Collected stories as research for projections around the city in 2007

Email Submission

ghostly and strange happenings at leeds university

i was working for a market research company a few years ago and we had hired
three rooms out in the university for research purposes.i believe these were
on the 3rd floor on a glorious saturday afternoon with no students around.
did notice a dicectual unit as i entered the car-park thinking there might
be something eerie in there.

1st incident- was speaking to our exec in the kitchen when after putting the
kettle on he noticed the cups started to move as he was chatting to me.he
looked stunned and stuttered the cups were moving.

2nd -was coming out of kitchen into venue, was walking down the corridor
when noticed slim young lady in floral skirt and long dark curly hair
(thinking respondent coming early)followed her through the swing doors and
turned left.
when i turned left she disappeared.
when asked manageress if had seen some-one come through she replied no.
had strange feeling and shuddered but didnt say anything as thought i must
be seeing things.

3rd -went to ladies toilet there was a waste bin holding the door open.
whilst washing hands a powerful gust of wind came blowing all over the room
and slammed the door shut with the bin on the inside. this was a beautiful
saturday afternoon with no wind knew something was not right.i rushed for
the door madly trying to open it in panic. still didnt say anything in case
my work colleages thought i was mad.

4th- going home time.
one lady from leeds said she would direct me out of the place as she knew it
well. we got lost.couldnt find our way out on the corridors.was like maze
with doors locking behind us. we eventually found ourselves in the staircase
and i suggested we may have to stay night there.she was so distraught. we
then went back up to the 3d floor and luckily the door into the corridoor
wasnt quite shut.fraction of an inch.phew sigh of relief!

4th- went back to our hired rooms luckily work colleagues not left for home
so all went down approached the entrance as we were all chatting
suddenly my right leg caught up in a lasso rope.hopping with my leg i
shouted somethings not right here and that wasnt possible to catch my foot
in such height and a lasso rope hanging round my leg.god knows where this
came from showed it everyone. by this time i was stressed out..

one of my work colleage did tell me later that papers had been moved and
flicked about and there was something in there that didnt want me to go
..really scary and was still shaking driving home..

always wanted to report this but never got round to it until now. still get
the creeps when think of leeds university.

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.

Settled In

There is a geezer who sits outside the Yorkshire Bank opposite McDonalds on Briggate who claims to have been living there for something like 16 years and that he has nine children. It was hard to believe him, but he was very nice…


I have heard a couple of myths regarding the Town Hall which I have known for years I hope they will be of some good to you.
The first one is that the Lions of the Town Hall come to life at Midnight and walk around the Town Hall and protect the city and it’s residents.
The other one is that if the Town Hall Clock should ever strike 13 not only will the Lions come to life the will attack the people of Leeds.
Ihope that this will be some help to you.
All the Best
Terry Pickles.

Whitelocks staffed by Dwarfs

Back inth day, the oldest pub in Leeds – whitelocks landlord was married to a dwarf lady, so she could work at the bar he raised the level the floor from the bartenders side, hence why today it still has a high bar.

Marc Almond’s Suicide

There’s a myth about the staircases in Leeds Met. The staircases all have metal nets in the stairwell at alternate floors. The myth is that these were put in place as a direct reponse to a failed suicide attempt by Marc Almond. He was a Fine Art graduate from Leeds Poly in the early eighties. He did a cabaret and got a first.

The Skyrack Pub

Legend has it that the Skyrack Pub, comes from Skyr Ack (might be spelt wrong!), or Shire Oak, which was the southernmost Viking Camp and was where the Vikings and the Saxons traded and raided (the etymolgy of these words is the same), the border between shirts and skirts. The vikings didn’t tuck theirs in and the saxons did. The oak was written about, and drawn, for a 1000 years and was cut down relatively recently (20-30 years ago), that’s why theres a weird traffic island in front of the pub – where it used to be. It’s also part of the myth that this is why there are about 6 pubs there……

Mind Control in Leeds

There’s a story amongst Leeds’ medical students that a psychotic patient was convinced that his mind was being controlled from the communications masts at the Clinical Sciences Building at St James’s Hospital. When Quarry House was built, he was equally convinced that control tranferred there…. you’ve seen the mast on top!
Thing is, those of us who work for the NHS *know* we’re controlled by the sinister forces within Quarry House!

Jimmy Saville invented DJing in the Grand Arcade

Jimmy Saville claims to have invented DJing, as we know it, in a club in the Grand Arcade by connecting 2 record players together. The reason he did this is that it was too expensive to get a licence for a band and he didn’t want any gaps between the records.

Sister’s of Mercy

The Sister’s of Mercy once had a party in a terrace in Hyde Park that went on for three weeks 24/7. Some people estimate that over a hundred ounces of amphetamines were consumed during the party.

Quarry Hill Earmarked for Nazi HQ

The Department for Health building at Quarry Hill sits on the site earmarked by Hilter as the location of the Nazi headquarters for Britain – should his invasion plans have been a success

Roman Leeds

Somewhere in the central Leeds area there was a Roman settlemnt possibly that of Cambodunum where there was a crossing point over the river. Now there’s no trace except for little exerts mentioned by Victorian collectors who mention fortified camps at Quarry hill and streets in the Calls as areas of possibly Roman occupation. Has all our ancient history of this region been obscured by our industrial past, or can extracts of our Romano British past still be found?

Dolphins below the City

I have been reliably informed by a friend who used to work at the ‘Underground’ bar, below the Town & Country Club (now Creation Night Club), that in Victorian times the building was sometimes used to host Circuses, & with this in mind, tunnels were built from the cellars to the Station, so that dangerous animals such as tigers could be transported there without putting the public at risk.
I have also heard that, on occasions, the tunnels were flooded with water, which allowed dolphins to swim, underground, below the city, & emerge to give displays within the building.

night owls

those owls ontop of the civic hall come alive once a year. they fly round the town scoffing up dropped kebabs and then regurgitate them as owl pellets, which drunks then eat cos the look just the same as kebabs
chilli sauce?!

Hauntings from Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity church had a Grave yard, the bodies were removed, but the spirits lived on….

Bomb raid shelters under Hyde Park

Used in WW2 the shelters have two sections men and women connected by tunnels. These tunnels are then connected to the underground tunnels under Leeds University,