Leeds Civic Hall

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Leeds Civic Hall in Millennium Square
Blue plaque

Leeds Civic Hall is a civic building located in Millennium Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The building houses Leeds City Council and includes offices such as the Lord Mayor's room, council chambers and a banqueting hall, and is a Grade II* listed building.[1] It replaced Leeds Town Hall as the administrative centre in 1933.[2]

History[edit]

The design was the result of a competition held in 1926, which was won by Vincent Harris. Work began in 1931 and the hall was opened by King George V on 23 August 1933.[3][4] Costing £360,000 to construct, this was covered by a government grant to create work for the unemployed.[2][3][4]

Architecture[edit]

Rear (north) side

Exterior[edit]

It is on a triangular site at the top of a slope, looking down over what is now Millennium Square. It has a symmetrical front, but is in the form of a truncated V[1] where the west wing is longer than the east one.[5] It is made of Portland stone with a roof of green slate in Palladian style.[1][5] The main portico covers two storeys with a pediment supported on six large Corinthian columns.[3][5] The two wings have five storeys.[1] There are two large towers on the front face, in the style of Christopher Wren[1][2][5] and 170 feet (52 m) tall.[3][4] These are said to be modelled on the spire of the church of St Vedast by Nicholas Hawksmoor as they were not in the original design.[5] The public entrance is through the main south face, with staff entrances on each of the two wings. The two wings partially enclose a courtyard at the north side, with the Councillors' entrance.[5]

Decorations[edit]

Thorp Owl and clock
Closeup of clock face showing tortoises

There is a golden owl on top of each tower by John Hodge, who also carved the coat of arms in the pediment.[5] Each is cast in bronze, covered in gold leaf, is 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in) tall and weighs half a ton.[3][6] The owl comes from the city seal, itself from the coat of arms of the first Alderman, Sir John Savile.[2] A further 4 owls by City Architect John Thorp were erected on square columns in 2000 as part of the creation of Millennium Square.[7] There is also a gilded clock on a bracket on the each wing.[1] This has tortoises around the dial,[3]

Interior[edit]

There are marble floors throughout. The 90 feet (27 m) entrance hall is lined with grey gritstone and green scagliola columns.[5][3] The main staircase has stained glass windows by George Kruger Gray[5] and at the top a bust of King George V by William Reid Dick.[3] This leads to a 90 feet (27 m) long reception hall with three domed saucer ceilings, also by Gray.[5] The Assembly Hall was 100 feet (30 m) long and oak panelled is across the front of the building, now divided to a banqueting hall and other chambers. There is a parlour for the Lord Mayor at the East end and one for the Lady Mayoress at the West end.[5] The Council Chamber is a deep room below entrance level, with an oval seating arrangement. It is lined with walnut wood and hollow acoustic panels of artificial stone.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Civic Hall". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 21 June 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mitchell, W. R. (2000). A History of Leeds. Chichester: Phillimore. p. 4, 136, 153. ISBN 1 86077 130 0. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Mee, Arthur (1941). Yorkshire West Riding. Hodder & Stoughton. p. 233-234. 
  4. ^ a b c "Leeds nostalgia: Royal occasion for Leeds Civic Hall". Yorkshire Evening Post. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Wrathmell, Susan (2005). Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds. Yale University Press. p. 80-82. ISBN 0-300-10736-6. 
  6. ^ "Five things: Leeds Civic Hall". Yorkshire Evening Post. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  7. ^ "Golden Owl". www.talkingstatuesleeds.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°48′06″N 1°32′55″W / 53.8018°N 1.5486°W / 53.8018; -1.5486