A wool warehouse dating to the late eighteenth century, later used as the premises of a whitesmith and tinner, now disused.
Reason for Listing
The eighteenth-century wool warehouse in Upper George Yard is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: purpose built industrial buildings from the eighteenth century are relatively rare;
* Architecture: the architecture of the building is mainly utilitarian, but clearly displays in its form its original function as a warehouse;
* Alterations: the alterations and changes to the building, while detrimental in part, serve to illustrate its changing and complex history;
* Historical context: it is illustrative of an early phase in the development of the internationally important textile industry of West Yorkshire, at a period before full industrialisation, and as such is a rare and significant survival.
The will of William Ferguson, written in 1772 and proved in 1779, refers to a warehouse behind Crown Street, recently constructed and bought from John Prescott, a significant local cloth merchant. This dates the building to before the construction of the Piece Hall (1779), and relates to the period when the white cloth market was centred on Crown Street, with a cloth hall nearby to the west of the Upper George Inn, and when much business was conducted in the inns which abounded in the vicinity. With the arrival of the Piece Hall and subsequently the development of the centralised textile mills around the town, warehouses such as that in Upper George Yard were no longer required and many were demolished or found other uses.
A valuation of 1826 with its accompanying plan shows the warehouse in the ownership of Christopher Bolland and tenanted by a whitesmith and a tinner. It is referred to as having five storeys and has the same footprint as at present. The two phases currently visible in the fabric appear to be close to each other in date. In 1826 it was among a group of buildings in the yard area, and a 1:1056 plan of 1854 also shows a group of buildings in the yard. A roofline scar on the east side of the extant building confirms that there was an attached building on this side though its position, across a blocked window, indicates that this lower building post-dated the warehouse.
The former warehouse has been unused for a number of years, and several schemes for its re-use in the late C20 and early C21 have involved the insertion of steel beams and breeze block partitions in some parts of the building. It remains unused.
Former warehouse dating to the late C18, with C21 alterations.
MATERIALS: thinly coursed squared sandstone with ashlar quoins and dressings under a stone slate roof.
PLAN: it has five storeys and six windows on its longer axis which faces south. There is a break in the masonry between the western and eastern halves, with irregular quoining facing into the eastern half.
EXTERIOR: the south facing elevation has a ground-floor blocked door to the right flanked by blocked square windows, in continuous plain stone surrounds. On the first floor is a blocked door with scrolled brackets to the hood, with one window to the left and three to the right, all two-light in plain stone surrounds. The second, third and fourth floors have six two-light windows each, except for one missing on the fourth floor. The east-facing gable end has partially demolished loading doors on the first, second and third floors, small blocked openings on the second and third floors and the scar of a former roof line cutting across the second floor opening. The fourth floor and most of the third floor have been demolished and replaced with breeze blocks. Two openings with steel lintels at the fourth floor have been inserted. The west-facing gable end has a four-light blocked opening on the ground floor in a plain stone surround, and four floors of three two-light windows above. The north elevation has a ground-floor door at the right with scroll brackets to the hood, with three continuous blocked openings to its left. Above is a large two-light window on the first floor, two two-light windows on the second floor and three on each of the third and fourth floors. The eastern half of the elevation has three two-light windows on the first to fourth floors, and on the ground floor an enlarged opening with an inserted steel beam and partial breeze block blocking. At the left end is a former doorway blocked in long ago with stone. One window on the third floor is a partly blocked loading door.
INTERIOR: the interiors were not accessible at the time of inspection, other than a view into one part of the ground floor which showed squared ceiling beams and an inserted breeze block wall.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.