Original Infirmary and Corson's Pavilion Wing
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds
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- Statutory Address:
- Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Hospital including chapel. 1864 to 1868 by George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878, knighted 1872). Pavilion ward block, 1889 to 1892 by George Corson.
Later extensions directly attached to the original infirmary, namely: the 1956 metabolic ward, later the pharmacy, built between the central and west pavilions; a clinical theatre, now the Kaberry Lecture Theatre, built in 1973 between the central and east pavilions; two small, single-storey, flat-roofed buildings built in the angles between the diagonally-projecting square corner towers of the east and central pavilions; the 1974 office block built in the central court on the west side of the chapel; the brick lift shaft in the north-west corner of the central court, and the modern loading bay on the west side of the west pavilion on the south side are excluded from the listing.
Reasons for Designation
Leeds General Infirmary and chapel of 1864 to 1868 by George Gilbert Scott, and the pavilion wing of 1889 to 1892 by George Corson, are listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* the infirmary is designed in a bold ‘freely treated’ Gothic Revival style and marks an important stage in George Gilbert Scott’s oeuvre, prefiguring the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station, London which commenced construction just as the infirmary was completed; * the main south front is particularly notable in its rich stylistic detailing with hood mouldings, alternating brick and stone voussoirs to windows and arches, stone plate tracery, polished granite columns, a grand porte cochere (carriage porch), and its spiky skyline combining steeply pitched roofs and gables; * the interior retains a highly decorative Gothic Revival entrance hall, central passage, and inner hall at lower ground-floor level on the south side with a grand staircase rising to a ground-floor landing and a small chapel at the east end of the central court; * high-quality fixtures and fittings include a fireplace with a fish-scale pitched overmantel in the entrance hall, marble wall shafts with stone corbels and capitals carved with medicinal plants in the central passage, mosaic and polychrome tiled floors, stained glass panels to the landing and chapel, and high-quality chapel fixtures and fittings relating to a 1920s refurbishment; * the esteem with which Scott’s design was held is underlined by Corson’s replication of the original Gothic detailing for his later pavilion wing, whilst evolving the interior layout to provide two shorter wards per floor rather than the single wards of Scott’s pavilions.
Historic interest: * Leeds General Infirmary was one of the earliest large-scale pavilion-plan general hospitals in England; * the infirmary’s pavilion plan was based on the latest thinking in hospital planning to improve ventilation and sanitation and closely modelled on the Lariboisiere Hospital in Paris (1846 to 1854) with pavilion blocks arranged on either side of a central courtyard; * Scott and Dr Chadwick, the Infirmary’s chief physician, inspected many of the chief hospitals in Europe and sought advice from Florence Nightingale amongst others to design the most up-to-date hospital for Leeds; * Scott’s use of Gothic was highly influential in determining the subsequent C19 predominance of the Gothic style for public buildings in West Yorkshire.
* the infirmary has functional and stylistic group value with George Corson’s outpatients’ department (Grade II).
The first infirmary in Leeds was built in King Street in 1768-1771 to designs by John Carr. Despite being extended, it proved too small for a rapidly expanding population and in 1860 the Medical Faculty commissioned a report from the architect John Dobson, who recommended building a new hospital on a different site. After much deliberation, in 1862 the Sunny Bank estate, close to the new Town Hall, was purchased. The Infirmary Building Committee contacted George Gilbert Scott and two other London architects, G E Street and Benjamin Ferrey, to ask for advice with all recommending using a known and trusted architect rather than the expense and delay of running a competition.
Scott was the architect appointed as Dr Chadwick, the Infirmary’s chief physician, thought ‘Scott’s work will hand him down to posterity…he will do it well’. Together, Dr Chadwick and Scott visited many of the chief hospitals in Europe, including those in Amiens, Paris, Rheims, Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp. The result was a design influenced strongly by the Lariboisiere Hospital in Paris (1846-1854), although with improvements. Advice was sought from Florence Nightingale and Sir Douglas Galton, architect of the military Royal Herbert Hospital at Woolwich (Grade II, National Heritage List for England number 1213054). Scott’s design was published in The Builder on 13 February 1864. It was built to a pavilion plan utilising the north-south slope of the site. A central court with a glazed, cast-iron roof and a chapel range was aligned east-west bounded by covered corridors from which three long parallel pavilion blocks extend at right angles on each side. The three north pavilions and two outer south pavilions all contained two floors of wards; the north pavilions are shorter than the south with 28 and 32 beds respectively. Otherwise they were identical in design in having a staircase, head nurses’ room and ward scullery at the inner end and a pavilion ward beyond with opposed windows and a large end window between diagonally-set, outer corner sanitary towers housing bathrooms, lavatories and water closets. A hydraulic lift set next to the entrance to each pavilion ward enabled patients to be moved between floors. The front of the building is on the south side where a lower ground floor housed staff, patient and service departments. The main entrance is on the lower ground floor of the central pavilion, opening into an entrance hall with a passage running north to an inner hall containing the main staircase. The staircase rises to a landing at the ground-floor level of the central court, chapel and north pavilions. The room across the centre of the first floor was originally the Board Room. The original operating theatre, since totally remodelled, was on the main ground floor at the head of the main staircase. It was a rectangular, top-lit room from a lantern and clerestory windows. There was amphitheatre seating for students reached via a spiral staircase rising from the lower ground-floor hall. Between the south pavilions were two midpoint, single-storey, east-west link buildings. That between the central and east pavilions was an outpatients’ department with a glazed roof waiting room on its south side. Staff accommodation was to the west.
The style was Gothic Revival with Scott stating ‘some form of architecture founded on the medieval styles but freely treated would meet the requirements of such a building better than any other style’ In the entrance hall is a bronze panel bearing the inscription: THIS CORNER STONE WAS LAID BY JAMES KITSON ESQ CHAIRMAN OF THE BUILDING COMMITTEE ON EASTER TUESDAY 1864. Before the infirmary opened to patients it was used to display the 1868 National Exhibition of Works of Art, with different spaces being used for specific subjects. Afterwards the central court was made into a winter garden for use by patients. The new infirmary admitted its first patients in May 1869 and patients were transferred from the old infirmary in June 1869. The small chapel of St Luke also opened on 6 June 1869.
In 1885 the original operating theatre was altered to provide improved facilities including a room for the administration of anaesthetics, which were previously administered in the theatre. In 1894 it was agreed that the operating theatre needed redesigning. Plans were drawn up by W H Thorp of Leeds in 1895, modifications were suggested by the London architect Keith D Young, and reconstruction took place in 1896 to 1897. The reconstructed operating theatre was on the site of the original operating theatre and as completed was U-shaped with a central entrance and exit for patients set between two suites each with an operating theatre, anaesthetic room and waiting room. A single instrument room was placed between each operating theatre, with rooms for recovery and for surgeons opening off the central hall. Each theatre had a large window and north and south galleries for watching operations.
George Corson’s 1889 extension plans include plans of the original infirmary. It suggests that the midpoint link building between the central and west pavilions on the south side had been heightened by an extra storey.
In 1910 the glazed roof over the central court was removed and the flanking north and south covered corridors were given an extra storey, known on the north side as the ‘Sunshine Corridor’. On the south side of the infirmary the glazed roof of the waiting room to the south of the outpatients’ department had been removed by 1908 and a link block was built behind the original arcaded, single-storey link between the central and east pavilions.
Between 1926 and 1930 the chapel of St Luke was extensively refurbished.
In 1997 the west pavilion ward block on the north side was gutted and new ramped access to the hospital was inserted.
The former operating theatre suite on the main ground floor at the head of the main staircase has now (2018) been refurbished as a lecture theatre and other rooms used for the teaching of post-graduates.
CORSON PAVILION WING In 1888 it was decided to extend the infirmary and extensions were built in 1889 to 1892 to the immediate east of the original infirmary to designs by George Corson of Leeds. His designs were published in The Building News on 13 September 1889. A new three-storey, three-ward pavilion block was built linked to the original south front by a four-bay open arcade (now with blocking). Externally the pavilion was designed in replication of Scott’s original pavilion ward blocks. The internal arrangements differed with two wards on each floor separated by a central block projecting east and west. On each floor this contained a staircase, lift, nurses’ room, special ward for one patient, a room for the patients’ clothing, and a bathroom and toilet.
In October 1910 fire destroyed the roof of the pavilion and it was replaced in 1911 with a roof with iron trusses.
Hospital including chapel. 1864 to 1868 by George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878, knighted 1872). Additional pavilion ward block, 1889 to 1892 by George Corson.
Later extensions directly attached to the original infirmary, namely: the 1956 metabolic ward, later the pharmacy, built between the central and west pavilions; a clinical theatre, now the Kaberry Lecture Theatre, built in 1973 between the central and east pavilions; two small, single-storey, flat-roofed buildings built in the angles between the diagonally-projecting square corner towers of the east and central pavilions; the 1974 office block built in the central court on the west side of the chapel; the brick lift shaft in the north-west corner of the central court; and the modern loading bay on the west side of the west pavilion on the south side are excluded from the listing.
MATERIALS Original infirmary: red brick, Bramley Fall stone dressings, red granite pillars, slate roofs. Corson’s pavilion ward block: red brick, sandstone dressings, slate roofs.
PLAN The original infirmary has an east-west aligned central, closed court, with a carriage entrance on the west side and chapel on the east side, with three long, parallel pavilion wings extending on both the north and south sides. The ground slopes down towards the south allowing a lower ground floor on the south side. On the south side (main façade) the pavilions are three storeys in height with a central entrance wing with porte cochere at lower ground-floor level and outer wings with wards on the two upper floors (now sub-divided administration spaces) and lower ground floors housing administration and storerooms. The wings are linked by single-storey ranges to the front with a two-storey and a single-storey, mid-point link ranges. On the north side the three pavilions are of two storeys, containing wards (now administration and circulation spaces), with partial basements. The ward pavilions have projecting square sanitary towers at their outer ends; those in the central and eastern pavilion wings on the north side remain in this use.
Corson’s three-storey pavilion wing is built parallel to the pavilion on the east side of the main south façade and is linked to it by a single-storey arcade.
EXTERIOR: the main façade faces south overlooking, but set back from Great George Street. The building is designed in a Gothic Revival style in brick with Venetian Gothic windows with stone plate tracery and two-centred arches of two colours with alternating brick and stone voussoirs, some windows with polished granite pillars. The upper floors have moulded sill strings, with moulded strings between the lower floors. The south end of the southern pavilions have corbelled and arcaded parapets; the north end of the northern pavilions have corbelled brick parapets. The buildings have steep, chateau-style slate roofs with brick stacks (some truncated). Due to a fall in ground the ground floor is actually at a lower ground-floor level in relation to the whole complex.
The central main entrance block is three-storeyed and of five bays with an attic and a large gable over the three slightly-projecting central bays. The ground floor has a porte cochere of three cusped Gothic arches in brick and stone with polished granite columns. The first floor has two-light windows with plate tracery. The second floor has pointed-arch lancets. The gable has a central two-light window with plate tracery. Two truncated brick ridge stacks flank the gable. Attached to each side of the entrance block is a five-bay linking arcade of Gothic arches with alternating stone and brick voussoirs with plate tracery windows and arcaded parapets; the central window to the right-hand linking arcade was originally a doorway. There is a shallow, pitched roof behind the left-hand linking arcade. There is a taller, hipped roof behind the right-hand linking arcade with two brick ridge stacks and five dormer windows to the south side. The two outer pavilions are three-storeyed. The south ends have a central, gabled bay flanked by diagonally-projecting square corner towers. Each face of the ground floor has two-light windows with quatrefoils over; the first floor has a large, three-light window with central rail to the central bay and paired two-light windows with central rails and roundels over to the corner towers; the second floor has a large, three-light window with central rail and rose window tracery to the head and paired two-lancet windows in the corner towers. The corner towers have steep, pyramidal roofs with decorative ironwork to the short ridges. To their rear are tall, brick stacks, with hipped roofs to the pavilions.
The west side elevation faces Thoresby Place. In the centre is a set-back, two-storey, five bay range. The slightly-projecting, gabled central bay has a wide, Gothic carriage entrance with alternating stone and brick voussoirs and an inner band of stone voussoirs with stone pillars, flanked by buttresses. The first floor above has a two-light window with plate tracery. The other ground-floor bays have paired lancet windows with paired square-headed windows on the first floor. The pitched roof has two small dormer windows on each side of the central gable and two brick ridge stacks flank the gable. The range is linked to the long pavilion wings to each side by a single-storey, single bay with arcaded parapet. A later mezzanine floor has been inserted in a carriage archway and later single-storey extensions have been built on the link bays. The left-hand, north pavilion wing is of two storeys and nine bays with a diagonally-projecting square corner tower to the left-hand corner. The second and third bays and fifth and sixth bays both have gabled stacks, now truncated. The eighth and ninth gabled bays project slightly. The right-hand, south pavilion wing is of three storeys and ten bays with a diagonally-projecting square corner tower to the right-hand corner. The first and second gabled bays project slightly. The fourth and fifth bays and eighth and ninth bays both have gabled stacks, now truncated. The windows throughout are mostly Gothic aches with plate tracery and alternating stone and brick voussoirs; the upper-storey windows between the gables project through the eaves with pointed gablets.
The north side elevation faces onto the south side of an access road with the ends of three equally spaced pavilions. All are similarly detailed to the ends of the south ward pavilions, with a central gabled bay flanked by diagonally-projecting square corner towers.
The east side elevation is largely obscured by later buildings, but is a mirror image of the west side elevation with the exception of the central range, which is occupied by the chapel. It has a polygonal east apse with three large arched windows with plate tracery containing stained glass.
The space between the south pavilions and entrance wing were always enclosed by the linking arcades. At a midpoint between the central entrance wing and the west pavilion is two-storey link range of brick with a hipped slate roof. The ground floor on the south side is obscured. The first floor has six windows with three tall eaves stacks between the windows with two-over-two pane sash windows. The north side shows a difference in brick between the ground and first floors. The ground floor has five tall casement windows with stone sills and lintels with a doorway in the sixth bay. The first floor has four windows, that in the second bay now converted to a doorway with an external fire escape. To the rear is the wall of the south corridor flanking the original central court, which has been raised by an extra storey in brick with horizontal rows of windows. Projecting out is the roof of a polygonal-ended room. Its walls have been subsumed into a later, single-storey extension with six full-height, square-headed windows with stone sills and lintels. The first and second-bay windows are partially obscured by a small, flat-roofed, brick extension.
At the midpoint between the central entrance wing and the east pavilion is a single-storey building (the original outpatients’ department) with a central canted bay on the south side. The south elevation is built of white reflective bricks with stone sill and lintel bands and coping to a parapet. The windows have timber casements. The north side has a three-bay stepped elevation with the central bay projecting furthest. It is built of red brick with a plinth and stone sills and lintels to the timber casement windows. Two basement windows have separate areas lined with white reflective bricks with stone coping and cast-iron railings round, with a flight of external basement steps against the wall of the building. On the south side of the building is a small courtyard and the north side of the two-storey building behind the linking arcade. It is faced in white, reflective bricks with a stone canted bay window on the ground floor facing that on the outpatients’ department building, with a doorway to the right. The first floor has four one-over-one pane sash windows. The east and west sides of the courtyard have single-storey lean-to rooms with similar stone canted bay windows; the east bay window and south bay window are partially obscured by a single-storey, flat-roofed timber room. To the rear of the north side of the outpatients’ department building the wall of the south corridor has been similarly raised by an extra storey, and there is a similar projecting polygonal-ended room. It has arched windows with alternating stone and brick voussoirs and decorative brickwork to the heads.
The originally open space between the north pavilions have been largely in-filled with buildings dating from after the mid-C20 (not listed). The north wall of the north corridor flanking the central court has a central, polygonal-ended room, mainly obscured by the later extensions.
The west side of the central court has a slightly-projecting, gabled central bay with a wide, Gothic carriage entrance with alternating stone and brick voussoirs and an inner band of stone voussoirs with stone pillars, flanked by buttresses. The first floor above has a two-light window with plate tracery. The ground floor to the left has three arched windows with alternating stone and brick voussoirs and decorative brickwork to the heads, with timber casement windows. To the right are two similar windows. The first floor has a blind arcade. The roof has a catslide dormer window to each side of the central gable. The original north and south long sides have large arched windows with stone and brick voussoirs separated by brick buttresses. The windows have timber frames with roundels to the heads.
INTERIOR: many original panelled doors remain in the central entrance block of the south facade. The main entrance doorway leads into an entrance hall with a fireplace to the left in Gothic Revival style with flanking columns and a pitched overmantel carved in a fish-scale pattern. The walls carry a series of tablets recording benefactions. Towards the rear of the entrance hall is an arcade of three pointed arches with marble columns and stiff-leaf capitals. From the entrance hall a central passage runs north to an inner hall at the foot of the main stairs. The top-lit passage has arched trusses rising from marble wall shafts with stone corbels and capitals carved with medicinal plants by Brindley. The passage and inner hall have colourful mosaic and polychrome tile floors. The inner hall has a flat ceiling with intersecting ribs and a triple-arched arcade with a central round arch of three orders flanked by pointed arches leading into the stair hall. The main staircase has stone steps, cantilevered in the upper flights, and a balustrade of wrought and cast iron of columns and rails with fleur-de-lis finials and wooden handrail. A central flight of steps rises to a landing before dividing and rising in two stages to the main ground floor of the hospital. The staircase rises to a fine landing supported on a grid of intersecting iron beams with decoratively pierced webs. The landing has a high, barrel-vaulted roof with intersecting ribs, lit by two large three-light windows with stained glass in ornate panels by O’ Connor of London of 1868. On the south side there are three doorways opening into the former operating theatre, which retains its original lantern window. The large central, arched doorway has panelled double doors with the Leeds coat of arms in the tympanum. A three-bay arcade of pointed arches with granite columns on the north side leads into the south corridor lit from the central court and leading to wards and the chapel of St Luke. The chapel of St Luke at the east end of the central court comprises a nave, sanctuary, west gallery, vestry and office. The three-light canted east window has stained glass with scenes of Christ’s healing ministry of 1868 and 1880 dedicated by Sir Andrew and Lady Fairbairn and John Deakin Heaton, honorary physician 1850 to 1880. At the west end is a ‘Lamb of God’ rose window with stained glass depicting angels playing musical instruments. There is a carved oak pulpit (dedicated to the memory of William Gott, died 1863), moved from its original position. The panelled reredos with vine scroll with carved cusped panels and reset small figures of Florence Nightingale and St Luke dates from 1926 to 1929 and the wall panelling was installed in 1929. The west gallery has an organ of 1910. The double west doors have elaborate scrolled wrought-iron hinges.
A number of staircases survive throughout the building including: stone cantilevered staircases with iron balusters and wooden handrails at opposite ends to the outer diagonal sanitary tower blocks and on the west side of the entrance hall; narrow stone staircases set between solid walls of rooms, and a decorative cast iron staircase with wooden handrail in the south-west pavilion wing. The lower ground floors on the south side largely retain the layout of small and medium rooms used by staff. A number of paired decorative iron columns remain in the position of the former outpatients’ waiting room. The original outpatients' department building has a terrazzo corridor with rooms with panelled doors to each side. The wards in the pavilion wings are each on two storeys; the open wards have been sub-divided into smaller rooms in the late C20 and C21 and the north-west ward wing has had the upper floor removed and modern walkways inserted along its length. The upper floors have open arched roofs and cast-iron ventilation shafts.
CORSON'S PAVILION WING
EXTERIOR: this three-storey building stands on the east side of the original south façade of the infirmary, built parallel to the east pavilion. It is designed in a Gothic Revival style in brick with steep slate roofs, mirroring the design of the original infirmary. The south end is the same in appearance as the south ends of the original pavilions. A central, gabled bay is flanked by diagonally-projecting square corner towers. Each face of the ground floor has two-light windows with quatrefoils over; the first floor has a large, three-light window with central rail to the central bay and paired two-light windows with central rails and roundels over to the corner towers; the second floor has a large, three-light window with central rail and a boarded round window to the head and paired two-lancet windows in the corner towers. The corner towers have steep, pyramidal roofs with decorative ironwork to the short ridges (missing on the right). The building is attached to the east pavilion by an arcade of four arches with stone and brick voussoirs, Gothic crocket capitals and paired polished granite columns on high, stone bases. Above is an arcaded parapet.
The outer east side elevation is of three storeys and nine bays with a diagonally-projecting square corner tower to the left-hand corner. The second and third bays have a gabled stack. The fifth, sixth and seventh bays are in a projecting, gabled wing with a stack at the apex. The upper-storey windows between the gables project through the eaves with pointed gablets. The majority of windows on all floors are arched with stone and brick voussoirs and stone plate tracery. The projecting gable has rows of three narrow lancet windows with a roundel in the gable apex.
INTERIOR: the two wards on each floor separated by a central staircase, sanitary and staff block have been sub-divided into smaller rooms in the late C20 or early C21. An original iron staircase connects all the floors.
Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that a number of later extensions directly attached to the original infirmary are excluded. These are; on the north side the 1956 metabolic ward, later the pharmacy, built between the central and west pavilions; a clinical theatre, now the Kaberry Lecture Theatre, built in 1973 between the central and east pavilions; two small, single-storey, flat-roofed buildings built in the angles between the diagonally-projecting square corner towers of the east and central pavilions; in the central court the 1974 office block built on the west side of the chapel and the brick lift shaft in the north-west corner; on the south side the modern loading bay on the west side of the west pavilion; the later upper storey added to both the north and south covered corridors flanking the central court and the modern, large access ramps in the west pavilion on the north side are not of special architectural or historic interest.
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Books and journals
Richardson, Harriet (editor), English Hospitals 1660-1948: A Survey of their Architecture and Design, (1998), 28-29
Wrathmell, S, Minnis, J, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds, (2005), 83-88
Report on Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, West Yorkshire, by Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, NBR number:102031.
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.
End of official listing