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HomeNewsInside the crumbling and mouldy walls of historic Cliff House

Inside the crumbling and mouldy walls of historic Cliff House

This is what the inside of a historic Wortley mansion gutted by fire in 2017 looks like.

Cliff House is a grade II listed villa originally built in 1846, which is is one of 18 buildings or monuments in West Leeds on the council’s Heritage at Risk register.

A mystery urban explorer who runs the Lost Places & Forgotten Faces Facebook page has shared his pictures with West Leeds Dispatch following a recent visit to the site off Fawcett Lane, labelling it a ‘deathtrap’. The explorer said:

“Some rooms within the house are actually fairly undamaged. One of the bathrooms was almost brand new looking. That being said, certain other parts of Cliff House are an absolute deathtrap.

“The ceiling near the front door seems to be hanging on by literally splinters, so standing directly under it to take a few snaps of the staircase was somewhat unnerving. The group of pigeons that were flapping around on it didn’t help to calm my fears either. Oh, and the place is absolutely caked in mould.

“The fire-damaged spiral staircase and the dusty mosaic floor were most certainly the highlight of this quick explore.”

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Here are some of the photos taken on the visit:

All photographs are used with the photographer’s permission.

Cliff House history

Formerly known as Western Flatts House, Cliff House was built in a restrained classical style by Joseph Cliff, an extremely wealthy Leeds businessman. 

Mr Cliff was well known in Leeds for his business enterprises, and he was also a councillor for the Hunslet Ward. He was influential in establishing the Upper and Lower Wortley Cemetery and Chapel in Oldfield Lane.

Between 1966 up until it closed on the 31st August 1998, Cliff House was known as Newcliffe House School, a community special school and a reform school for young male adolescents.

In March 2017, the house suffered a devastating arson attack which destroyed a vast majority of the interior. Investigations revealed that five separate fires were started in the upper levels of the property. 

The Dispatch‘s Mark Stevenson looked at Cliff House’s history here as part of his Mark’s History series looking at West Leeds buildings at risk.


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