The Scary Dark Arches in Leeds

Sounds like a bad McDonald’s story, doesn’t it? But no, we’ve been (fairly) good about not eating at Micky-Ds so far. These scary arches are in beneath a railway bridge, and we had to walk under them to get from the train station to the City Hotel in downtown Leeds.

Now, they don’t look so bad in daylight, but we deliberately avoided them late at night. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, but they look spooky! This picture was taken from an adjacent walkway, but the other pictures were taken from inside the arches.

It’s a real pity because the space under there is totally unique. You have the arches from the railway bridge above, but you also have a canal/river flowing below, perpendicular to the roadway. Looking down, the water seems to be less than 2 feet deep, and the bottom is filled with the same type of stonework.

Each archway creates this cavernous space that could be really cool shops or restaurants, or even a super cool night club. But instead, in very typical fashion, they’ve made them into parking lots. Yes, that’s right. Each little nook is a space for about 5 cars.  How terrible is that? I know that Leeds is a very car-culture kind of place, but surely someone can think of a better use of this space than for parking?  It’s quite outrageous.

Apparently the train tracks, and the space beneath, are quite old, because they have this giant picture hung up on one of the walls. But there are no dates or information about how old they are, or what the space used to be, or anything.

Of course, I just did a google search, and apparently there are plans to rehabilitate the area. As with all things, however, there are major budget problems, and architectural disputes, and historic preservation issues, etc. etc. etc.  Since the arches lead to Granary Wharf, a very up-and-coming neighborhood in Leeds, let’s hope that they get their act in gear and do something cool with this very unusual space!  (At the very least, you could have the scariest Halloween party in the world!)


Posted on 26/08/2010, in Exploring the UK and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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