Park Square, Leeds

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Park Square in May 2018

Park Square is a Georgian public square in central Leeds, West Yorkshire. The square is grassed over and is a traditional Georgian park. The square is in Leeds' financial quarter and is surrounded by Georgian buildings, which are occupied as offices, many by barristers and solicitors.

History[edit]

St Paul's House from the square
Vicarage Chambers

Park Square was part of a fashionable West End housing development, known as the Park Estates which was developed at the end of the eighteenth century for the upwardly mobile wealthy, to give them some distance from industry and the river, but within easy reach of the commercial centre.[1] It was laid out from 1788,[1] being completed in its original form in 1810 with houses 'well built in the modern tradition'.[2] Somewhat grander dwellings were available in nearby Park Place.[1] In naming the area, the word 'street' was avoided in favour of terms such as 'Row', 'Parade', 'Place' and 'Square', considered more prestigious, as had already been done in Georgian developments such as Bath, Bloomsbury and Bristol.[3]

It featured a private garden square and a church, St Paul's, on the south side which offered exclusive pew and interment rights to the residents.[4]

However the initial aim of a purely residential area was not maintained when a large warehouse and cloth cutting works, St Paul's House, was built in 1878 for ready-made mass production tailor John Barran on St Paul's Street, with its rear aspect effectively taking up half the south side of the square. This was, however, in grand Arabic-Saracenic style by architect Thomas Ambler, and notable as the first planned and designed clothing factory.[5] The building was modernized and converted to offices in 1977, with a new main entrance on Park Square South.[5][2]

The other half of the south side of the square was taken up by St Paul's Church, (built 1793, demolished 1906). In 1938 Rivers House (21 Park Square South) was built on the site in Neo-Georgian style as offices for the Water Board.[6] It is now private flats: Park Square Residences. Number 9, Park Square East is Vicarage Chambers, being on the site of the former vicarage of St Paul's Church.[7]

For much of the 20th century a major feature was a bronze statue by Alfred Drury (1895) of Circe who changed the companions of Odysseus into swine, shown around her feet.[5][8] This is also Grade II listed,[8] but was moved to the Leeds Museum in 2008.[9]

Former residents[edit]

Sir Berkeley Moynihan's rooms with blue plaque

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mitchell, W. R. (2000). A History of Leeds. Chichester: Phillimore. p. 89. ISBN 1 86077 130 0.
  2. ^ a b Lloyd, David; Powell, Ken (September 1977). "Leeds Ancient and Modern". Built Environment Quarterly. 3 (3): 232–237.
  3. ^ Beresford, Maurice (1988). East End, West End:The Face of Leeds During Urbanisaton 1684–1842. Leeds: The Thoresby Society. p. 130. ISBN 0900741236.
  4. ^ Navickas, Katrina (2015). Protest and the politics of space and place, 1789–1848. Manchester University Press. p. 184. ISBN 9780719097058.
  5. ^ a b c Broadhead, Ivan (1990). Leeds. Ilkley: Smith Settle Ltd. p. 35. ISBN 1 870071 638.
  6. ^ "Park Square South, no.21, Rivers House". www.leodis.net. Leeds Library & Information Services. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Vicarage Chambers and Attached Railings (1375441)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Historic England. "Statue of Circe at West End of Central Garden (1375465)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Leeds statue comes in from the cold". Yorkshire Evening Post. 7 March 2008.
  10. ^ Lazenby, Peter (6 December 2005). "Blue plaque for medical pioneer". Yorkshire Evening Post.

External links[edit]

  • Leodis Aerial View of Park Square in 1926
  • Leodis Photograph of Circe statue in 1972
  • Leodis Photograph of Circe statue in 1999


Coordinates: 53°47′56″N 1°33′07″W / 53.79889°N 1.55194°W / 53.79889; -1.55194