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Home comment Mark's History: Thrift Stores and the Kirkstall observation post

Mark’s History: Thrift Stores and the Kirkstall observation post

Thrift Stores were started in Holbeck in 1881 by grocers Wright Popplewell and JW Jessop, writes Mark Stevenson.

The company expanded and in 1929 set up its central warehouse and bakery in Kirkstall at Bridge Road. Thousands of tonnes of groceries were dispatched to its branches each week, including the one in Raynville Road, Bramley.

Long gone: Thrift Stores in Raynville Road.

The clock at Thrift Stores was installed by Charles Potts & Co. Ltd in 1932. When war broke out the balcony around the tower below the clock was used as an observation post.

If you look carefully in the b&w pic below you can see the pill-box that was manned by the firm’s Home Guard Battalion on the roof.

thrift kirkstall 1

The building was host to many household names such as Clover, Allders and British Home Stores. Eventually it was closed and demolished in 2015.

BHS Kirkstall
Photo: Rich Tea/Geograph used under CC licence

The building was demolished in 2015. The new Kirkstall Bridge Retail Park sites in its place. Photo: Mark Stevenson


  1. During the War my mother always shopped at Thrift, the Co-op was closer but she said that they had ‘under-the-counter’ goods and she didn’t approve. I loved Thrift, the huge blocks of butter and lard,the large tins of biscuits which were weighed out, sugar in (to me as a child) enormous blue bags of sugar. Bacon to be sliced – and of course almost everything on ration. Oh thanks for reminding me!


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