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Report - Dark Arches, Leeds - October 2015

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by WildBoyz, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    History

    The land on which the arches now stand, including the River Aire that runs beneath part of the city, was originally occupied by peasant farmers. People had farmed this area as early as the 1086, when the region was known as Loidis in the Celtic Kingdom of Elmet. During these early years, a medieval dam was constructed in the river, to divert water to the manorial corn mill at Swinegate, on the orders of the Lord of the Manor, Ilbert de Lacy whose fortified manor stood on the site that is now occupied by the Scarborough Hotel. The original dam is still visible to this day.

    Construction of the Victorian Dark Arches began much later in 1866, when most of the small railway groups were merging into larger companies. By this time, Leeds prospered as a result of the woollen industry and the wider industrial revolution occurring across England at the time. In response to this a new station in Leeds city centre was required, so more passengers and goods would be able to move through the city. After the completion of the arches, which used over 18 million bricks, the station was built above, on the surface level. However, despite the completion of something that was indeed awe-inspiring, especially since nothing on this scale had ever been accomplished in this area before, the Chief constable of Leeds at the time, writing in 1892, filed a report requesting an urgent expansion of the police force because the Dark Arches attracted many sorts of idlers, criminals and loose women. Since the arches were constructed with walkways and passages, and a number of small businesses and workshops, not just the waterway, people were able to walk freely beneath the city of Leeds. It was well-known though that people should avoid these areas if they did not want to be beaten or robbed.

    By the 1990s, the entire development had been cleared of most of its former problems and it was considered and advertised as being Leeds’ ‘best kept secret’. The Granary Wharf shopping centre is located within and around the arches and several other small businesses and restaurants were located there, although a number of these have closed and been redeveloped into car parking spaces. While the Granary Wharf area was in financial decline for a number of years throughout the early 2000s, since 2009 the Wharf has been improved considerably.

    Our Version of Events

    It has been a wee while since all of us went off on an exploring trip together, so we decided to pile into a couple of cars and see where the road took us. The first point of call thereafter was Leeds, to visit the Dark Arches we’ve heard so much about. Unfortunately for us, it had been raining a lot in the days leading up to our visit, so when we first arrived to access the underground passages the water depth had surged quite considerably and the flow of the water was pretty dangerous to say the least. We did, however, manage to find a way inside the ‘non-public’ part of the Dark Arches and they were very different to how we first imagined they would be. They were, as we’d been told, ‘awe-inspiring’ and had to some extent a pleasant piratey underworld feel to them, but they were much shorter than we’d anticipated.

    On a more personal level, I was a little disappointed that we weren’t able to get the waders on to have a deeper gander inside the arches, but, in hindsight, if we had done that I think we would have been swept away by the torrent of water. Although we had considered getting the dinghy out, to raft our way down the river, we decided against it since we didn’t fancy getting caught paddling the open river in broad daylight on our first explore of the trip. Perhaps when winter comes though, a little revisit might be on the cards.

    Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Rizla Rider and Husky.

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  2. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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  3. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Close but no Cigar ;)

    Don"t blame you deciding against it mate, that flow is something else & it"s a one way trip down the River. We were bricking it both ways & it"s slippy as Fuck :eek:

    Nice to see the improvement in the low light pics :thumb
     
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  4. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Just a bit. I'll have another crack again... Probably next summer when the rain stops ;)
     
  5. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Yeah mate, a revisit is required I think. Glad I've been in there now though.

    We had a little look and did plan to get the waders on, but in the end - after we saw the water close up - just decided to pack up and leave.

    Cheers man, I've been working on trying to improve the underground snaps. Lots of trial and error.
     
  6. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Very nice... great snaps mate :thumb
     
  7. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Thanks Will :thumb
     
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