Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
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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 29824 33849



SE2933NE CALVERLEY STREET 714-1/75/79 (East side) 26/09/63 Municipal Buildings including City Museum, Public Library and attached railings (Formerly Listed as: CALVERLEY STREET Municipal Buildings including City Museum and Public Library)


Formerly known as: Municipal Buildings including Art Gallery and Library CALVERLEY STREET. 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 plaques: 'FOUNDATION STONE/ LAID BY EDWARD HAMER CARBUTT/ MAYOR/ OCTR. 14TH 1878' and 'OPENED BY/ ALDERMAN WOODHOUSE/

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 walls. 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, fireplaces. 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 survive. 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


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

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Books and journals
'The British Architect' in The British Architect: 1 February, (1884), 54


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

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Date: 07 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/03880/25
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Steve Novak. Source Historic England Archive
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