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OGs raise a glass to Elinor Lupton

Tuesday 29 March 2022

When the Leeds Girls’ High School class of 1996 decided to meet up for a 25th anniversary reunion, there could only be one venue for a fun get-together. The 20 odd school pals made a beeline for the Elinor Lupton Centre in Headingley which is now a popular Wetherspoons pub.

The Old Girls raised a glass in the former arts centre on Headingley Lane, which has been transformed into The Golden Beam. They drank in the atmosphere of their old school days and enjoyed spotting some of the familiar features of the former school building at their reunion earlier this year.

The Grade II listed building which was used as a theatre and music centre for Leeds Girls’ High School from 1986 to 2010, is now a pub set on two floors, along with a large outside terrace.

JD Wetherspoons had to battle with town planners to gain permission to turn the building into a pub. Originally built as a Sunday school between 1912-1914 for the First Church of Christ Scientist by local architect William Peel Schofield, the building is a mixed style of art deco and Egyptian revival.

When the last school students left the building in 2010, the windows and doors were boarded up and the building stood empty for 11 years. In 2018 Leeds Civic Trust listed it on the Heritage at Risk register.

Many of the original features remain in the refurbished building, including the entrance foyer, two staircases and a glazed lantern in the auditorium roof.

Heading up to the women’s toilets, the girls said they were reminded of going up into the lighting box for school productions.

JD Wetherspoons invested £4.1 million to redevelop the Elinor Lupton building when they were finally granted planning permission and an alcohol licence in 2020. They renamed it The Golden Beam after a famous painting by Leeds-born artist John Atkinson Grimshaw.

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