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HomecommentMark's History: Kirkstall Viaduct (the best looking in Leeds?)

Mark’s History: Kirkstall Viaduct (the best looking in Leeds?)

As mills go, Temple Mill in Holbeck has to be one of the best looking in Leeds, writes Mark Stevenson.

Temnple Works in Holbeck. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Its look is said to be based on the temple at Antaeopolis and Temple of Horus at Edfu in Egypt.

It is said that the main building was the largest single room in the world when it was first opened in the 1840s and remained so until Crystal Palace was built for the Great Exhibition 13 years later.

Historic Kirkstall Viaduct. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The mill was owned by the Marshall family. One of them, Henry Cowper Marshall, was chairman of the Leeds and Thirsk Railway company.

When the company announced its intended location for the new Headingley Railway Station he told them along with Christopher Beckett, a director of the company, to think again.

There was no way they were having a railway line at the bottom of their garden. So the station was built in Kirkstall but still called Headingley Station, even though it was a mile or so up the road.

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Just like in the old cowboy films, it is a time of opportunity when the railroad comes to town and, most importantly, a chance for people to get rich or richer.

The feelgood factor did not last long because a viaduct was planned and it was thought people wanting to get away from the city would not wish to live near it. So ‘affordable’ housing and factories were built instead. The viaduct in question is Kirkstall Viaduct (best looking in Leeds) built in 1849.

Spanning the River Aire: Kirkstall Viaduct. Photo: Mark Stevenson

One thing I have always wondered about Viaduct Road is where it gets its name from. Is it from the very obvious Kirkstall Viaduct or is it from the less obvious viaduct underneath the road?


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