The living landmark, Leeds Corn Exchange, has been an iconic building in the bustling city since it was first opened in 1864. The dramatic dome was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, a British architect who was known for not only planning and designing the Leeds Corn Exchange, but also Leeds Town Hall, The Mechanics’ Institute (now Leeds City Museum) and Headingley Hill Congregational Church.
This Grade I listed building based in the heart of Kirkgate is a symbol of the city’s economic power and contribution to the trade industry. Corn Exchange buildings are commonly known as the place where merchants trade grains, such as wheat and barley. So as the 20th century moved on, Leeds Corn Exchange became a focal point for the community and was used for trading up to six times a week. However by 1969, numbers reduced and the space was only being used once a week for trading, and thankfully threats for demolition were declined and plans for the large space began taking place.
In 1985 the Corn Exchange was taken over by specialist shops and transformed the building to be ready by the 90s. Today, the building is home to an array of independent businesses in both the retail and food sectors, quickly becoming everyone’s favourite place to shop.
When it comes to shopping in Leeds, traditionally Leeds Trinity comes to mind as it’s the centre of everything and houses many popular retailers, and sometimes other locations are either forgotten about or shoppers are unaware of the shops they can find somewhere new. So here’s a small guide on what you should expect to find within our favourite place, Leeds Corn Exchange.
As you stroll through the doors you may feel slightly overwhelmed, but one quick walk around the balcony will introduce you to a new world of shopping. For when you’re wanting to update your wardrobe or treat yourself to a new outfit, you can visit vintage shop The Alt Box, Fabrikk, The Archives, All Blues Co or designer brand MKI MIYUKI ZOKU. The Corn Exchange is the perfect place to look if you’re hunting for gifts or homeware pieces with places like Simcha Gallery, a place of contemporary crafts, art and jewellery. You’ll also quickly spot The Plant Point, the only shop you need to visit if you’re a plant lover. On The Wall, Released Records, Colours May Vary and The Great Yorkshire Shop are just a few of the other amazing independents you’ll grow to love once you become a regular shopper here.
And when it comes to food, you can take a break at Bruschetta by Food Cabaret for some specialty coffee and fresh juices. Or, you can pay the team at OWT a visit who only use produce from Kirkgate market to cook simple but tasty meals like deep fried chicken, pakora superbowls and burgers. Whether you’re vegetarian or vegan they have options to cater everyone.
Alongside all these incredible independent businesses, don’t forget to pamper yourself and do some basic self-care, book yourself in at Mr Men’s Barbers or The Salon Place to feel fresh again. And what would a trip to Leeds Corn Exchange be without stepping into Red Tattoo & Piercings if you’re feeling a bit adventurous.
Keep an eye out on Leeds Corn Exchange’s instagram for any new tenants under the dome and for any events taking place in the building. You’ll quickly question yourself why you never visited sooner.