The highs and lows of Leeds

I’m talking about the buildings. Leeds seems to be full of tall buildings, both old and new, regenerated and tumbling down. And some inbetween.

The River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool canal obviously helped the city prosper back in the 18th century.  Warehouses dominated the waterfront,

and the merchants created a stunning city centre with ornate arcades and offices designed to show off their wealth.

Today’s society is also cashing in by regenerating the warehouses into very desirable housing and enhancing the centre with open spaces and trendy retail experiences.

But it was the old buildings that grabbed my attention the most. We particularly liked the Corn Exchange with its unusual oval domed glass roof, it’s now full of small independent retailers and the eateries. There’s a piano in the middle for anyone to play.

And the market hall is a worthy detour for any tourist, as some of the original pitches are still in use today and the decorative structure of the building is stunning.

Leeds market is where Mr Marks and Mr Spencer first started trading at their penny bazaar. And although this is not quite on the spot M&S maintain a historic presence in the market hall.

Leeds city library might be full of interesting books but again it was the building that I came to see.

It’s not a city that is standing still but despite the glamour we saw a lot of dark alleys that quite frankly we wouldn’t walk down in broad daylight let alone after 5pm. And it feels like, despite a lot of prosperity, the downtrodden and undesirables get pushed further and further down, out of sight and out of mind, Leeds is certainly a city that made me think and at least some are making a conscious effort to keep a welcome door ooen