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Middleton Hall and Associated Chapel, University of Hull, City of Kingston upon Hull

Description: Middleton Hall and Associated Chapel, University of Hull

Grade: II
Date Listed: 15 April 2014
Building ID: 1419695

OS Grid Reference: TA0767431643
OS Grid Coordinates: 507674, 431643
Latitude/Longitude: 53.7700, -0.3678

Locality: City of Kingston upon Hull
County: City of Kingston upon Hull
Postcode: HU6 7RX

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Listing Text


Principal university hall (Middleton Hall) and non-denominational Chapel. Designed in 1962 by Sir Leslie Martin, built in 1965-7 for the University of Hull. Concrete and load-bearing brick construction, externally pale-red brick cladding and lead roofs. The pipe organ is excluded form the listing.

Reason for Listing

Middleton Hall and associated Chapel, University of Hull, 1965-67 from 1962 designs by Sir Leslie Martin, is recommended for listing at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architect: Sir Leslie Martin (1908 - 2000) was a renowned British architect in the post-war period, who headed the team that designed the Royal Festival Hall (Grade I, 1949-51) and subsequently was highly influential in the higher education sector both as the first Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, and through his private practice.

* Architectural interest: Middleton Hall expresses the themes of Martin's best work of the later 1950s and the 1960s in its low key, careful brick massing, and strongly emotive spaces, clearly referencing the work of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.

* Historic interest: in the 1930s, Martin was head of the School of Architecture at Hull College of Art, which later became the University of Hull.

* Interior: the building is handsomely appointed with polished beech panelling to the hall and foyer, and wood block floors to the broad, outer corridors, while the cube form of the small, non-denominational chapel is particularly powerful, successfully displaying the three-dimensional geometry apparent in Aalto's designs;

* Group value: Middleton Hall forms the centrepiece of a formal composition at the entrance of the campus and is framed by the Administration Block of 1927 and Earth Sciences building of 1928 (both Grade II), with the linear, three-storey Faculty of Arts Larkin Building by Martin forming a backdrop to the rear.


Middleton Hall and its associated chapel were built for the University of Hull in 1965-7 to designs of 1962 by Sir Leslie Martin (1908 - 2000). Martin had been the head of the school of architecture at Hull College of Art from 1934-9, and the University College had subsequently become the independent University of Hull in 1954. Later, in 1956, Martin was appointed the first professor of architecture at the University of Cambridge, and at the same time he established a private practice which worked, often in collaboration with his associates, on a number of projects in the higher-education sector. He won commissions for development plans and buildings for the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester, and London, as well as the University of Hull. His advice was also sought by vice-chancellors during the rapid university expansion of the 1960s, and he was instrumental in the appointment of James Stirling and James Gowan at Leicester, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon at Leeds, and Denys Lasdun at East Anglia.

In 1958 Martin was commissioned by the University of Hull to produce a development plan to bring a coherence and focus to the campus, which was established here in 1924. Middleton Hall formed a centrepiece to the formal composition at the entrance of the campus, framed by two buildings of 1927 and 1928 (both listed Grade II in 1994), with the linear, three-storey Faculty of Arts Building (Larkin Building), also by Martin, providing a backdrop to the rear.


Principal university hall (Middleton Hall) and non-denominational Chapel. Designed in 1962 by Sir Leslie Martin, built in 1965-7 for the University of Hull. Concrete and load-bearing brick construction, externally pale red brick cladding and lead roofs.

PLAN: Middleton Hall is a rectangular building with a separate, small, square chapel on its east side, both standing on a raised terrace. The building is entered on the raised ground floor, with a large hall at its centre rising through three floors from the lower ground floor through to the first floor. The narrow entrance foyer has flights of steps on either side leading up to first-floor side galleries in the hall and down to the lower ground floor, which has a wide corridor on three sides of the hall, partially containing a café area. On the eastern side, the two-storey chapel opens off the corridor, with exhibition rooms in the SE corner, and a square light well on the north side of the chapel. The corridor links with internal steps leading up to the ground floor of the Larkin Building behind. On the north side of the hall is a back-of-stage area containing dressing rooms and service rooms.

EXTERIOR: Middleton Hall, the chapel, and the raised terrace walls are built of narrow, two inch bricks in stretcher bond, echoing the brickwork of the framing inter-war buildings. It forms a solid, stepped mass of brickwork with a recessed flat roof faced in lead to the hall. The front elevation faces south towards the main Cottingham Road entrance of the University. The central entrance of the hall is reached by a broad flight of red-brick steps rising through the terrace between flanking walls. The wide doorway has a frame of dark-brown metal with two pairs of double-glazed doors flanked by side lights, and is set beneath a lead-clad, cantilevered canopy. Attached to the canopy is a modern sign naming the hall. Modern, relief lettering has also been attached to the top, left-hand corner of the elevation spelling University of Hull beneath a number of symbols. On the right-hand side of the terrace is a raised, angled roof light providing top lighting into the exhibition space on the lower ground floor. To its rear is the blind, brick wall of the flat-roofed chapel, which is entered from within Middleton Hall.

On the east side elevation the chapel wall is flush with the terrace wall. On its right-hand side is a flight of red-brick steps rising through the terrace and on its left-hand side is the angled roof light. Behind the chapel is the brick wall of Middleton Hall with a full-height recess in the brickwork containing a doorway with double, vertically-planked timber doors, the lead cladding continued down from roof level to the door head. At floor level on the left-hand side of the doorway is a continuous, narrow row of windows.

The west, side elevation of Middleton Hall is treated similarly, with a full-height recessed doorway and a continuous, narrow row of floor-level windows on the right-hand side. At each end of the terrace wall is a flight of red brick steps rising through the terrace. In front of the terrace wall is a ramp and opposing steps down to a lower-ground floor entrance (screened by a hedge).

INTERIOR: the interior has white painted brickwork, polished beech panelling, sound-absorbent ceilings painted white, wooden block floors with small, square tiles to the back-stage areas. The foyer has a lobby with a pair of glazed and timber double doors with aluminium hand pulls. The foyer is partially lined with beech panelling and the flights of steps have wooden, plank handrails fixed to the walls. The hall is lined with beech wood panelling. It has an adaptable stage to allow for proscenium arch or apron stage performances, with sliding doors across the proscenium so the hall may also be used for lectures or chamber music. There is seating for 514, the seating to a design by Robert Maguire and Keith Murray, with a single seating rake and narrow flanking galleries. Between the beech double doors of the two galleries is a cantilevered technicians' box. The broad corridors on the lower ground floor are lit by clerestory windows. The chapel is a small, square space. Two massive, plywood box beams support the flat roof. They are set on concrete corbels in the east wall, but rest on top of a similar beam with concrete corbels running across the west side of the building. There is a raised outer aisle on three sides containing concealed clerestory windows which light the white-painted chapel walls. The central section has timber joists resting on the beams and light shines through a concealed toplight directly onto the freestanding raised sanctuary and altar.

EXCLUSIONS: pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the pipe organ on the south side of the chapel is not part of the original design and is not of special architectural or historic interest.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.