Quarry Hill, Leeds

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Coordinates: 53°47′53″N 1°31′52″W / 53.798°N 1.531°W / 53.798; -1.531

Quarry House at Quarry Hill
Quarry Hill Flats in June 1967

Quarry Hill is an area of central Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is bounded by the Leeds Inner Ring Road in the east and north and the Leeds - York / Hull railway in the south. The area falls within the City and Hunslet ward of Leeds Metropolitan Council.


Quarry Hill was originally an inner-city area of Leeds. Between 1938 and 1978 Quarry Hill was the location of what was at the time the largest social housing complex in the United Kingdom. The building was designed in 1934 by R. A. H. Livett (1898-1959), the Director of Housing and later City Architect for Leeds. Its design was influenced strongly by modernist developments in Europe, specifically the Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna, Austria, and La Cité de la Muette in Paris, France.[1] The development was noted for its sheer size and modernist design. It had then radical and modern features such as solid fuel ranges, electric lighting, a state-of-the-art refuse disposal system (Garchey) and communal facilities including a swimming pool.[2] Due to social problems and poor maintenance, the Quarry Hill Flats were demolished in 1978.[3]


Since the 1980s, Quarry Hill has been a focus for regeneration within Leeds, and today is home to the West Yorkshire Playhouse which opened in 1990, Yorkshire Dance[4] established in 1982[5], Quarry House (a Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions building with a social/leisure complex, which opened in 1993), the BBC Yorkshire building, the Leeds College of Music and the Northern Ballet building which opened in 2010. Centenary Square and the Playhouse Square are located at Quarry Hill. The regeneration has seen Quarry Hill become disassociated with East Leeds, and become part of central Leeds.

Quarry House was constructed on the site of the former Quarry Hill Flats.[6]

Leeds City College is building a creative arts and health/social care campus on the north-west of the site, which is scheduled to open in September 2019.

In the media

  • The flats were shown in the opening sequence of the popular 1970s sit-com Queenie's Castle (1970–72) which starred Diana Dors.[7][8]
  • Featured in the Peter May novel Runaway, with scenes set in the housing project in 1965 and in its later transformation circa 2015.
  • Quarry Hill also features in Charles Stross's 2016 novel The Nightmare Stacks.
  • The complete Quarry Hill development in architects model form can be seen in the 1935 film "Housing Problems" which is featured as an extra on BBC DVD release of the influential 1966 TV play Cathy Come Home.

Further reading

  • Mitchell, Peter (1990). Memento Mori: Flats at Quarry Hill, Leeds. Skipton: Dalesman Publishing. ISBN 9781870071482. 
  • Ravetz, Alison (1974). Model estate: planned housing at Quarry Hill, Leeds. London: Croom Helm. ISBN 9780856641657. 


  1. ^ Wrathmell, Susan (2005). Leeds. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780300107364. 
  2. ^ http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/your-leeds/nostalgia/leeds-nostalgia-memories-of-quarry-hill-flats-almost-40-years-on-1-8369587
  3. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/leeds/citylife/quarry_hill/history.shtml
  4. ^ "Yorkshire Dance - contact us". Yorkshire Dance. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 
  5. ^ Javin, Val (2012-10-11). "Yorkshire Dance needs you to help celebrate its 30th birthday". huddersfieldexaminer. Retrieved 2018-02-21. 
  6. ^ "Footbridge over York Road Flyover, Inner Ring Road (during construction of Quarry House)". Loedis.net. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  7. ^ Wainwright, Martin (4 October 2004). "My Leeds". The Guardian. London. p. 14. 
  8. ^ "Slideshow: Hidden six decades, RAF's eye view of Leeds". Weekly News. Leeds. 9 October 2013. 

External links

  • BBC Leeds - Detailed history on Quarry Hill

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