The tower project involved a range of property professionals. Credit: Bevan Cockerill

‘Mini museum’ added to Wellington Place mix

The attraction will open on 15 May at Federated Hermes MEPC’s Leeds business district, on the ground floor of the grade two-listed lifting tower, one of few remaining parts of Leeds Central Station.

The museum, set up to celebrate Leeds’s industrial heritage, will exhibit artefacts spanning the station’s 100 year-plus history, including photography and specially created films capturing the memories of those who once used or worked at the station.

The Victorian wagon lifting tower has undergone a comprehensive, privately funded £1.5m restoration programme. This included repairing and repointing the existing building fabric; making the structure watertight; a new green roof and landscaping; new windows and doors, and the introduction of internal and external lighting.

Firms involved in the project included Sheppard Robson, CBRE, Planit, Curtins, Tim Denton and Arup, with construction work delivered by Simpsons (York).

Following the opening event on 15 May, the museum will be free to access Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and 10am to 4pm at weekends.

Paul Pavia, head of development at Federated Hermes MEPC, said: “The Grade II lifting tower is extremely symbolic, not only to Wellington Place, but to the city’s unique industrial heritage. We therefore couldn’t be more pleased to have been able to give it a new lease of life, not only through repairing and restoring it physically, but by creating something truly special that the local community and visitors of all ages can come to learn, share stories and enjoy.

“It’s been an incredible journey to make the museum a reality, we’re grateful to all those that made this possible. We’re so excited to share these memories and play an active role in keeping them alive in a beautiful new space that pays homage to its past, for many more years to come.”

Dating back to 1850, the lifting tower was one of a pair which stood either side of the river and canal viaduct. Using steam power and large chains, its role was to hoist wagons from the higher-level passenger line down to the Great Northern Goods yard at the original Leeds Central railway station.

Leeds Central station closed in 1967, and the entire complex was demolished apart from this one lifting tower. The Grade II listed building received a Leeds Civic Trust blue plaque in July 2011, marking it as an important historical point of interest in Leeds city centre.

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