Harehills Middle School

Back to school?

BBC Leeds

Harehills Middle School has been transformed into a multi-purpose unit catering for start-ups, established businesses and even features a restaurant serving African cuisine.

The landmark, grade II-listed Victorian building on Harehills Road was formerly known as Gipton Board School and Gipton Council School. The old school has been reborn as Shine – a building for start-ups, established businesses and the arts.

Shine Small Business Incubator, August 2008
Shine Small Business Incubator, August 2008

The school’s most lasting legacy is perhaps a passion for dance in Leeds. Nadine Senior was appointed Senior PE teacher at the school during the 1970s and her passion for dance made it an important part of the curriculum.

Nadine Senior - Harehills Middle School
Nadine Senior – Harehills Middle School

One result was the birth of, the now nationally renowned, Phoenix Dance Theatre and later the Northern School of Contemporary Dance — both organisations are still thriving in the city.

Phoenix Dance Theatre - Gang of Five
Phoenix Dance Theatre – Gang of Five. Photograph: Terry Cryer.

The school building first opened in 1897 and finally closed in the 1980s. There were even moves to demolish the building in 2000.

Harehills Middle School in the past
Harehills Middle School in the past © Leeds Library & Information Service

A magnet for vandals, and standing derelict in recent years, the building has undergone a transformation and opened during August 2008.

Tenants include the African Queen restaurant and the Asian Express newspaper. Described as ‘a spacious and stylish business and social hub’ the building also features conference facilities, a gym, secure parking as part of a £5m project.

View original article > BBC Leeds, 29 August 2008

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