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Municipal Buildings Including City Museum, Public Library and Attached Railings, Leeds

Description: Municipal Buildings Including City Museum, Public Library and Attached Railings

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 26 September 1963
English Heritage Building ID: 465680

OS Grid Reference: SE2982433849
OS Grid Coordinates: 429824, 433849
Latitude/Longitude: 53.8001, -1.5487

Location: Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 3AD

Locality: Leeds
County: Leeds
Country: England
Postcode: LS1 3AD

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text


714-1/75/79 (East side)
26/09/63 Municipal Buildings including City
Museum, Public Library and attached
(Formerly Listed as:
Municipal Buildings including City
Museum and Public Library)


Formerly known as: Municipal Buildings including Art Gallery
Municipal offices, now the premises of the Public Library and
Leeds City Museum. 1878-1884. By George Corson. Ashlar,
rusticated to basement, grey slate roof, cast-iron railings
and details.
3 storeys with basement and attic; 5 bays, the central and
outer 3-window bays project and have segmental-arched dormers
and pavilion roofs, 3+6 window facade to Centenary Street
(right return), the building originally U-plan with a shallow
rear courtyard, now built up. In Italianate style similar to
the Civic Court to N (qv) and complementing the Town Hall,
Victoria Square opposite (qv).
Central entrance flanked by Corinthian columns, round-arched
windows to ground and 1st floors, carved spandrels, deep
moulded entablature at each floor level, balustraded panels
below 1st-floor windows; superimposed orders of coupled
columns and pilasters between windows. Balustraded parapet,
central and corner bays flanked by square-section ashlar
columns with segmental pediments and urn finials, lead and
cast-iron finials to pavilion roofs.
Right return: round-arched library entrance in the left
3-window bay which is similar to front, remaining 6-bay wing
plainer, lacking the attached columns and pilasters but with
moulded floor sill and impost bands and with an extra tier of
clerestory windows on roof; left return similar. Large
multi-flue stacks at each end of the rear wings. Railings:
very fine geometric design with paired owl finials.
INTERIOR: elaborate decoration in Byzantine Romanesque style,
the principal features include: Calverley Street entrance hall
with marble columns supporting vaulted and panelled ceiling
and an alabaster carved screen with carved lettering on

MAYOR/ APRIL 17TH 1884', paired glazed doors, brass handles,
stained glass panels and roundel over; inner top-lit staircase
hall with double-arched arcade of marble columns with
elaborately carved capitals, staircases on left and right with
carved animals at terminals of stone handrails, stone and
cast-iron balustrades at half-landings, mosaic floors, tiled
A Caen stone partition wall between inner hall and lending
library, originally the general pay office where all municipal
rates were paid, has a carved panel representing the tax
collector above glazed doors and panels with coloured glass
representing badges of the British Isles. The pay office, now
library, has tiled walls and a barrel-vaulted ceiling with
panelled divisions, moulded ribs and ventilation bosses,
white-tiled inner room, probably a strong room; it opens into
the former gas and water department rooms, a single room
running the length of Alexander Street with a stone arcade of
granite columns and moulded and fluted arches. Other rooms on
the N and NW were offices for the Borough Engineer on the 1st
floor and the sanitary department on the 2nd; they retain
original 4-panel doors, fitted cupboards, leather-topped
shelves beneath windows, moulded architraves to windows,
The Centenary Street wing originally housed the Public Free
Library; the Centenary Street entrance corridor has tiled
walls and a vaulted ceiling; a blocked round arch on the E
side is the original entrance to the Reading Room (now
Commercial Library), of 6 bays with side aisles divided by
granite columns, original decoration remains above the false
ceiling: moulded and glazed wall tiles, terracotta plaques
with busts of literary figures in deep relief, segmental
panels of flowers and foliage in gold and polychrome mosaic
above the windows, vaulted ceiling lined with painted
hexagonal tiles and gilded ventilation bosses. The Lending
Library above the Reading Room now houses the Museum and
original features are obscured.
The Reference Library on the 3rd floor is as original:
arcaded, with terracotta piers between bays, gallery with
pillared and panelled front of walnut, pitchpine and mahogany,
original bookcase with pediment and carved bust, mirror-glass
panels on end walls, iron ribs support panelled and glazed
timber roof. The building retains minor staircases with
cast-iron balustrades and wooden handrails, and a cantilevered
stone stair in the NE corner which extends through the full
height of the building; probably original toilet fittings also
In the basement the original room divisions which housed the
waiting rooms, smoke and cab inspector's offices, porters

apartments and heating chambers remain, with the round-arched
openings for fire-engines opening into the former courtyard,
blocked in 1960s. Doorways from the basement open into
Centenary and Alexander Streets.
When the City Art Gallery (qv) was added to the E side of the
building in 1886 the Reading Room was converted to a Statuary
Gallery and the News Room moved into the new building.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: railings: very fine geometric design with
paired owl finia
(The British Architect, 1 February 1884: The Leeds New
Municipal Offices: 54).

Listing NGR: SE2982433849

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

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