Restored remnant of old railway station opens as museum

Credit: Bevan Cockerill

MEPC, the asset manager and developer behind Wellington Place in Leeds, has opened the doors to its mini museum based in the new urban district’s 175-year-old former wagon lifting tower.

The museum, which celebrates Leeds’s rich industrial heritage, was opened at an official launch event.

Located in the Grade II listed landmark lifting tower – one of the last remaining parts of the original Leeds Central Station – the museum exhibits artefacts and photography spanning the station’s more than century long history, including a ticket from the very last train and an original timetable.

Visitors can also watch specially created films capturing the memories of those who once used or worked at the station and listen to soundscapes that reflect some of the noises people would hear at Leeds Central Station.

Credit: Bevan Cockerill

To make the museum possible, the Victorian wagon lifting tower underwent a comprehensive, privately funded £1.5m restoration programme, which included repairing and repointing the existing building fabric; new windows and doors, and the introduction of internal and external lighting.

Paul Pavia, head of development at Federated Hermes MEPC, said: “We were incredibly proud to officially launch our mini museum to the public with an event that brought together not only our business community, but other organisations and groups from across the city.

“It was a true celebration of our symbolic Grade II lifting tower, which has been given a new lease of life and will now play a key role in showcasing Leeds’s industrial heritage for years to come.

“We encourage locals and visitors alike to come to Wellington Place to read, watch and listen to the stories and tales of Leeds Central Station and enjoy a wonderful piece of restored history.”

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.

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