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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 29825 33908



SE2933NE CALVERLEY STREET 714-1/75/78 (East side) 26/09/63 Civic Court and attached railings (Formerly Listed as: CALVERLEY STREET Leeds School Board Offices)


Formerly known as: Education Offices CALVERLEY STREET. Offices of the Leeds School Board with basement railings, now offices with bar in basement. 1879-81, converted 1994-95. By George Corson. Ashlar: rusticated basement of Burley-in-Wharfedale stone, Pool Bank stone above, grey slate and lead roof, cast-iron railings. 2 storeys with basement and attic, 5x10 bays. In Italianate style matching the Municipal Buildings to south (qv) and complementing the Town Hall, Victoria Street opposite (qv). Central entrance in projecting bay with round arch flanked by paired columns, niches with half-size statues of schoolgirl and schoolboy in the reveals, steps up to modern glass entrance screen, walls lined with buff terracotta moulded tiles. Round-arched ground-floor windows with carved spandrels, rectangular windows to 1st floor; superimposed orders of attached columns and pilasters, coupled at corners, entablature at floor levels and balustered parapet with urns over pilasters; central attic pavilion with octagonal roof has a plaque carved with the Leeds coat of arms and the words: 'LEEDS SCHOOL BOARD' in relief. Pavilion roof with moulded lead parapet and tall moulded attached chimneys on left and right returns. Left return: end 4 bays and stair turret with pavilion roof project on left, basement entrance to left of centre. Right return: similar details, entrances at each end. Railings: geometric design. INTERIOR: the recessed round-arched entrance porch is continued as a central corridor to the rear of the building and the stairs, rooms opening off each side. The corridor is barrel-vaulted and divided into 11 bays by fluted pilasters and panelled ribs; the walls of terracotta tiles with moulded bands of geometric and flower motifs, now painted; doorcases with plaster surrounds of leaves, roll mouldings; moulded cornice, polychrome floor tiles and original cast-iron heating grilles. The front room left was the principal meeting room; gallery at E end over an ante-room. A cantilevered stair with twisted cast-iron balusters and wooden handrail extends to the Alexander Street left entrance

and the basement. An arcade of round arches with stone columns towards the E end of the building rises through the upper floor and is obscured by later partitioning. The main staircase at the E end of the building is of an unusual double-helix form, with entrances from Great George Street and Alexander Street opening onto separate stone cantilevered staircases around a single top-lit open well, supported on short columns with stiff-leaf capitals and having wooden handrails and walls lined with white tiles with bands of blue and brown with flower motifs. First floor: the main staircase gives access from both flights to an ante-room with polychrome tiled floor and tiled walls as staircase. The attic storey has had an additional floor level inserted. The basement has been converted to a bar; the original floor plan has been lost. George Corson's original design was for one single building from Centenary Street to Great George Street to house the Municipal Offices, library and School Board Offices; this was modified to separate the School Board premises by the line of Alexander Street but the 2 buildings are similar in design and Corson considered the group to be his most important design. HISTORICAL NOTE: in 1870 the Elementary Education Act was passed, promoted by the Bradford mill owner WE Foster. The country was divided into areas governed by School Boards which were responsible for the education of children up to 10 years. Leeds School Board was established in November 1870, the members elected by the public and an assessment of needs showed that out of a total of 58,000 children needing education under the new Act only 12,000 were then receiving it. George Corson was one of the architects involved in the design of new schools for the Board but was criticised for extravagance; these prestigious new offices contained board and committee rooms on the ground floor, together with offices for clerks and attendant officers; the large examination room on the upper floor was reached by the impressive double staircase from boys' and girls' entrances from Great George and Alexander Streets. The School Board architect's offices were probably also in the building; although the Board decided to commission individual architects to design their schools from 1879 Richard Adams, their architect since 1873, continued until 1886. School Boards were abolished in 1902 when the new Education Act was passed and responsibility for secondary education and aid for denominational schools was added to the responsibilities of the Education Committees. (Williams, D: Leeds School Board and its Architecture (B.Arch thesis): 1975-; Butler Wilson, T: Two Leeds Architects

(Cuthbert Brodrick and George Corson): 1937-).

Listing NGR: SE2982533908


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Butler Wilson, T , Two Architects Cuthbert Brodrick and George Corson, (1937)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 07 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/03880/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Steve Novak. Source Historic England Archive
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