The Calls

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Coordinates: 53°47′38″N 1°32′17″W / 53.794°N 1.538°W / 53.794; -1.538

Street sign

The Calls is an area and street by the River Aire in Leeds city centre, West Yorkshire, England. This district falls within the City and Hunslet ward of the City of Leeds Council. Formerly an area of industry in Leeds, The Calls is now regenerated with a mixture of uses: primarily offices, residential and leisure.


Calls buildings backing on to the River Aire

John Cossins' 1726 Plan of Leeds shows a street labelled "Calls" from the Leeds Bridge to Leeds Parish Church.[1] The old street sign also shows it as "Calls", without "the". The name "Calls" is believed to come from the Latin word callis, meaning a beaten path, to a ford in Roman times near the present Leeds Bridge.[2][3] "The Calls" was originally an open space mainly of orchards, but is now a built up area.[3] The Calls area along with neighbouring Clarence Dock served as docks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the Aire and Calder Navigation throughout the industrial revolution and the early 20th century.

The area's decline began in the early 20th century when Leeds' industry moved away from the centre out towards Hunslet, Holbeck, Armley and Kirkstall. From 1985 to 1995 Leeds Corporation carried out a major regeneration with careful conversion of listed building warehouses and new build in sympathetic style for a mixed use area. This includes the historic Fletlands Corn Mills into a boutique hotel, 42 The Calls Hotel, in 1991. The Centenary Footbridge by Ove Arup & Partners across the river to Brewery Wharf was opened in 1993. A silver ball fountain was installed to commemorate this work.[4]


Blue plaque on the New Penny pub

There are many pubs and bars around the area. The pub The New Penny on Call Lane was awarded a blue plaque by Leeds Civic Trust on 19 October 2016, "for providing a safe venue for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."[5] The plaque states that the pub is "one of the longest continually running LGB & T* venues in the UK, having been so since 1953". The area is also the setting for the post parade street party and stalls at Leeds Pride.[6]


  1. ^ Burt, Steven; Grady, Kevin (2003). The Illustrated History of Leeds. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 56-7. ISBN 185983 316 0.
  2. ^ Broadhead, Ivan (1990). Leeds. Otley: Smith Settle. p. 1-4. ISBN 1870071638.
  3. ^ a b Mitchell, W. R. (2000). A History of Leeds. Chichester: Phillimore. p. 5, 44. ISBN 1 86077 130 0.
  4. ^ Wrathmell, Susan (2005). Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds. Yale University Press. p. 38, 103, 143. ISBN 0-300-10736-6.
  5. ^ "Leeds pub makes history with blue plaque award". Yorkshire Evening Post. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  6. ^ Porter, Darwin; Prince, Danforth (2005), Frommer's England 2006, John Wiley and Sons, p. 685, ISBN 978-0-7645-9540-0