The History Of Leeds Kirkgate Market

It’s time for us to chat to you all about the famous Leeds Kirkgate Market which is situated just underneath our offices. The city centre of Leeds has become more and more of a tourist attraction since bigger brands have moved in to the city, giving it more of a polished look.

The beautiful building of Victoria Gate which is located opposite the market opened in 2016 and in 2017 it was voted the Best Shopping Centre in the world at the prestigious International Awards in France.

One of the biggest brands around the UK began their life right here at the market – have you guessed who it is yet? That’s right, Marks & Spencer. What’s lovely to know is that even though they have had huge success, they haven’t forgotten their roots and still have a stall in the market.

Just like the city of Leeds, the market has had a tough time over the years. The market has been based here in its current form for the past 120 years and a recent £12 million investment will see it reach a whole new era.

When the market first opened in 1857 it became the largest indoor market in Europe. Designed by the famous architect Joseph Paxton who also designed the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.  It’s safe to say that the market has gone through a lot of heartache over the years, especially during World War II.  Kirkgate Market suffered many bombing raids, but the market remained to stay open even when fires raged through the hall’s years later – destroying many stalls. No one lost their lives that day, only their livelihood and businesses. You couldn’t keep down the peoples spirits as three days later, the market re-opened.

In the modern era of 2013, Leeds City Council invested in the future of Kirkgate Market with a whopping £12 million to start a plan of renovation work. The plans also included a large events space where shoppers can enjoy music and eat at a various number of food halls. The market opens at 8:00am until 5:30pm and what’s great and very encouraging news is that there have been new trading schemes which gives low risk rent free periods to new start up businesses.

I personally couldn’t be happier to have the market underneath our work offices and I have been super interested in learning all about the history of the market in doing research for this post. I didn’t realise it had been here for so long and had experienced all the heartache back in the war days. I always support local businesses down in the market and I think it would be great for everyone to do so. They have an incredible food hall which our Paid Media Executive Gary can’t get enough off, he should have shares in the food hall, as he’s there literally every day.

Let us know if you have visited our beautiful Leeds Kirkgate Market and what your favourite stalls are.

Victoria Thompson - Social Media Manager & blogger extraordinaire