Mark’s History: The Crab Lane lock-up with bad food

crab lane armley
Photo: Mark Stevenson

Back in 1836 the Leeds City Police force began patrolling the streets of Leeds, writes Mark Stevenson.

Before this force was established local law enforcement was done by Parish Constables who were part-time and often had another occupation.

These Parish Constables would have been responsible for the local lock-up.

If you were to ever find yourself in one of these local prisons you would find that the food wasn’t all that great and you could (if you could afford it) send out for some food.

The Parish, more often than not, were aware of this and would place the local lock-up close to an inn so food could be sent for.

Crab Lane in the 1980s

A good example of this is found in Armley on Crab Lane.

Just walk a little way down Crab Lane past the old HSBC Bank and you will come to an old wall.

crab lane lock up
Bricked up: the old lock up in Armley Photo: Mark Stevenson

In that wall you will see a small bricked up square with a brick or two missing, behind this you can still see the bars from when this nearly vanished building was the Lock-up for the village of Armley.

crab lane lock up overgrown
Overgrown – and the food wasn’t great either. Photo: Mark Stevenson

It is located near the Malt Shovel Inn and the Union Cross Inn (now demolished). It was in use until around 1849. when another more famous lock-up was built in Armley.


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