Walk through along the River Aire in Leeds City Centre and you can see a great deal of evidence for Leeds’ rich heritage as an industrial centre. The Victorian warehouses that line the river are now trendy riverside flats , offices and bars but once were a vital route through which goods flowed into and out of Leeds. This is probably the most visited of all our DNAire Focus Points and an exciting opportunity to showcase the River Aire to visitors.
The fish pass on the new movable weir opposite Leeds Basin and the Royal Armouries
Downstream of Granary Wharf the River Aire formed part of the Aire and Calder Navigation connecting Leeds to the Humber and ports across the North Sea. At Granary Wharf the Leeds & Liverpool Canal splits from the River Aire but they run parallel for much of its length.
The River Aire flows through under Leeds Railway Station through the Dark Arches. The Dark Arches stand at the centre of what was the ancient manorial land of Leeds. Still visible on the River Aire under the arches is the 14th century medieval ‘High Dam’ to divert water to the manorial corn mill at Swinegate.
The Dark Arches were created during the building of a new train station in Leeds in 1866 following the merger of several small railway companies. A shortage of land meant that the new terminus straddled the river Aire. The recently built southern entrance to Leeds Railway Station now links visitors to the southern bank and will encourage the regeneration of this historic area.