Federated Hermes MEPC has announced that its eagerly awaited new mini museum, based at the thriving urban quarter Wellington Place, will be its opening its doors in the former wagon lifting tower on Wednesday 15th May 2024 at 4pm.

Located on the ground floor of the Grade II listed landmark lifting tower - one of the last remaining parts of the original Leeds Central Station – the museum celebrates Leeds’s rich industrial heritage. It will exhibit artefacts spanning the station’s more than century long history, including photography and specially created films capturing the memories of those who once used or worked at the station.

The Victorian wagon lifting tower has undergone a comprehensive, privately funded £1.5m restoration programme. This included repairing and repointing the existing building fabric; making the structure watertight; a new green roof and landscaping; new windows and doors, and the introduction of internal and external lighting.

The restoration works were undertaken by several organisations, including Sheppard Robson, CBRE, Planit, Curtins, Tim Denton and Arup, with construction work delivered by Simpsons (York).

Wellington Place is inviting the public to join them on Wednesday 15th May at 4pm for the official opening of the museum and to view the wider restoration of the building, which has been disused for more than 50 years. As the tower dates to 1850, Federated Hermes MEPC will also be giving away 173 free ice creams during the opening event to mark the number of years it has been standing.

From this date, the museum will be free to access Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and 10am to 4pm at weekends.

Paul Pavia, head of development at Federated Hermes MEPC, the developer and asset manager behind Wellington Place, said: “The Grade II lifting tower is extremely symbolic, not only to Wellington Place, but to the city’s unique industrial heritage. We therefore couldn’t be more pleased to have been able to give it a new lease of life, not only through repairing and restoring it physically, but by creating something truly special that the local community and visitors of all ages can come to learn, share stories and enjoy.

“It’s been an incredible journey to make the museum a reality, we’re grateful to all those that made this possible. We’re so excited to share these memories and play an active role in keeping them alive in a beautiful new space that pays homage to its past, for many more years to come.”

Chris Taylor, chairman of MEPC and Head of Real Estate at Federated Hermes Limited, added: “We have a long track record of delivering meaningful and sustainable placemaking schemes. Our latest project has transformed Wellington Place’s lifting tower into an outstanding educational attraction by preserving this important heritage building, which offers a tangible connection to Leeds’ illustrious industrial past. Wellington Place has already established a meaningful sense of place, and the new addition of the mini museum further strengthens its identity and will act as an additional conduit for civic pride for both the people that work here and the local community.”

Dating back to 1850, the lifting tower was one of a pair which stood either side of the river and canal viaduct. Using steam power and large chains, its role was to hoist wagons from the higher-level passenger line down to the Great Northern Goods yard at the original Leeds Central railway station.
Leeds Central station closed in 1967, and the entire complex was demolished apart from this one lifting tower. The Grade II listed building received a Leeds Civic Trust blue plaque in July 2011, marking it as an important historical point of interest in Leeds city centre.

Wellington Place continues to welcome stories, experiences, artefacts, and memories to be included in the museum. People can get in touch by emailing info@wellingtonplace.co.uk