WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Geometry © Carl Milner 2012 41

St Peter’s Square, BBC Building

St Peter’s Square, BBC Building

Quarry Hill is thought to have been one of the oldest
inhabited areas of the city. During the 1780s extensive
building took place, using back to back housing. By the
1830s the area was overcrowded and unsanitary, leading to
frequent outbreaks of cholera and other diseases. The area
was classed as ‘unhealthy’ and by 1910 it was proposed to
clear the slum and rebuild.
The area was cleared and the Quarry Hill Flats built. The
building was ready for habitation in 1938 although work
continued for a time after. The flats were apparently
modelled on Karl Marx Hof flats in Vienna and built by
Leeds City Council. It was the largest housing scheme in
the country at the time and aimed to incorporate the latest
housing ideas and techniques. Flats had solid fuel ranges,
electric lighting, a state-of-the-art refuse disposal system
and communal facilities. The steel frame and concrete clad
construction was to prove disastrous and in 1978 the whole
complex was demolished.
On 1 September 1940, Quarry Hill Flats were damaged
when a nearby goods yard was hit. A gas main was
severed, and the fire burned so severely that the stained
glass windows in St Peter’s church melted. Another local
church, St Margaret’s, used to host jitterbugs during the
war years.
Another major redvelopment in the area has seen Quarry
Hill become modern Leeds’ cultural quarter. It is now
the site for Leeds College of Music, The West Yorkshire
Playhouse, Yorkshire Arts and BBC Leeds. It is also the
home of Quarry House, the offices of the Social Security in
the north of the country.

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