Mark’s History: Aviaries estate in Armley has a rich heritage and character

Aviary House on Aviary Road
Aviary House on Aviary Road. Photo: Mark Stevenson

I was reading an article about the tree felling on the Aviaries Estate in Armley. It mentions that some people see it as one of the most deprived areas in the country. Whilst that may be true, it is not deprived when it comes to history and character, writes Mark Stevenson.

The oldest part of the estate is Victorian dating back to 1886 and at various times up to the 1930’s houses were still being built in the area.

The old dairy building. Photo: Mark Stevenson

So the oldest house is 134 years old and the youngest is around 90 years old, something you might not realise when you look at the houses.

The old toilet yards on the Aviaries. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Many on the outside at least still have their original features. Most are back to backs and some still have the old yard where their toilets would have been.

Also the original brick and iron work, even the street signs, some are placed and written like no others that I have seen in Leeds (although I just might not have seen them yet). 

Cecil Mount, Armley. Photo: Mark Stevenson
Chilling out. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The land itself was once owned by the likes of the Gott’s and the Tetley’s and around half a dozen or so more people.

It can’t have been easy to get them all to give their land up for housing even back then.

I doubt you will find any street art to beat what the Aviaries has tucked away in its streets in other estates in Leeds.

Welcome to Armley. Photo: Mark Stevenson
Street art in Armley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

At least 21 men from the Aviaries died in World War 1. Many times I have walked the area and said in my head: “Look at that” at some feature or street art that I noticed but on the occasion I was there last it was more like “WTF!?” as the letter box dating from the Reign of Queen Victoria had been completely vandalised.

armley vandalised post box
Vandalised post box dating back to Victorian times. Photo: Mark Stevenson


  1. My aunt lived in Arley Street just above the Aviary’s…Seeing the picture of the dairy took me back to the 1940/50s when I would visit and go round to the dairy for a “Gill” of milk…My Aunt and uncle lived there until the 1970s They were Alec and Mille Brown they had a son called Geoffrey who went down South to live and I believe became an MP.. Or something high up in politics.
    They were first people I knew to own a car and a 9″ television set in a polished cabinet…It was my favourite place to visit as a child

  2. I was born at 9 Aivary Row. It was a 2 bedroom terraced house I lived there with my parents and 5 siblings.
    Three of us shared a bedroom with our parents and the other three shared the other bedroom.
    Was lovely when we moved to a four bedroom house in Ireland Wood with a big garden two toilets one inside and one in the porch outside and a bathroom

  3. That Post Box might date back to Victorian times but it was not situated there. It Used to be up Lodge Road on corner with Salisbury Terrace, outside Fred Hurst’s Fish and Chip shop. As a kid we would get a bag of chips from Fred’s and sit on the wall to eat them. Then we would screw up the paper and post it in the Post Box. We were a bad lot. Poor postman must have hated us. LoL !!


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