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15 Commercial Street

Leeds, West Yorkshire, England

The Leeds Library

Grade II*

Expanding The Leeds Library and creating a fully accessible culture, arts and education hub

The Leeds Library is one of the oldest surviving public subscription libraries in the UK. First opened in 1768, the library has been housed in a Grade II*-listed building in the centre of Leeds since 1808. With a collection of over 140,000 books and an archive of journals and rare editions, the library provides a fantastic resource of information and historic materials for visitors and members. 

In 2021, the Library was offered the opportunity to buy a neighbouring property, 15 Commercial Street, with a view to expanding the library space for the first time in over a hundred years. With much of the collection kept off site and an expanding programme of public activities and events, the organisation was keen to grasp this exceptional opportunity. 

Loan investment from the AHF, alongside the Ecology Building Society, provided the funds to support Leeds Library to acquire the 19th-century property at 15 Commercial Street. This acquisition will allow the expansion of the on-site library store and provide space for a fully accessible culture, arts and education hub. New opportunities for public engagement, volunteering and training also mean that there will be an increase in social impact. Further, a new lift located at 15 Commercial Street will create accessible routes into the main library building. The additional space will open to the public in 2023. 

AHF Funding

Heritage Impact Fund - £220,000 (2021)

Image Credits

The Leeds Library













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