Temple Works is a former flax mill in Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was designed by engineer James Combe a former pupil of John Rennie, David Roberts, architect Joseph Bonomi the Younger and built in the Egyptian style by John Marshall between 1836 and 1840 with a 240hp double beam engine by Benjamin Hick (B. Hick and Son). Temple Works is the only Grade I listed building in Holbeck.
Temple Works, also known as Temple Mill, comprises an office block and factory, the office block based on the temple at Antaeopolis and Temple of Horus at Edfu with a chimney designed in the style of an obelisk; the factory building derived from the Typhonium at Dendera. Hick's engine was modelled with Egyptian details including a regulator in the form of a winged solar disk, and replaced the original Watt engine.
Marshall's inspiration for the design of Temple Works was his interest in Egyptology. When it was built it was said that Temple Works was the biggest single room in the world. An unusual feature of the Temple Works building is that sheep used to graze on the grass-covered roof. This served the purpose of retaining humidity in the flax mill to prevent the linen thread from becoming dried out and unmanageable. Sheep are not able to use stairs so the first hydraulic lift was devised in order to resolve the problem of moving them onto the roof; Hick was a hydraulics engineer, but it is not clear whether he was responsible for the invention.
“The vicinity of the new mill in Marshall Street was completely crammed with an excited mob, many of whom were armed with bludgeons, stones &c. The yard-door leading to the boilers of the new mill was strongly defended by Mr J. G. Marshall, and a number of workmen; but the mob by repeated efforts forced down the door, and rushed into the yard. They could not find the plug of the boiler, and consequently did not succeed in stopping the mill. They left the premises without having done any serious mischief, and then proceeded to the mill of Messrs. Titley, Tatham and Walker, Water Lane, which they were engaged in stopping when Prince George with the Lancers came up at full speed and formed in a line in Camp Field. The riot act was read, and two or three of the ringleaders were taken prisoners … .”
A planning application dated July 2005 proposed to partly demolish, refurbish, and extend the mill to form a retail centre, offices, cafes, 75 flats and parking. On 8 December 2008 a stone pillar in the mill's facade collapsed. A slab of millstone grit fell onto the pavement in Marshall Street and the roof parapet above the pillar bowed out. English Heritage advised on a strategy for repairs; their spokesman said that the building was "probably the finest example of a carved stone elevation in the whole region."
In late 2009 the building was opened as an arts centre, with an initial exhibition and tour as part of Leeds Light Night on 9 October.
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- Double Beam Engine: Model of B. Hick and Son's 240hp double beam engine on display at the Science Museum
- Historic England. "Details from image database (466044)". Images of England.
- Templeworks website
- Temple Works - The most extreme venue in Leeds