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You are in: Leeds > History > Local history > Remembering Quarry Hill

Quarry Hill flats

Part of Quarry Hill flats

Remembering Quarry Hill

Una White remembers her early childhood in the Quarry Hill flats, one of Leeds great demolished landmarks.

When Una White took part in Tyneside's Great North Run she broke her journey back home, to Kent, by dropping in to Leeds the city of her birth. She decided to have a look at the Quarry Hill area of the city and was amazed by what she saw.

Una used to live in the giant housing scheme of Quarry Hill flats and when she saw the changes she dropped in to the BBC - the new  building is situated on the area that the Quarry Hill flats once covered - and took BBC Radio Leeds presenter Steve Bailey on an impromptu guided tour. What Una calls "a trip down memory lane."

Una was born in St James's hospital in 1942 and then lived in the flats for five years. Her address during that time was 129, Oastler House.

As Una tells Steve "It's a weird feeling to know that underneath this are foundations of where I lived."

She remembers the benches in the communal play areas where people could sit and enjoy the fresh air. However she also remembers the poignant pictures of the demolished flats "... reduced to great piles of rubble, stark pieces of metal and concrete sticking up...".

The Quarry Hill area is now home to the BBC, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Leeds College of Music and the Benefits Agency in Quarry House.

The Quarry Hill scheme was ready for habitation in 1938 although work continued for a time after. The flats were apparently modelled on Karl Marx Hof flats in Vienna and built by Leeds City Council.

It was the largest housing scheme in the country at the time and aimed to incorporate the latest ideas and techniques. Flats had solid fuel ranges, electric lighting, a state-of-the-art refuse disposal system and communal facilities.

The steel frame and concrete-clad construction was to prove disastrous and in 1978 the whole complex was demolished.

Get in touch with BBC Leeds with your memories of the Quarry Hill flats:

Your comments:

I'll never forget the day in 1966 when I moved to Leeds and first saw this very imposing structure. At the time I lived near Roundhay Park and as I didn't work in town, I never really met many folks who lived in the flats. This interview did a great job of revealing some of the architectural and social highlights surrounding the place. Kudos...
Mike Hollister
Augusta, Georgia

last updated: 13/07/2008 at 09:22
created: 03/10/2007

You are in: Leeds > History > Local history > Remembering Quarry Hill

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