Friday afternoon, clouds gather along a long walk from the Leeds city centre, following an unforgivingly long dual carriageway, not without its hard won charm, we reached the Garden Gate.
A Tetley Heritage pub the most beautiful in Yorkshire, clad in warm glazed ceramics of the highest decorative order, a terrazzo porch and open door welcomes the weary walker.
Ready for a pint?
Leeds Pale Ale £2.60 a pop and a fine drop it is too, why not stay and have another!
The interior arrangement of rooms cluster around a fine tiled bar, linked by corridors, clad in curved wood and large etched windows, lit with the original fittings – all in an intoxicating Nouveau style.
The cellar is lined in heavy glazed white brick and retains its rugby league history with extant showers and physio room, former home of the Garden Gate ARLFC – it says so on the first aid kit.
A thinned bar of green soap rests on the side of the long-dry bath.
The staff and customers were warm, chatty and informative – my thanks for their generous hospitality.
Its worth the walk.
My thanks to Ms. Natalie Ainscough for her cheery company, innate sense of direction and can do attitude.
Turn left out of the station, round past the George, big and closed. Head under the railway viaduct – there it is right in front of you, on the corner of John Street.
You will not find a finer pub, but you don’t have to, you’re there.
Striding across the decorative deco porch, pushing aside the weighty timber and glass doors. Inside a dull warm afternoon light, falls lazily through the windows. White globes glow low from the ceiling, gently washing the well worn parquet floor. Put your bags down on the upholstered seating, walk up to the bar get a pint pulled, then another – take your time it’s fluid.
The main room is wide and welcoming, side rooms smaller and intimate.
Decorated in a post war muted style, all wood and restrained colour, certainly not over fussy or over decorative. It has a style that doesn’t impose itself upon you – simply whispers in your ear
Look out for the tiles, a series of sporting scenes in the gents, mysterious.
Having walked from the centre of town, following a full day of snapping this and that I was ready for a swift half of well kept Tetley’s Bitter. The staff were more than friendly and happy to assist me in recording this fine and welcoming hostelry. By day quiet and on the dark side, by night it comes to life. Large family and function rooms, a cards and doms tap room, pool and TV caters for customers of all ages and interests.
I have tried to capture the weight of sunlight as it falls softly, through the etched glass of the pub, a unique quality known only to the daytime drinker.
Like many large Edwardian pubs The Pagefield is now closed, though of great social, architectural and historical importance, the economics of industrial decline and changing patterns of leisure almost always point to a change of use rather than reopening as a boozer. Though more commonly becoming a Tesco or Sainsbury’s, plans have been submitted for both conversion to flats and a possible Indian Restaurant, neither seem imminent.
The building is blessed with etched and stained glass windows, a richness of architectural type, mosaic porch and a grandeur in scale and detailing. Once serving a high density of housing in the Springfield area, the mills that fuelled the economy of the area are now long gone, along with the wages that bounced over the bar.
It was named after the Pagefield iron rolling mills which were just down the road – thanks to Steven Buckley for the inside track, his great grandfathers worked at the mill.
Originally a Bolton based brewery Magee and Marshall owned the pub, passing to Greenall Whitley and then the usual succession of entrepreneurial pub companies.
“Magee Marshall & Company was a brewery that operated from the Crown Brewery in Bolton. It was founded by David Magee, a brewer and spirit merchant in 1853. He moved from the Good Samaritan Brewhouse to the Crown Hotel in the 1860s and built the Crown Brewery in Derby Street next to the hotel. After his death he was succeeded by his sons, who acquired David Marshall’s Grapes Brewery and the Horseshoe Brewery. The company was registered as Magee Marshall & Company Ltd. in 1888. The company acquired Henry Robinson’s Brewery in Wigan and Halliwell’s Alexandra Brewery. In 1959 it was acquired by Greenall and Whitley and closed in 1970.
The brewery, built around 1900, was in the “traditional brewery style” with a five-storey section for gravity processing and an ornamental tower. Up to the 1950s the company transported water, high in dissolved calcium carbonate content, in tankers by rail from Burton on Trent for the brewing process.”