Leeds Dock - from the Industrial Revolution to a new digital hub

Leeds Dock is now a hub for media and tech companies. (Bruce Rollinson).Leeds Dock is now a hub for media and tech companies. (Bruce Rollinson).
Leeds Dock is now a hub for media and tech companies. (Bruce Rollinson). | jpimediaresell
IF one of the dock workers, whose job it was to load and unload cargo in the centre of Leeds, could travel forward in time from the mid-19th century, they could be forgiven for thinking they’d been transported to another planet.

When New Dock opened in 1843, it was yet another cog in the relentless industrialisation of the North, built to speed up the process of moving goods and materials along the

Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation.

Its primary function was to link the waterways with the fledgling Middleton Light Railway, and was mainly used to bring coal from collieries around Rothwell and Wakefield to help supply the heavy industries that congregated around Hunslet.

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New Dock has certainly undergone many transformations over the past 177 years (its name alone has changed several times – from New Dock to Clarence Dock and now Leeds Dock).

From bustling prosperity the area fell into industrial decline during the second half of the 20th century as the mills and many heavy engineering works began to close.

Its redevelopment began in the 1990s, boosted by the construction of the £42.5m Royal Armouries Museum which remains one of the city’s most popular visitor attractions.

What links the dock throughout these periods is its role as a focus for commercial innovation.

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Two centuries ago it was to help fuel the Industrial Revolution, today it’s at the heart of Leeds’s rebranding as a hub for creative industries.

Leeds Dock is a key component of the city’s South Bank redevelopment – it’s home to a string of digital and tech companies and is where Steph McGovern’s new Channel 4 show will be filmed.

It’s certainly a far cry from its soot-covered past.

Technical details: Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 Nikkor, 2 secs @ f6.3, 400 asa.