Leeds & West Yorkshire

Majestyk fire: Man arrested after ex-nightclub badly damaged

Damage to roof of Majestyk nightclub Image copyright West Yorkshire Fire Service
Image caption The Majestyk roof has partially collapsed but the "iconic" building has been saved.

A fire has badly damaged the former Majestyk nightclub in Leeds.

Dozens of firefighters worked through the night to tackle the blaze at the Grade II-listed premises, the home of the Majestic cinema in the 1920s.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested but police said it was too early to say if the cause of the fire was suspicious.

At the height of the fire, flames could be seen shooting out of the top of the building as crews struggled to bring the blaze under control.

The roof has partially collapsed but the "iconic" building has been saved, firefighters said.

Image copyright Tom Blackwell
Image caption The building has been a prominent feature of Leeds city centre since the 1920s
Image copyright Dave Walton
Image caption Eyewitness Leon Baranowski said the flames were 50ft high

Most recently the premises was used as the home of the Majestyk nightclub, but it has also served as a ballroom and bingo club.

It lay disused for years after the closure of the nightclub, but had recently been refurbished.

Image copyright Dave Walton
Image caption The fire service says the damage inside Majestyk is extensive

Nick Smith, from the fire service, said: "It's a big fire and it's been a difficult operation. But we have managed to save this iconic building.

"We've had the structural engineer out and the building framework is safe. Obviously, the roof isn't, but it doesn't pose a risk to the public."

Timeline

1922: The Majestic cinema opens on 5 June with capacity for 1,200 in the circle and 1,600 in the stalls. It was designed by architect Pascal J Steinlet.

1950s: Doubles as a ballroom and continued to show films.

1969: Opens as the Top Rank bingo club.

1993: Becomes a Grade II-listed building.

Mid 1990s: Reopens as the Majestyk nightclub.

2006: Majestyk shuts its doors.

2010: Added to Leeds Civic Trust's 'At Risk' register. Bought by Leeds firm Rushbond Plc which planned to turn it into a live music venue.

Several road closures are in place around the site, which is opposite the railway station. They include Quebec Street, Wellington Street and New Station Street.

Mr Smith added: "Unfortunately for people coming into Leeds, anyone approaching the city from the south is going to have significant disruption to their travel."

Crews were called at about 19:20 BST on Tuesday following reports of smoke coming from the first floor of the building.

Leon Baranowski saw the flames from his flat, which overlooks the premises.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: "I looked out my window and you could see the flames. I watched it unfold for the next three or four hours.

"At about [22:30] the roof looked like it lit up again and that's when you started to see bigger flames, maybe 50ft up in the air.

"We got a real perspective because we had the backdrop of the city buildings."

Image copyright Betty Longbottom/Layla Robleh
Image caption The Majestyk before and after the fire

Mark Finch, director of real estate at Rushbond, which owns the building and carried out its recent restoration, said: "We're absolutely devastated by what's happened to The Majestic.

"We're extremely grateful to all the emergency services and Leeds City Council who all worked tirelessly throughout the night.

"We hope to progress with repairing the damage as soon as practically possible."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites