Central Station Wagon Hoist
This device was crucial to the Industrial Revolution development of Leeds.
Situated in the center of a new office development is a little reminder of the city’s industrial past.
Before office workers moved in, this area was once a bustling center for the railway. Leeds, at the time, was a large town, became one of the merchant hubs in Yorkshire during the Industrial Age. The trade of goods, particularly cloth and wool was brought to Leeds via a network of canals and later railways.
A pair of steam-powered chain wagon hoists were built in the 1850s for the Lancashire & Yorkshire and London & North Western Railways. Originally situated on either side of a railway viaduct that crossed the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The function of the hoists was to bring train wagons down from the high-level viaduct to the lower-level goods yard, which led to the Leeds Central Station goods warehouse. The hoists remained in use until the 1950s. The station and yards closed in 1967.
Only one of the wagon hoist towers remains, it has been granted a Grade II listed building status and was restored in 2016. The tower dominates the office development, contrasting old and new. Redevelopment of the area included a name change to Tower Square and the installation of new lighting around the tower.
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