Leeds Tetley Brewery: Past, Present and Future


Last week we visited the Tetley brewery HQ for the last time, before it changes into an art space. It was an opportunity as part of the Heritage Open Days and something we did not want to miss as we really wanted to see it as it is now, and also find out more about what it will become.


It all began way back in 1822 when Joshua Tetley bought Salem Place brewery and after bringing in his son Francis William in 1839, construction of the new brewery began in 1852. By 1875  annual production had reached 171,500 barrels and in 1890, Tetley’s bought its first two pubs. Only one remains today, The Fleece in Farsley. The other, the Duke William, which was in Tetley’s yard, was “unceremoniously demolished” by Carlsberg in 2002.

Over the years Tetley’s continued to go from strength to strength. Then in 1911, Joshua Tetley and co challenged the great Harry Houdini, world famous escapologist, to escape from padlocked barrel of ale. He accepted the challenge, which took place at the Briggate Empire theatre, and… he was defeated by Tetley’s! He could not escape the ale filled barrel, so a friend, opened the barrel and pulled out a semi-concious, probably half-cut, Houdini. 

Did you know it wasn’t actually until 1920 that the Tetley Huntsman, that we all know and love, first appeared. What the heck did they use before that? ;) In 1931 the Tetley Headquarters Building, designed in the art-deco style, was built. From 1954 onwards there was a lot of growth and lots of changes to Tetleys. Tetleys aquired 3 breweries and then after joined forces with 2 other companies to form Allied Breweries. After all this, in 1993 Carlsberg-Tetleys was formed.

In 2011 Tetley’s Brewery was closed. The last cask of Tetleys from the Leeds Brewery was filled at 3.24pm on Tuesday the 22nd of Febuary.




Since the Leeds Tetley brewery has closed down, the council has granted planning permission for temporary use of part of the former Tetley brewery site as a green space, cultural hub in the Headquarters Building and the car park. 

The headquarters building will become  the home of PSL (Project Space Leeds):

PSL has now moved from Whitehall Waterfront and will reopen in the former Tetley Headquarters Building in Spring 2013.

The stunning 1930s Art Deco building is steeped in history and one of Leeds’ most iconic buildings. It will become PSL’s new home - a cultural hub for the city with galleries, dedicated learning spaces, cafe/bar and outdoor playground.


So the story of the Tetleys brewery will be resigned to the past and a new cultural space will emerge. What do you think to the plans for the future?