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HomecommentMark's History: Two former Armley churches were so close together

Mark’s History: Two former Armley churches were so close together

There cannot be many places in Leeds where you have two churches as close together as these two, writes Mark Stevenson.

The oldest is what was known as the Ebenezer Chapel and was built in 1856. It closed around 1909 to be re-opened as a cinema on 25th April 1910, owned by American Bioscope Co. Ltd.

Armley branch road 4
The former Ebenezer Chapel. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The name changed to Western Talkie Cinema on 9th November 1933 and closed in 1956. It re-opened again in 1957 as The New Western to finally close as a cinema in 1960.

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Armley branch road 5

The 1905 chapel is probably better known as Mike’s Carpets.

branch road armley

It was built by Thomas Howdill and his son Charles Barker Howdill, who went on to teach at Leeds School of Art and is thought to have been the first to use colour photography as an aid to a lecture on architecture.

There are four foundations stones on the 1905 Chapel and many more memorial stones and although the building is listed many are in a bad way and barely readable.


  1. I worked in the old chapel when it was MIkes Carpets and it was a wonderful building. The inside was still original and the workmanship of the carvings, windows and floors was spectacular. I don’t know why it isn’t apartments now – I would love one. There is a huge underground basement which would make a car park. How many people remember the little cinema? It was very cosy, went there nearly every week.


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