Mark’s History: From tanneries to tobacco and floods – the rich past (and future) of Thyssen Krupp site

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Photo: Mark Stevenson

I read a while ago in the WLD that this place is going to be hundreds of flats and the first thing I thought was how long before they are flooded and what happens if it floods whilst one of those tall cranes is in place? writes Mark Stevenson.

View of the site from Canal Road. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Over the years this old building has been many things. It was built in 1892, and on the 1908 maps it is marked down as ‘Viaduct Tanneries’. 

Inside the old building. Photo: Mark Stevenson

By the 1950s it was a tobacco factory. One thing I find ironic is Burley Bridge Mills next door to it was making surgical instruments at the time. One place was making a product that kills us, the other to help cure us.

Large parts of the site are now empty. Photo: Mark Stevenson

In the 1970s it was a clothing factory. Thyssen Krupp Woodhead Ltd were the last occupants of this site on Kirkstall Road from 1999 to 2015, when it was forced to close due to flooding from the River Aire. 

Graffiti adorns the walls of the old building. Photo: Mark Stevenson

I say that Thyssen Krupp were the last occupants but that’s not technically true. When I was there it was occupied by a handful of homeless people.

Derelict – the building used to be a tannery, among other things. Photo: Mark Stevenson


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