Collected stories as research for projections around the city in 2007

Author Archive

exodus of the king rat and his tribe from quarry hill

when quarry hill flats were being demolished,the king rat(a huge monstrous
creature)led his faithful band of rodents out of the ruins,through town,and
were seen crossing leeds bridge to safety!!


there are a group of underground tunnels,near kirkstall electric station.
as a few of us dug out one of the tunnels a few years ago. must ave been at
least 50 or 60 footlong an 6ft wide by 6 ft high. with a hatch upto the
ground right in the middle of the tunnel. we were told that there are also a
set of ww2 underground office’s. on the ground next to this tunnel by the

Haunted Flats

The building on Wellington Street now converted into luxury flats called

‘City Central’ used to be the Railway Hotel and has been on Wellington

Street since the 1800’s. 


Back in the day this glamerous hotel was used by travellers and railway

workers alike but a fire destroyed the building in the 50’s and claimed many

lives – not all of them ‘official guests’ because the hotel was known to

turn a blind eye to certain activities so the death toll was even higher

than records show.


When developers took it over they added two new floors (6 and 7) and didn’t

put the turrets back on the roof.  It is reported that builders of the flats

left the site and refused to go back to work when they mistook the ghost of

a railway worker in a luminous jacket and slick black hair to be one of the



It is reported by residents that the second floor, previously the grand

ballroom, is now haunted by a lady that continues to dance – her perfume can

be smelt!!


Many residents I have met in the lift also report regular hauntings within

individual flats, sightings of orbs and very strange changes in temperature

when the beautiful and original staircase is used…

The Grey Lady

I’m not sure whether this counts as Leeds or not, but in Fulneck School, Pudsey (est. 1753, so plenty of opportunities for ghosts and such) there was a popular rumour/legend about a ghost named the “Grey Lady”. The teachers often said that it originated from some old wedding photo that was messed up by some six formers not that long ago (though considering the age of the teachers, “not long ago” was probably the 60s or 70s, at the latest) – but it was always she who was credited when all the lights in a room suddenly went off, and then came back again a panicked few seconds later, and I always suspected that that black cat which could often be seen wandering the corridors and gardens had some connection to her…
There are many other strange things about that place, though I never thought that anyone other than me remembered most of them. And I know that this is very recent, but a few nights ago a boggart, or something like it, (I believe they were called will-o’-the-wisps in the dream, as I couldn’t remember the name) managed to trap me inside a dream-room, and it was only by remembering how to defeat it (it was impervious to physical harm) that I was able to wake up from the dream and the sleep. This experience continues to fascinate and disturb me, as it managed to be simultaneously a dream and not a dream… A bit like the tree thing in Totoro, I suppose. 🙂
Jordan S.

Temple Mill

sheep 7.jpg



In the heart of Holbeck Urban Village lies an extraordinary building: a direct copy of the temple to Horus at Edfu. The Temple Mills (1838 — 43) were designed by Eqyptologist and architect Joseph Bonomi Jun for John Marshall, founder of the Leeds flax industry and an entrepreneur of the industrial revolution.
Temperature and humidity are very important to the flax industry. To prevent rainwater penetrating the flat roof, the roof was covered on the outside with plaster, tar, earth and grass to insulate it and it is said that a flock of sheep grazed upon the grass. This bizarre story of sheep being kept on its turf roof is well rooted in local folklore…apparently one of them fell through a skylight killing one of the workers below! How more surreal a juxtaposition could one imagine than sheep grazing on the roof of a dark Satanic mill posing as an Egyptian Temple?
Urban myth or not, this anecdote evokes an incongruous vision that symbolises the historical tension between the urban and rural landscape. The workers who initially stoked the fires of the industrial revolution came flocking from the countryside and these low paid agrarian labourers, searching for income in the newly industrialised towns, were soon crowded into areas like Holbeck and Leeds. Those lofty sheep will have had a particular resonance for them as they trudged into work to start a gruelling 72-hour week.
Two hundred years later, digital media artist Andy Wood created a site-specific installation that you could have happened upon much like the original sheep. Comprising a video projection onto the top of the building of sheep grazing with a supporting rural-esque soundscape, it was a subtle intervention with an atmosphere of the past and a suggestion of the murky history of this grand monument to the industrial revolution.

Secret messages passed through the steps from the Town Hall cells.

Back in the day it is said that people who were imprisoned in Leeds town hall could send secret messages by passing word down the cells and the message being passed by through gaps in the steps to the eagerly awaiting recipient in the street.

Morrisons to boot

I were doing a psychology project about whether boys are more violent than girls, well i were watchin all these people in Morrisons so see how they were acting, y’know and well,  they thought i were a spy didn’t they and kicked me out! and it turns out that girls are more violent than boy, but i would be bias as i have two boys don’t I, well they’re 40 now but they still my boys.

Market fire

In 1975 half of the Leeds market next to the corn exchange burnt down apparently due to an electrical fault, it was the better half
which burnt down, mind you, and its never been the same since.

Sighting of Death

I was in bed wi me husband and at the end of the bed, this ghostly figure appeared like a nun wearing a big pointy hat, well she started pointing at me, well i thought it were me, but then we realised it were my husband and two weeks later he died.

Parrott Man pecks out your eyes

How about Parrott Man? Whilst growing up in Leeds we were always told about the Parrott Man who lived in the woods near the Meanwood Cricket Club, and that if he got hold of you he would peck out your eyes! I now live in London but I still think of this and wouldnt go near them woods if you paid me

Andrew Lang

Your M&S

In t’market there were two guys who had a stall, one was a foreigner called Marks and the other was a local lad called Spencer, together they developed a successful chain of shops which is now nationwide.

Mucky Jonny

Now it was said that mucky Jonny got his name by being so filthy, and used to wait outside the pubs in Rodley before they opened,  the landlords of these establishments used to go out before the pub opened and pay Jonny a shilling to wander down to the next pub.

I t was said the when in his house he used to go to the toilet by doing his business in a sheet of newspaper then he’d wrap it up and throw it into his attic, this he did for years.

It was only when his house caught fire and the fire brigade went to his house that they found the evidence of his ways!

Whitecote and Redcote

The two places above were where soldiers in the civil war were stationed. The places got their names from the colour of the coats the soldiers use to wear.

Black Death moves market

In the times of the plague the market was moved from Leeds city centre to Bramley town.

City Variety’s Haunting

The City Variety’s in Leeds has three reported ghost sightings

There is a guardsman in a long top hat – who patrols inside the stalls, people believe that this could be Edward the VII who was reported to take his fancy women there in secret. The other two are believed to be actors who used to work at the variety’s.

Yorkshire Witch

The Yorkshire Witch was known as Mary Bateman and plundered the money from towns folk for charms and potions.  She was convicted of murder, tried at the local court and then hung by the neck till death then chopped into pieces.  People came to see her body and raised £30 for the Infirmary.

Leeds Theatre Royal haunted by actors

The dressing rooms in the Theatre Royal at Hunslet lane  was reported to be haunted  by the actors who had previously took the stage in years gone by.

Civic Hall Haunting in the turrets

It is said that turrets of the Civic Hall are haunted by some one who died in the maintenance of the building.

Barnsley Bob

There used to be a guy knocking round on the streets called Barnsley Bob, he wern’t reet clever like, but they used to take him in and bath him, y kno every few months

Danny Freeman

Danny Freeman used to raise money for St James hospital out side Marks and Spencer, he was a true legend that man and is worthy of a mention.

RockingHorse patrols the bank

There was a man, who used to patrol the bank area of Leeds, who were massive, he used to keep it free of trouble at night as it was a real rough area.

Haunting at the Palace Pub, i’ve seen it!

I used to work at the palace pub near the parish church cleaning n that, and i seen her twice, well i think it was a her.

The first time i saw her out of the corner of my eye, she walked past me and i got goose bumps and went all cold like, n i just saw her through the door.

Second time i was with owner and he was mopping the floor, this faded white figure came past us and walked up the stairs, i even saw her turn the corner at the top.  He said  ‘did you just see what i just saw’    ‘yes’ i said ‘i told ya  it were haunted’

well, i were used to it, but his face was white as a sheet ans were beat wi perspiration, ‘i’ve been sleeping upstairs for weeks he said i aint goin to anymore’

Penny to see a Hole for the spitfire fund

In Rockwood estate near Temple Newsham a bomb were dropped in war, but never went off, well they evacuated the whole estate, i went to have a look and people had just fled. There were windows open with the curtains blowing in the wind, it was like a ghost town.  Anyways when they let everyone back in where the bomb had dropped it was in this womans house and she charged us a penny to look at the hole, we didn’t know if the bomb were in there or not, but she used to say, ‘go and ask your grandparents for a penny for the spitfire fund and you can see the hole’

Underground trains

There is an underground train that runs from the police station near the court to the hospital for transporting prisoners.

Bob Weir