New affordable housing development to be named after Leonora Cohen: Leeds born suffragette and one of the UK’s first female magistrates
54North Homes’ new affordable and sustainable development, currently being built on Railway Street in Leeds, is to be named ‘Leonora House’ in memory of Leeds born suffragette, Leonora Cohen, who was also one of the UK’s first female magistrates.
She was born Leonora Throp in Hunslet, Leeds, in 1873 and worked as an apprentice milliner before marrying Henry Cohen, a watchmaker and jeweller. Her mother had been widowed with three young children when Leonora was just five and she saw how hard it was for her mother raising children alone whilst working as a seamstress, and how few rights British women had at that time. She later stated that it was her “mother's lack of empowerment that radicalised her”. From 1909-1913 she was one of the prominent fighters for women’s suffrage, culminating in her being jailed twice, first in Holloway and then in Armley Jail, and ending up on hunger strike.
Her activism didn’t end with women being granted the vote. In 1923, Leonora became the first woman president of the Yorkshire Federation of Trades Councils, in 1924 she was appointed as one of the first female magistrates in the country and in 1928 was awarded an OBE in recognition of her social work. She lived out the rest of her long-life in Leeds (living to 105). Now, not only will there be a blue plaque in her memory at her former home at Claremont Villas on Clarendon Road, but Leonora House will be home to a new generation of Leeds residents.
Joanna Chambers, Director of Assets and Growth at 54North Homes, comments: “We wanted to recognise and celebrate an influential and inspiring Leeds born woman in the naming of the building. We chose Leonora Cohen whose grit and determination throughout her life paved the way for women’s rights of the future.”
Leonora House is being built on the site of the old Yorkshire Rider Social Club, on Railway Street, near Quarry House. Work began in Spring 2023 and is scheduled for completion in November 2024. The development comprises 28 one-bedroom, 25 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom apartments designed to a high specification throughout. The homes will be energy efficient, connecting into the Leeds PIPES district heating system to power the hot water, and with EV charging points and cycle storage to facilitate green travel. The homes will also have a flexible layout, including workspace areas to accommodate the increase in home working. Whilst outside there will be landscaped gardens with grass and trees to enhance biodiversity and each of the ground floor apartments will have their own garden.
The £12 million scheme is the first new-build development to be built by affordable housing provider, 54North Homes*, which manages over 3,000 homes throughout Yorkshire. Funding has been provided by Homes England Strategic Partnership funding, Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through its devolved Brownfield Housing Fund.
*54NorthHomes was formed in December 2022 through a merger between Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association and York Housing Association and is now a subsidiary of the Karbon Homes Group.
Paul Dodsworth, Managing Director of Caddick Construction Group, comments: “We’re proud to be bringing these much-needed homes to the Leeds community, and also to be delivering 54North Homes’ first affordable housing development. It’s been great to see the rich history of Leeds captured within this development, and as we pay tribute to the incredible paths carved out by women like Leonora Cohen, we’re proud to be forming part of the future of this fantastic city.
“We’ve got a great team on-site and have enlisted a local and skilled supply chain, which will help to deliver this scheme over the next year.”
For further information, please contact Georgina Thompson at 54North Homes
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 07968 978510
Or Alice Midgeley at Karbon Homes: email@example.com