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Middleton Hall and associated Chapel, and Larkin Building, off Cottingham Road, University of Hull

A Grade II Listed Building in University, City of Kingston upon Hull

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Latitude: 53.7699 / 53°46'11"N

Longitude: -0.3681 / 0°22'5"W

OS Eastings: 507653

OS Northings: 431631

OS Grid: TA076316

Mapcode National: GBR GFD.T0

Mapcode Global: WHGFK.9HYS

Entry Name: Middleton Hall and associated Chapel, and Larkin Building, off Cottingham Road, University of Hull

Listing Date: 15 April 2014

Last Amended: 1 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1419695

Location: Kingston upon Hull, HU6

County: City of Kingston upon Hull

Electoral Ward/Division: University

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kingston upon Hull

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hull, Newland St John

Church of England Diocese: York

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Principal university hall (Middleton Hall) and non-denominational Chapel, and Faculty of Arts building (Larkin Building). 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 from the listing.


Principal university hall (Middleton Hall) and non-denominational Chapel, and Faculty of Arts building (Larkin Building). 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.

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 music recording studios and rehearsal rooms in the SE corner (formerly exhibition rooms for the university art collection), and a music studio and loading bay on the north side of the chapel (formerly a square light well and chaplain's office). 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.
The Larkin Building has a long range on the north side of Middleton Hall, with shorter wings at the east and west ends projecting northwards. It is of three storeys with a basement and there is a wide covered pedestrian walkway at ground-floor level to the left (west) side of Middleton Hall. Seven lecture theatres are grouped at ground-floor level on the east side of the pedestrian walkway. They open off the north side of a wide corridor with the internal steps from Middleton Hall rising on the south side. The two largest lecture theatres project on the north side of the building in line with the position of Middleton Hall. The building also contains staff offices and seminar rooms opening off either side of wide spine corridors which are widened at intervals to form student break-out areas. The projecting east wing contains a music department with practice rooms.

Middleton Hall: 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 the entrance to the new loading bay (2014) with brick side walls, two pairs of black powder-coated aluminium double doors and a zinc fascia above (replacing the original 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).

The Larkin Building: the three-storey building has alternating bands of brick walling of narrow, two inch bricks in stretcher bond and continuous window glazing. A brick parapet obscures the flat roof, with a set-back, raised, rectangular block over the pedestrian walkway. On the south elevation, to the rear of Middleton Hall, the first-floor and second-floor windows alternate square windows with narrow, side-opening lights. The ground floor has similar windows with the exception of a block to either side of the pedestrian walkway and to the right-hand side of the Middleton Hall terrace where there are narrower, clerestory bands of top-hinged lights. All the windows have black powder-coated aluminium frames and wrap round the outer corners onto the east and west wings. The north elevation of the central range has bands of the alternating square windows with narrow, side-opening lights on all three floors with the exception of the first and second floors above the pedestrian walkway where the wall is blind with lintel bands. To the left-hand side of the pedestrian walkway is a projecting, single-storey, flat-roofed rectangular box with blind, brick walls which contains two lecture theatres. The window bands wrap round onto the inner elevations of the east and west wings. The ground floor of the west, inner elevation of the east wing has a doorway on the left-hand side with two adjacent vents for a plant room. The east, outer elevation of the east wing has bands of windows on the first and second floors, with a doorway at the left-hand end of the ground floor and a narrower band of clerestory windows, with two doorways at the right-hand end (formerly a small bank premises). The east, inner elevation and west, outer elevation of the west wing have bands of windows on all three floors. The ground floor of the outer elevation has two pairs of glazed double doors at the right-hand end with a wide flight of shallow steps. The north, end elevation is blind with lintel bands.

Middleton Hall: 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.

The Larkin Building: the interior has white painted brickwork walls with wooden block floors to the wide spine corridors with white-painted sound absorbent ceilings. The student break-out areas and ceiling of the corridor in front of the lecture theatres are coffered with inset panels of thin wooden strips painted white and boxing for strip lights. The windows lighting the corridors have beech sills and lintels. Corridor walls on all floors have numerous original noticeboards with beech frames and pelmets, originally containing strip lights. The steps up from the lower ground floor of Middleton Hall have a low, plastered balustrade wall around the stairwell with beech wood coping. Staircases throughout the building have wooden, plank handrails attached to the walls. The doorways opening off the pedestrian walkway into the east and west sides of the building have entrance lobbies lined with beech panelling. The lecture theatres have beech double doors with narrow, vertical light strips and aluminium door pulls set in beech frames with applied lettering identifying the lecture theatre. The doors open into small lobbies with beech boarding to the ceilings and similar double doors at the rear opening into the actual lecture theatres. The two larger lecture theatres are located to the rear of two smaller lecture theatres and they share their lobbies with the inner doors separated by a short, brick wall. The smaller lecture theatres have raked rows of seating with desks of long timber boards (some replaced) The steel-framed seating has continuous, vinyl-coated, padded backs and double seats which flip up. The walls are lined with stepped, beech wood panelling, and the ceiling is beech lined with strips to the outer sides and larger panels to the centre with suspended timber frames to conceal strip lighting. The larger lecture theatres are similarly detailed with raked seating, board desks, and beech wood panelling to the walls and ceilings with suspended timber frames for lighting. The side walls have both larger beech panels and an area of vertical, timber strips. There are many original doors throughout the building which take the form of either solid timber doors of beech, beech with a narrow, vertical light strip, or with a narrow, vertical light strip with a rectangular overlight in a beech frame. Some of the latter retain the original linen material sandwiched between sheets of glass to provide privacy. Modern double doors of a similar appearance have been inserted into the long corridors for fire safety reasons. The rooms have beech panels beneath the windows, and the music practice rooms in the east wing have fully panelled walls and ceilings.

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.

The first and second-floor enclosed link block with a pedestrian walkway beneath which links the north, end elevation of the east wing of the Larkin Building to the 1996 Ferens Building is not part of the original Sir Leslie Martin design and is excluded from the listing.


Middleton Hall, its associated chapel and the Faculty of Arts Building 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. 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 March 1958 Martin was appointed as consultant architect 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, the linear, three-storey Faculty of Arts Building (Larkin Building) providing a backdrop to the rear, and visually linking the two framing buildings of 1927 and 1928 (both listed Grade II in 1994).

Reasons for Listing

Middleton Hall and associated Chapel, and the Larkin Building University of Hull, 1965-67 from 1962 designs by Sir Leslie Martin, are listed 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 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, supported by the clean, horizontal lines of the Larkin Building which acts as a foil, the design 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 part of the University of Lincoln;

* Planning: the two buildings are key elements in Martin's scheme to bring coherence and focus to the university campus, with the Larkin Building visually linking the forward-standing Administration Block of 1927 and Earth Sciences Building of 1928 to form a forecourt with Middleton Hall as the centrepiece, and also forming the enclosing wall to a new inner court, the two courts linked by a pedestrian walkway with cars and service roads removed to the periphery;

* Interior: Middleton Hall is handsomely appointed with polished beech panelling to the hall and foyer, and wood block floors to the broad, outer corridors, and the cube form of the small, non-denominational chapel is particularly powerful, successfully displaying the three-dimensional geometry apparent in Aalto's designs, while the Larkin Building is similarly treated, with polished beech panelling to the lecture theatres and main entrance lobbies, generous provision of beech noticeboards to the corridor walls and retention of many original doors;

* Group Value: Middleton Hall forms the centrepiece of a formal entrance forecourt and has a strong visual group value with the Larkin Building and close proximity to the listed Administration Block of 1927 and Earth Sciences building of 1928, all having a functional association as university buildings.

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