A historic pub interior of national importance
Listed Status: II364 Kirkstall Road
Tel: (0113) 226 3154
Real Ale: Yes
Lunchtime Meals: Yes
Evening Meals: Yes
Nearby Station: Burley Park
Station Distance: 700m
Public Transport: Near Railway Station (Burley Park) and Bus Stop
View on: Whatpub
Built in 1896 with an eye on the affluent new housing developments of Lord Cardigan’s Leeds estates, the ‘Cardy’ is outstanding for the overall completeness of its compartmentalised interior. With four rooms of different sizes off a large L-shaped drinking foyer, a separate vaults and an upstairs function room, it is the most internally complex of a surviving local trio of substantial Victorian pubs designed by Leeds architect Thomas Winn (q.v. the Adelphi and nearby Rising Sun). It retains much of its as-built décor and fittings with extensive use made of etched glass, fine woodwork, ornamented ceilings and wall-coverings. There are also signs of a 1930s makeover, namely the tiling in the right-hand corridor and gents’, and woodwork in the Oak Room. The bar-fittings are from restoration work in the 1980s by its long-time owners, Joshua Tetley & Son. The old outbuildings include a disused tower brewhouse. Statutorily listed in 1998 following a pilot study of Leeds pubs by CAMRA for English Heritage.
The development of dense streets of back-to-back housing on this part of Lord Cardigan's Leeds estate began in the 1870s, and when the Cardigan Arms was constructed in 1893-5 it was as the centrepiece of a thriving artisan suburb. The proprietor of the pub was Benjamin Greaves who employed architect Thomas Winn, a trustee of the Leeds Licensed Victuallers' Association. Built on a corner site about a mile from Leeds city centre, the pub's nicely-detailed gritstone façades nowadays lend welcome adornment to workaday Kirkstall Road.
The Cardigan is one of a local trio, with the Adelphi and the nearby Rising Sun - all very well preserved late Victorian drinking palaces designed by Leeds architect Thomas Winn. It is perhaps the most internally complex of the three, with three lounges of different sizes off a central L-shaped drinking lobby, a separate public bar that was formerly sub-divided with a 'Ladies Only' section ( still proclaimed in etched glass in the side door panel), and an upstairs function room, the "Harmonic Room", accessed via an open staircase from the central lobby.
The interior retains much of its as-built décor and fittings, and displays fine woodwork, extensive use of etched glass, mosaic panels in both entrances and original ceiling mouldings and wall-coverings. Outbuildings to the rear include a stable block and the shell of a small tower brewery which has long ceased brewing. There are also signs of a 1930s makeover – e.g. the woodwork in the Oak Room and tiling in the right-hand corridor and the gents' – and the bar-fittings are from restoration work in the 1980s by its long-time owners, Joshua Tetley & Son, who gave this fine pub their 'Heritage' badging in1989. Statutorily listed in 1998 following CAMRA’s Leeds pilot study for English Heritage.
Update 2016: Flood damage has stained the floor, two back room ceilings have been repaired, two etched windows in the Vaults have been smashed, and three leaded lights in the poolroom have been replaced with frosted glass.