There may have been a house on the Claremont estate in Elizabethan times; we know that the land passed into the hands from Kirkstall Abbey to the Cranmer family after the Reformation.

The present house was built in the 1770s by John Elam, a Quaker merchant, on the site of an earlier house, but only gained the name “Claremont” in the mid-nineteenth century.

Claremont’s most notable owner was Dr John Deakin Heaton, and it was his alterations to the house that gave it most of its notable features which still exist today. John, his wife Fanny, and their three children moved into the house in 1856 and he lived there until his death in 1880 (Fanny lived there until her death in 1893). John Heaton was a prolific letter writer and diarist, and the society has a copy of his diaries, which detail all the changes made to the property during the period the Heatons lived here.
Dr Heaton was a physician at the General Infirmary and lecturer at the Medical School. He was a public-spirited man, and was deeply involved in the cultural and social life of Leeds. Heaton was a member of the Yorkshire Education Board and the Leeds School Board and was instrumental in the founding of the Yorkshire College of Science, now the University of Leeds. He was also Secretary of the Leeds Improvement Society, President of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, and was involved in the building of the Leeds Town Hall.
In the recent past Claremont was a nursing home, before it became the headquarters of the Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society in 1968.

(Information extracted from Claremont by Brian and Dorothy Payne, 1980)