100-year-old cow byres to be converted into play centre and cafe at Temple Newsam

Both areas will take inspiration from the farm and the park bringing the great outdoors inside.

Temple Newsam’s Home Farm will gain a new indoor play centre for children after plans to convert an old cow byre have been approved.

The new development will see two new play areas developed, a comfy café offering drinks and light meals, as well as space for a shop area.

The cow byres will be converted into a play area by the end of the year. / Image: Leeds City Council

Due to open in late autumn, the new development will have two play areas, one in the original milking parlour, suitable for up to 12 year-olds, and the second area for toddlers which will be situated in a purpose built extension to the rear yard.

Both areas will take inspiration from the farm and the park bringing the great outdoors inside- a fitting proposal to match the child-friendly Temple Newsam grounds.

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Image: Leeds City Council

The cow byre and its surrounding buildings have a fascinating history. Built over 100 years ago, the buildings were used as a milking parlour to provide clean tuberculin-tested milk to the hospitals in Leeds.

The building and production systems were state of the art for their time and by the 1940s, had Shorthorn cows producing over 70,000 gallons of milk each year.

There’s still cows at Temple Newsam, over at Home Farm. / Image: Temple Newsam

The council ceased dairy farming in 1968 and after that time the building had various other uses including being a vehicle depot for the council’s parks department and even being home to West Yorkshire Police’s stables in the 1970’s.

During this time, multiple alterations to the building and some of the original fixtures and fittings, including the magnificent-looking ventilation turrets, had fallen into disrepair so it has become apparent that urgent repairs are going to be needed.

The plans for the cow byre will not only provide the building with a new purpose, but one that will respect its original design and history.

Image: Temple Newsam

Public consultation revealed that visitors were keen that Home Farm should have more indoor facilities so that they could visit at all times of the year and from this the idea, the ‘Playbarn’ was developed. Given the wet weather this half term, this is something we can certainly appreciate.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles said:

“I am so pleased to see that this fascinating old building will be given a new lease of life offering families a place to come along and enjoy for many years to come. Creating more indoor space for people to enjoy at Home Farm was a key finding from a public consultation we did last year so we are excited to move this project forward and deliver on this commitment.

Image: Temple Newsam

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“I am looking forward to following the progress of this project and visiting in autumn once the scheme is complete.”

Feature Image- Leeds City Council

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