woods and could someone tell me the exact location of the old subway in Leeds (somewhere near the merrion centre???) Thank You!

fatboy no slim
horace the vents you saw on the left hand side of dewsbury road are vents to let methane out from underground as it is the site of an old refuse tip

Stevie B
I used to live on Clarence Road in Horsforth and as a child, used to explore the tunnel between newlay lane (about 300yds from the manor house, as I remember)and kirkstall Abbey - in the late '50's, you could not follow it all the way in one go, as parts had collapsed. My friends will also remember these "explorations"!!

Diane Law
In response to Graham Broughton's comment:- The orgnisation I work for currently owns The Manor House, not to dispel the rumors, but having recently undertaken some major repair work I suspect the tunnels are indeed the old victorian covert drainage systems which are at least 6 feet in diameter

luke jones
there is an old raliway track and bridge in dean woods in morley leeds

big s
under the lgi old buildings at great george street there is a tunnel which heads in the direction of city can enter the tunnel from inside the hospital and go down into an unlit tunnel which after so long comes to a brick wall which is plainly diffrent brick from the tunnel walls.

I used to work in a shop on Commercial Street that had a sub basement that linked under all the shops, spooky!

graham broughton
Iwrote about tradition of tunnels from Bramley Town St but Ilived for many years in New Farnley and there are stories although slightly different but equaly as spooky about strange things comming from the sky as in the time stones were falling from the sky over New Farnley during one summer. And also the house I lived in had ghosts I saw twice and both times was shocked (and im a spiritualist and used to this phenomena)this maybe not quite what hidden Leeds is about but I find it just as intriguing and would like to broaden the debate as hidden Leeds is something not many people know about.Just as the reader talked about ghosts in the showcase.I saw ghosts in Bramley ,in ginnels from the Lido cinemma to the Moorside estate and you will obviously think Im a nut but thats ok I would too if I didnt know me.If you print this I will widen the debate even more as I saw U.F.O.s over New Farnley and Bramley and have friends who saw ghosts in the tennis courts of New farnley. HIDDEN LEEDS just got wierder,if you dare print,but if you do I promise you you will be going for years.Graham,Thailand.

Very interesting. I lived and worked in Leeds for a short time in the 1980's and loved poking around old buildings. Most of the places mentioned like the Merrion Centre weren't around then, but I used to work at the old Tetley Brewery, just over the canal bridge, not far from the train station and the Haymarket. This story brings back a lot of memories. Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention, I was living in a squat before I got the job at Tetley's.

Is the first pic taken by Fast Egg near the Tetley Brewery? I used to work there about a lifetime ago and that bridge looks very familiar.

Lee White
Perhaps not quite so hidden, but does anyone know what the tunnel near the Armley gyratory was for? If you come from Leeds, just before you get to the viaduct going left towards Elland Road, near the grass, there is a small tunnel that leads to Whitehall Road. It appears to be a railway tunnel, but not sure....

There are streets under the Merrion Centre. The arcade running from Merrion Street to Morrisons was Rockingham Street whish was a bus terminus for services to Ireland Wood and Cookridge. The first parts of the centre in that arcade were built when buses were still using them.

graham broughton
Im living in Thailand now but I remember when I was a kid 50 years ago in bramley a tale of a hidden tunnel from the manor house on town st to kirkstall abbey and a couple of readers have mentioned similar.I wonder if these rumors are connected with the perscution of catholics by cromwell giving them escape routs to the abbey?Also I remember playing in woods behind kirkstal forge next to the cannal and the place was riddled with tunnels and shelters.Also just into bramley fall woods near the car park there are old stone parts of some building which look like centuries old nearly same as the abbey itself any idea what they may be.

David Craig
hi live in belle isle,not far from the bottom of middleton park, i was told by my nanna that middleton park and middleton woods, were bombed during wwII as it was thought to be a sercret ammunition base there, also there used to be a subway with toilets for pedestrians on briggate near where burger king is now,i alays remeber it being very scary going through it when i was a lid

In Seacroft, in East Leeds, where Parklands Girls' High School now stands there used to be an old massive estate house belonging to a very rich family I think. It had orchards and a large lake, but that was in the times when Seacroft was still a tiny village. I think it's a shame it's all gone. All that's left now is the gate house, but even though I think it's protected, it seems to be being damaged every time I pass. There used to be lots of skips in there that have just recently been removed but I think one half of the wall has been damaged in the process, not sure though.It's very sad. Also, if you go down Cardigan Road in Headingly, there's a bear pit where there used to be brown bears kept in Victorian times. It's got a plaque outside it telling you all about it. Not exactly hidden, but I didn't even know we had brown bears in leeds and I think it was something to do with a zoo leeds used to have, or something to do with the university.

Horace, The White Rose centre was built on an old water treatment works site, The vents may be ventilation for an underground reservoir associated with the former site. The shelter / metal hatch that Kaz below refers to in Hawksworth Woods is actually the entrance to an explosives store from when the woods were once quarried for stone. Also the so-called bunkers referred to been near Pollard Lane, Bramley are actually old cement works.

I have also been inside the bunker in adel woods, situated just off stairfoot lane, ls16, near headingley golf course. i visited this place some years ago but it has now been blocked and sealed completely. i would be very interested to know what this was originally and what it is used for now. the entrance seems to be in a good state of repair and appears to have been maintained recently. what the hell is it?! can anyone help?

I know of at least 3 WWII bomb shleters in and around Rodley, Leeds. Sad to see - lots of graffiti and fire damage from local kids.

i think i know of a shelter in kirkstall between the forge(kirkstall) and horseforth, its in the woods under a small wooden bridge, near the beck and concrete pond, its a little hatch partially blocked off, the small metal hatch is stuck due to the mud. i would love to know whats in there, i would go down but its just a bit too dark. also in regard to the shelters at the bottom of pollard lane, i've been there before, its a weird place. another shelter i've seen is in stanningley where the rugby league club used to be , i don't know if it has been built but i know it was very big and goes deep underground, it used to be a derelict area for years with just bricks every where anda rugby club just in the middle, it was just a hole in the floor

I've driven to Morley via dewsbury road past thw white rose centre and noticed the trainline on the left, but I also noticed an opening behind the bushes and some little brick air vents popping up in the fields. Has anyone any idea what this might be. Tempted to go and have a look as it seems quite larg whatever it is. Also I noticed when the water people were doing some work, there is a great big tunnel under roseville road. They dug it up but as I was walking past one day some kids had prised a gap in the screens, I had a look a d could see what looked like a red brick arch, on closer inspection I could here the gushing of water but this was defo a large tunnel and looked to be very the width of the road. Any ideas on that?

This info is exellent. Im going exploring as soon as work is over! Apparently, the tunnel that people have spoken about between Horsforth and Kirkstall abbey comes out in the cellar of the "outside inn" on Town street. There is also an air raid shelter in the woodlands owned by Cookridge hospital. I went into it as a child and it certainly went down a couple of levels through hatches at opposite diagonal ends of the floor. The shelyer/bunker is still there now and although the woods are private, you can easily get access if you walk along the path next to the fence in the public section. Does anybody have any info on the old Thorpe Arch site? Loads of old bunkers and rail lines are there, even an old station and its platform still stand.

in regards to the train tunnel from dean woods, morley that leads to Showcase cinema's Birstall, when i was younger we used to always play around the sealed up tunnel which had a small opening at the bottom, i never got all the way through because I have a fear of bats which there were plenty, it does come out at showcase and the urban legend was that a train crashed there killing everyone on board and at a certain time you can see and hear the phantom crash. my friend used to work at showcase cinema and had never heard of this story but knew about a supposedly haunted screening room within the cinema that they were told not to talk about but he said he always heard voices when there was no-one there and also train noises!

I read this open mouthed - intriguing!!! As a kid growing up in Cookridge prior to the building of Cookridge golf club a few of us "explored" Cookridge Hall, with the ghost stories etc we didn't stay long! Some friends of mine also explored the bunker at Adel Woods and told us all about it - since unfortunately blocked up. Also - from Boddington Hall playing fields there is a small tunnel which takes you under the ring road and into the hollies. Be careful of sudden dips in the ceiling and steps down - a hilarious experience but nevertheless the bumps on our heads were pretty painful!

Lee White
In Adel woods there are two known bunkers, the first can be found by walking out of the stairfoot lane car park straight over the road. I was told this was a document store for the Leeds Building Society, but I went in with a couple of friends, and it went down two levels, and I don't know if it went further down. It appeared to, but the lower levels were blocked off. The other one I know of if on the Meanwood valley trail. If you walk out of the cow tunnel under the ring road. and follow the path, you come to a stile. Leave the path and go down the hill, there are what seem to be the remains of Scotland or Smithy Mills. There is a small archway there that goes down and looks to open up into a room with a door at the end. If anyone has any ideas of this please do let me know. I would love to know what this was originally!

Phill Beckwith
I can't see the logic of having any Nuclear bunkers within the city centre. It is a well known fact that had there been a Nuclear holocaust,Leeds would have recieved a direct central hit with a missile tipped with a 3 Megaton Nuclear device. That would be the equilivent of 3 million tonnes of Tri-Nitro-Toluene (TNT) exploding 1000 foot above the city centre. Central Leeds would have vapourised instantly,leaving just a huge crater. No bunker would have sustained such a massive explosion.

jeff tonge

Luke Earnshaw
i used to work at the subway (fast food place) on new briggate where the kitchen area is underneath the seating part there is a door leading into a corridoor, to the right it led to the street to the left it led to a maze of other corridoors and doors which i presume is the back of the other shops, also a few went in the direction of the church thats near to it and towards merrion center

alf dwyer
As an apprentice at Whitehall Road Power Station in 1954, I remember going for walks on rainy days through cable tunnels leading somewhere under Queen Street.There were racks on the walls containing 6.6kV cables. At Welling ton Street there was a ventilator up at strret level. It was cylindrical and resembled a large post box.

theres hidden bunkers at the bottom of pollard lane in bramley. go to the bottom over the canal bridge then over train bridge then you come to a dead end with a farm on your right. but on your left theres a small muck road that goes back on your self behind the tree line. theres parts of a old building. dont know what it was but it wasnt just any building its a funny shape its like two slopes at one side that meet in the middle then theres a gap :-S hard to explain. but theres 3 bomb shelters round there. then back on pollard lane where there doin construction now that used to be an old factory and theres some bomb shelters near there.. also theres a small tunnel leading from near the dead end it looks to have been filled but theres a 2ft gap then it opens up looks like its heading towards kirkstall forge (factorys)

the entrance to one of the underground service tunnels is in the grounds of the electricity substation off whitehall road,near the aire street junction.unfortunately it is only accessible to electric board worker heads off in the direction of city square with plenty of locked doors along its isnt spectacular.

With reference to your comments, James, you are correct, the stretch of Clarendon Road between Woodhouse Lane and Moorland Road was called Reservoir Street, but that was in recognition of the large open stretch of water that used to exist on Hyde Park at the edge of the road. Must have been some site back in the lat 30's when it was there. As far as I am aware, the only nuclear bunker in the Leeds area was at the government buildings oposite Lawnswood crematorium. The bunker is still there (spot it on google earth) but is apparently partly flooded and in not very good repair. Would like more details of the Morley one if possible. I have seen the cells that James talks about, also don't forget that it isn't so long since the Town Hall was a working court and Police station.Anight in those cells would make you think twice about misbehaving!

There is a massice nuclear bunker complex running parellel to the leeds manchester railway line under morley. It is 1500 feet deep and classified. It is known as the arc and would house the civic archives and a choosen few.

There are ten Victorian prison cells directly under the front steps of the Town Hall which are very cold, dark and creepy. They still have the shackles for chains on the benches in there. The council open them up to the public when they can, so keep an eye out for any announcements in the press! It is well worth the trip. There is definitely a reservoir under Hyde Park, directly opposite Henry Price flats. The top of Clarendon Road actually used to be called Reservoir Road, I think. That doesn't mean that there isn't air raid shelters too! I was once lucky enough to get the keys to Saint Margaret's of Antioch, the red brick church on Cardigan Road. The plain exterior belies a really beautiful interior. The people who own it do their best to maintain it, & it would probably have fallen down or been knocked down now if they hadn't bought it, but it is still sad to see such a beautiful place slowly going to ruin... But then... would strange people like us be so interested in them if they weren't ruined / dark / hidden???

I went in the merrion centre cinema about 15 years ago and took some photo's of the projection room. The projectors were still there then. All the seating had been taken out. I was given the wooden board that stood on the balcony outside advertising opening times etc. It was quite errie and sad inside. I remember going there myself in the 1960s. Films I remember seeing most were The Great Race.( I still have the ticket stubs from that. West side story and The Magnificent men in there flying machines. Happy days Angela

Lesley Cox
Fascinating compulsory reading!! I was born and raised in Leeds and was around in the 1960s when the Merrion Centre used to have buses going into it!! The bus stop in the Merrion Centre was right outside the Wimpey Burger shop. I was also a member of the Saturday morning club at the Odeon Merrion Centre and I also saw the 70s pop group Slade there in the 1970s - but they only came on stage for about 5-10 minutes because everyone rushed forward to mob their idols. There is a lot to old Leeds - my mother was brought up in Prosperity Street in Woodhouse - a very prosperous district of Leeds up to about 1960 - every Sunday my mother and I would have a little morning ritual of walking by the factories and on to the path that went across the bottom of Sugarwell Hill - at that time I think it was part of a farm - but during August/September time the bushes that lined this path was covered in Blackberries which we use to pick. At the end of the path, we then turned left and went down the path, over the stream that was at the bottom and across the road and up the steps onto Woodhouse Ridge, we continued right on the path, gradually getting to the upper path with its high wall and then turned left down a path with cottages at each side and underneath a 'wishing bridge'. If we followed the pathway this would eventually bring us out to Woodhouse Moor which was opposite Hyde Park. Looking down the road from Woodhouse Moor towards the University slightly to the left was a somewhat Gothic Building - which I heard from my mother that had tunnels in the cellars underneath that connected to the Bunkers in Hyde Park (whether this is true or not I don't know).

Speaking of air raid shelters, I remember one, or a concrete structure very similar, being at the bottom Woodhouse Ridge, If you follow the footpath by the side of the cricket ground and cross the little bridge over Meanwood Beck, to your right as I recall is a mound of soil, now covered in grass, if you walk to the top of this, at the bottom on the otherside should be a pond with a fence, entering a factory site of some sort. There was a whole in the fence, climb through and to the top of the mound within and you should see a big metal door, that was open before. You could walk in down a corridor entrance about 5 metres and then it opened up into two rooms about 6ft by 6ft, one to the left and one to the right. next time i'm in Leeds i'll go check it out. Anyone know of air raid shelters around Woodhouse, or any evidence of the quarry, where Quarry Mount Primary stands.

Hi Egg The shelters were if my memory serves me accessed by entering the woods from Dean Court and were towards Roundhay Road (so if you stood where Tescos is now, the shelters would have been to your left). There was an 'arena' of packed earth in the woods where we would play football. most of the shelters were towards the Gledhow Wood Road side of the arena.

Fast Egg
Hi Stuart The Tesco site used to be the Blackburn aircraft factory in WWII. I guess the shelters were for the workers as it would have been seen as a prime target. A little while ago it was in the news as a homeless person was badly injured in a fire there. They had been sleeping in a tent in a "shelter". I've had a look there and there is plenty of evidence (pre-formed concrete sections) of old shelters, but I couldn't find anything resembling a complete shelter. I'd be interested if you have any more info on where they were in the woods! I'd guess towards the bottom end.

I've heard that Birstall and Morley sit on top of an extensive coal mining network and that many of the mining shafts/tunnels still remain. This explains why there are gas vents up at the showcase cinema. These presumbly prevent the build up of flamable and toxic gasses and as a result avoid the danger of half of west Leeds being wiped off the map!

I grew up in Gledhow, North East Leeds and we use to play in the woods that lay between Gledhow Wood Road and the Gipton Pub. Now I believe it is a tesco supermarket and a DIY store. The woods were riddled with what we at the time called air raid shelters. Does anyone know what they were and if there are any still there?

Hi, I can try to clear somethings up regarding the rumours on Leeds City centre, Under millenium Sq was something even before development, this is proved by the fact that when completing the new square now major digs were undertaken, however it has all these undergroung facilities, they filled in whatever was there initially. There is an underground bunker in Leeds, this is located under City Square, with access from the LGI, Town Hall, Civic Hall and no doubt the Queens Hotel, where Royalty and PMs stay. This has been and is still in operation, this I found when I worked at the Civic Hall and explored areas I should not have done. If anyone has more info on this please help fill the jigsaw of hidden Leeds.

Garry Denton
Hi what a fascinating and interesting article, I was born in Harehills and lived there for 30 years but now live in Lincolnshire for the past 9, I often think back when we were kids when we use to actually play down in these underground suers, we entered via a couple of places one was Cherry Row just off Skinner Lane and the other was Henbury Street near Regent Street, if I remember rightly they lead to crown point ? We must have been idiots or is ignorance just bliss???? Thankfully we all survived and I think the rest are still living. Great site I have now book marked it and will be keeping an eye on things. Just a thought why dont you do audios or even videos similar to how the evening post did the old leeds books. keep up the good work, regards Garry

The tunnel is from the old Farnley -Birstall Railway which closed in 1965. The Birstall end was back filled to support the weight of the motorway. I believe the old air raid shelter that people have refered to on Hyde Park is in fact a covered resevoir. I would be fascinated to know where in Adele Woods the underground bunker is. Two new ones, the old concrete buildings at Sharp Lane Robin Hood that were the control roons for electricity and the telephone exchange in the event of a nuclear war back in the 1950's

andrew b
There is a huge tunnel in the woods in the morley area. apparently it is about 2/3 miles long and it supposedly comes out at the showcase cinemas in birstall. i have ventured into the tunnel but not very far. i think it must have been used for trains or something because the walls are really sutty. i guess the radius of the tunnel is about 15 meters roughly. scary place.

Leo (excaliborg)
I've been into the tunnels under leeds uni, they are pretty cool to explore. I took a lot of photos and am planning on starting a website soon just for leeds. Also checked out the abandoned cinema in the merrion centre but couldn't get access.

Adel Woods - I went into the underground bunker with a couple of friends way back in 1974 when the entrance had a small opening, wide enough for three 12 years olds to climb through & shimmy down a short knotted rope ladder. My friends had prevously had the courage to creep down about two flights of concrete stairs but had never had the courage to go any further. Madness overtook this day and we went all the way to the bottom. what we found has been with me for over thirty years and been on my mind ever since. What we came across was a large underground room at least 100yrds long (probably a lot bigger but it's had to judge the length of concrete building when you're scared silly. Every three or four yards were pillars that had what looked like concrete bunk-beds, four or five high all the way from the floor to the ceiling. the room was pretty dusty and looked to us like it was being kept in good condition by somebody over the years, we could see steel doors towards the far end of the room, the place looked like it hadn't been used for years as I can't recall any signs of recent use. We got a little scared as the batteries on the cheap torches we had soon turned a dull faint amber and we quickly made our way up the stairwell pledging to return. We didn't as school kids but I've been back to the woods over the years and can see that the entrance has been sealed up but there is heavily re-inforced steel door with a fairly recent padlock at the entrance so it's been visited over the past 10-20 years. I've no idea what the area was used for and can't find anything on the web or the local archives - does anyone else have any idea or did anyone else do the crazy thing kids do and enter themselves over the years???? Jamie C

Linden Woods
I remember a rumour that there was a medieval tunnel running between the Manor House at Newlaithes Horsforth and Kirkstall Abbey

I know this stopped being added to ages ago but it is such an interesting topic I wanted to respond! I know that last year the Merrion Centre Cinema was being surveyed for a possible reopening, but I believe the plans were abandoned because the cinema was beyond repair. Also in the vicinity of the Merrion Centre, I always find the abandoned escalators/subway fascinating!

Ollie Parker
I can remember the tiled out toilets, now buried under city square. My Dad told me about the subteranian mini-trains that carried mail from the Post Ofice and the station to other parts of the city.

Garry Hingley
MyGrandmother used to live on Lower Brunswick Street and we used to walk to Leeds market along Bridge Street under the bridge carrying the York Road. There are heavy cast iron doors built into the underside of the bridge which leads to a void under the road which some used as an air raid shelter, or so she reckoned! Theres also a tale that the little church on Bridge Street (opposite the labour exchange) once had Harry Belafonte sing there.

Very interesting! Keep up the good work everyone. A guided tour of "Hidden Leeds" would be a must see!! I too have heard of the bunkers under Hyde Park and i remember seeing the front of an old cinema in the Merrion Centre years ago too. Sounds like there's loads of hidden Leeds yet to be discovered, i attended an old school near to the city centre which i heard had lots of hidden tunnels in it from WW1! Sounds like there are lots of hidden areas under the city centre, i wonder if there are some around the original part of Leeds General Infirmary as I thought this was very old too...

Re. the air raid shelter on Hyde Park - there are four manhole covers in the park, covered with concrete. Two lead to the tunnels and two just lead down to air vents. They are all in the corner of the park where Hyde Park and Moorland Road meet.

I heard many years ago, of a large tunnel leading from the rear of the Zoological Garden's Bear Pits at Headingley to the vicinity of the Town Hall.If it had existed,it would have been sealed up or destroyed by the building of the Inner ring road in 1957. I have also heard that a much older tunnel linked Mabgate to Leeds Parish Church.

at ccokridge golf corce there is old ruins of a mental isilum and also some sort of tunnal and a kind of bunker its all fanced off.

There is a tunnel that goes from horsforth to kirkstall abbey, I know where the entrance is but i have only ventured about 50 yards inside, the entrance / doorway is later built but the tunnel within seems to be medieval

The air raid shelter in Hyde Park is to the right of the path as you come up from Brudenell Road. It appears as an unnatural hump.

there are a huge network of tunals under the thorntans arcade, mi dad went down once as he had to lay some cables. he saw locked doors everywhere!

I used to attend St.Benedict's RC middle school in Bramley(now a modern housing development). There was a rumour that there was a tunnel that led from the trap door on the stage to Kirstall Abbey(which was and is still just a stone sthrow away from the site. Don't know how true the latter is, but we got caught trying to investigate.

Helen Wood
My mother worked as a telephonist at the Post Office building in City Square and although she told me of going down into the basement during raids she never told me that it was bombed which I think she would have remembered. the only bomb damage I remember hearing about was the destruction of the old Woodpecker pub on York Road.

Fast Egg
Cheers Dan! Great piece of info.

Christine Cheesebrough
In the 1960s I used to go to the Saturday morning club at the Odeon Merrion Centre where my mum was an usherette. She used to save us front row seats. Charlie Close was the manager and wearing his tuxedo and bow tie he compered little competitions for us kids prior to the films.

Hi Fast Egg, I have spoken to a friend's dad who also grew up in the area and has done some research. He says that it was built originally to store important documents in, should we ever be invaded.

Fast Egg
Hi Dan, I've looked at that structure and think it may have been for anti-aircraft munitions storage in WWII. Lancaster bombers were built at the AVRO factory at Yeadon and there were at least two heavy anti-aircraft batteries in the north Leeds area. One still remains almost intact. It could also be related to Golden Acre Park which was taken over by the army in WWII and used for training and live firing exercises. I've even seen a spent bullet stuck in a tree! Stephen, Briggate certainly had some underground toilets and I believe pedestrian subways, so it sounds like you were looking at these, fascinating stuff. I've always wondered if they were still there. I think there are some pics on Leodis as you say. Thanks for the info.

I have lived in Leeds all my life but grew up in the Adel area. When we were kids we used to go up to Adel woods. One day we came across what we thought was an old air raid shelter, being kids we went in to discover what appeared to be a massive storage area over a number of floors. The entrance has now been filled with concrete. Any ideas of what it might be as it has puzzled me for ages.

Stephen sinnett , boden, Norhern Sweden, Ex -Leeds
Hi , i lived in leeds for 12 happy years , when i first moved down from Scotland , i worked at H-Samuel on has been redevloped twice since i worked there but if you go down to the cellar , it appears to be like most other store cellars , storing empty boxes and leaflets etc , but to the right of the celler ,which i believe points in the direction of commercial street there is a door and this leads to a complex series of victorian looking tunnels , old toilets etc , unfortunatly i was to scared to explore these tunnels , apart from that my old boss who shall remain nameless "morton" was a bit of a tyrant, but really had a nice side to him, didn´t want us dowen there too long as we had to take more money upstairs ...but upstairs is just as frightning, up in the roof area with the windowns looking out to briggate....very very cold up there ...someone doesn´t want us to be there ....but i agree , leeds city council should explore these such places , edinburgh has expoited the vaults as a world famouse tourist attractions...going back to the undergound system , i believe there is still train tracks leading from the post office at city square along to the main train station ,there was a major bunker there during world war 2 but sadly got caved in in a bombing raid ...leek at the leodis website for all the old pics of leeds, facinating...ahhh i miss leeds now.

Joe Gilmore
Hi sarah, very interesting question! I've been wondering the same for quite some time. C'mon, where's that bunker?

Where precisely is the WWII bunker under Hyde Park?

I have spent ages looking for topics relating to hidden leeds. There must be loads of info out there but it is not easy to find. Can we have some more?! What about pictures such as the arches under the granary wharf? The Hidden dam etc?

Steve Cook
I too remember the slants and also the what was locally known as the "Jackos" Does anyone remember the air raid shelters,near Reynolds and Bransons on Servia Hill? It was near the Stone stairway that allowed you access to Woodhouse Street where an episode of Follyfoot was filmed

Fascinating. I'd love to see more pictures, and a guided tour of hidden Leeds would be even better.

Paul Amatt
Excellent, very interesting and must warrant a book on this subject.

john peter gibb
i think this subject is facinating, a dear friend of mine used to work at the queens hotel some years ago,she was apparantly shown some sort of tunnel system/loading area,in the basement,perhaps stemming back when goods etc came by river trade

paul senior
What about a secret tunnel that went from Horsforth down to the Abbey? And apparently through my garden?

paul senior
I used to go to the saturday morning club at the merrion centre Odeon. I've often wondered If it is still there. The space must be worth fortune?

walter Earnshaw
Very interesting. Please let us have more of the history of early Leeds and surrounds

Well, possibly noone will check back on this board, but i am in the stages of completing a large body of work into exactly this area. As a final year degree student, I am aware of several more locations not mentioned here and am keen to speak to fast egg or anyone else interested to compare notes and the extensive photographs i have compiled. A fascinating sphere of local history. [BBC Leeds: sorry we can't publish email addresses]

It's not particularly hidden (well, it is if you never go down there), but I always find the Granary Wharf river channels fascinating. Particularly the fact that the whole train station is built on top of the river..

Rajiv Thukral
I would love to visit these hidden places as I am interested what lies beneath. I was talking to this worker who deals with sewers and he says in the City Centre in Leeds if you go underground theres a massive space and you could even fit a twin decker buses down there, thats how big it is he said. There should be a admission for people that want to take an adventure like myself.


I used to work at the MVC store on King Edward Street, it's since closed and is now Jigsaw. I believe years ago it was tearooms with dancing etc, it's got the big domed ceiling with sweeping staircases. Anyway there were huge cellars that reached right under the store and beyond, which I had fun exploring. Nobody else really went down because of the 'ghost' rumours. At the end of the cellars were doors which I believe came out somewhere under the Victorian Quarter, you could see an old tiled floor through one of the doors. I was always intrigued by it. Also I've often heard a rumour of a tunnel linking the Palace and Mabgate pubs.

john hield
There exists somewhere in the Civic Hall, an architects model of the City Square underground train station which would be part of the proposed Leeds underground railway system. This model showed the escalator entrances to the trains that would run under City Square and along Boar Lane. I believe that another underground station was planned for Briggate near the Debenhams store. Two single decker trams were purchased in the early 1950's and it was the intention that these would one day be linked and used as an underground train system. However, a Labour Council was elected and they thought that buses were more flexible and cancelled the Leeds underground train system.

Mark Wilson
I'd like to know if readers recall the 'Snakepit' which was an illegal drinking den underneath the Scotsman pub and entered via the amusement arcade. Also, it was possible to go from the The Whip to the other end of Boar Lane without going outside, but how? I was also once acquainted with the complex of tunnels and ducts underneath the University of Leeds Physics and Admininstration Building. In fact, I nearly broke my neck down there.

Several years ago I heard rumours from a friend who was working there at the time of a tunnel linking the Town and Country Club on Cookridge Street, with Leeds Train Station. The suggested original purpose of the tunnel was for the transfer of animals back when the T&C was a circus. Has anyone else heard such rumours?

There is an extensive network of maintenance tunnels under Leeds University, connecting Halls of Residence to enormous boiler rooms, via steamy, half-lit tunnels. There's also a sizeable WWII bunker under Hyde Park.

Fast Egg
Hi to Roy I think we fulfilled your boyhood ambition as we made it all the way under the city to emerge on the banks of the Aire! Fascinating to know that it was known as The Slants. We christened it Scrabblers H***hole. Lost count of how many times we started sliding down those slanting stones into the water! Will be making some more trips soon, hope they make it onto here.

Andrew White
Sometime during the late 1980's I saw a newspaper re-print (I think?) of the underground system proposed for Leeds just before the Second World war. The central station was under City Square (there was a cut away drawing) with connections to the main station, and there were maps of the routes proposed. Unfortunately it was abandoned because of the war. Has anyone seen the same article?

Roy Chaplin
I recognised the picture of the Lady Beck culvert. As kids we used to walk down the beck from Meanwood. Each obstacle had a nick name. The picture was the entrance to "The Slants" the most feared of all as it went on for what seemed for ever. No one I knew as a kid ever made it through the Slants.

Scarlett Cooper
What an intriguing feature! It is absolutely fascinating how much of our very own city of which we know of little; or do not see. I agree with the other comment; some more photos would be wonderful.

D J Hebden
Please can we see more of this as it is our past, how our city developed.

Dan Wootton
Great article. It would be good to see more photos, especially the frontages under Commercial Street.

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