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It is believed that many years ago, the Mabgate pub was linked by an underground tunnel to the palace pub in Leeds city centre, and apparently, some evidence of this was found when works were carried out on the site of the old woodpecker junction. It is also thought that the Mabgate pub earned its name from the olden day prostitutes, known as Mable's, who used to frequent the pub, and the area around it.
There is an old 19th century word "Mab" which meant:- To dress in a slack, slovenly, or careless manner. It was also used along with, Slattern, Drab, Frowdie, Harlot, Hellicat, Hobby-Horse, Hoyden, Jade, Slut, Strumpet, Tassel, Mouldy-Pudding, Loose-Stocking, Kicksy-Wicksy, or one of over a hundred and fifty, or more, colourful expressions that were used to describe "The Ladies of the Night". In the 19th century, Mabgate itself may well have been "Mabs' Gate".
Around about the mid 80's, The Mabgate was run by a couple I knew and (I think) they'll had just moved in and I vaguely recall giving them an helping hand one day and we moved something and there was this archway with a wooden door which I think was locked, obviously down in the beer cellar. The 2 sons said they would search for the keys when the pub shut in the afternoon. It was quite exciting really, a bit like an Enid Blyton novel. Anyhow, we went back a bit later and, I can't recall if there was a key or we bashed our way in, but anyway, we managed to get in and the room / tunnel went back a few feet and was bricked up. I'd imagine we'd have declined sledge hammering it down or the whole pub could have come down on our heads OR the River Aire could have cascaded in...Sadly there was no treasure trove or even a time capsule. The couple ran this pub until around, maybe 2000...