Mark’s History: Kirkstall’s old police station

Kirkstall police station location
Photo: Mark Stevenson

Kirkstall Police Station was at the junction of Abbey Road and Commercial Road on the site of the old Kirkstall, Otley and Shipley Trust Turnpike Toll/Chain Bar, writes Mark Stevenson.

It was opened around 1857 and the new police force at first rented the property but was able to buy it in 1871 for £1,000.

A lot of bodies would be found in the nearby river and canal, so it was decided to add a mortuary in 1903.

Kirkstall Police Station
The former Kirkstall Police Station

In 1923 the Police Box System was introduced (Doctor Who’s Tardis to many) and in 1935 Kirkstall Police Station was to close.

It re-opened during the war and for a short time in 1947.

If you go to the Abbey Road junction today you will see a garden with a drinking fountain (the Drink and Be Grateful Fountain) – this is where the station was.

A little further up and you can see what little remains of the Library that was attached to the Police Station.

former kirkstall library
This building used to be a library in days gone by. Photo: Mark Stevenson
inside kirkstall library
Inside the derelict Kirkstall Library. Photo: Mark Stevenson


  1. The building that was a library shown above and the section behind the billboards to the right of it, was my dads builders yard from at least 1972 (when I was 4) until around 1985 when he had to retire due to ill health.
    His company was called McNeill Brothers. (Martin McNeill)
    I have some great memories as a little boy in there.
    Upsetting to see it still in a state of disrepair.


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