Curious names in old Leeds
BLACK BANK. An area probably between the Bank and York Road. It was also known as Gallows Hill.
BOTANY BAY. A location in Armley by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the vicinity of Canal Road and Armley Mills. It was said that the first wool from Australia was landed here in the early nineteenth century. The name was often corrupted in the area by locals to ‘Botny’.
BUTTS LANE. The site of the archery butts of medieval Leeds. In 1826 its name was changed to Basinghall Street. Butts Court still echoes the ancient association, however. There is also a Butt Lane at Farnley.
COLD BATH WELL. Sited at Weetwood. Some historians argue it was a relic of the Roman occupation.
CRACKNEY. The area in the neighbourhood of Vicar Lane and the Markets.
CRIPPLEGATE. The passageway leading from the top of Mill Hill to Albion Street.
CUDDY WELL. It was sited on Meanwood Road. It was also know as the Draw Well. Its waters were used to treat eye disorders and for iron deficiency.
EYE BRIGHT WELL. Sited on Wellington Street, in 1819 it was developed into a public baths.
FEARN’S ISLAND. Named after the owner of Nether Mills . It is an area between Timble Beck and the river Aire. The Royal Armouries Museum overlooks the site. In the twenty-first century many of the mill buildings here have been redeveloped as apartments.
HOLY WELL. Sited in Armley, its name is preserved in the pathway Holywell Lane in the district.
ISLE OF CINDER. Street near Swinegate.
LADY BECK. Name given to Adel and Sheepscar Beck where it enters the river Aire.
MABGATE. In all probability the red light district of medieval Leeds. A ‘mab’ was a woman who engaged in prostitution.
MAYOR’S NEST. Frequently used name for Mill Hill Chapel. It acquired the sobriquet because of the number of mayors who worshipped there.
NEW CUT. A short stretch of the Aire Calder navigation which by-passes Leeds Dam.
NEW TOWN. Designation of buildings to the west of Briggate.
OLD TOWN. Designation of buildings to the east of Briggate.
PAWDMYRE. District at the top of Briggate.
NORTH-BURG and WALLFLATT. Other names for Quarry Hill.
SANDY LOBBY. A bathing-cum-padding pool situated by Aire Street and used during the nineteenth century.
SLAVERING BABY WELL. Sited in the woods of Adel. The water spouted from the mouth of a carved head.
THE STEANDER. An area between East Street and Marsh
Lane. In 1730 Abraham Powell was executed ‘on the common steander’
for stealing cloth from the local tenter grounds. In the nineteenth century
it was later an area used for coal staithes and as a timber yard.