A market with international appeal
The success of the market was largely due to Mr Tilney, the Borough Commissioner at the time. In 1850, he had big plans for the market, envisioning a hall with international appeal, where vendors and shoppers from across the UK would gather. Inspired by the original Crystal Palace built in London's Hyde Park, the market soon became the great pride of Leeds. And it still is today, thanks to innovative contributions by architects and developers. In 1891-1895, a domed glass roof was built to connect the old building to the new section. In 1894, a refrigerated area was completed in order to process fresh fish, and in 1899 a meat market and abattoir were added.
Like a phoenix risen from the ashes
In 1975 a fire destroyed most of the steel and glass building. There were no casualties, but merchants had to watch their hard-earned businesses go up in flames. Fortunately, the front section from 1904 and the landmark glass roof were spared, and after a few days of hard work the market reopened its doors to the public. The original vaulted structure, the stones and pinnacles at the entrance have been restored.
The market continues to be a landmark monument. The impressive Edwardian building is now on the list of 'special architecture of historic interest'. It has a Grade 1 listed building status, which the United Kingdom gives only to buildings of extraordinary historic importance.