Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Saturday 13th August 2022

Thornton's Arcade

Map [1]

The firt of eight arcades built in Leeds up to 1900 is the unique GothicGlossary Term [2] THORNTON'S ARCADEGlossary Term [3], designed by George Smith 1877-8, for Charles Thornton. It formed one part of a large development that included offices on the Headrow and the City Varieties Music Hall [4]. The elaborate main front faces Briggate. Brick and painted stone, the lancetGlossary Term [5] windows grouped in threes with columns between and the high arched entrance bayGlossary Term [6] is surmounted by a pavilionGlossary Term [7] with chateau roof."

arcadeGlossary Term [8] was built on the site of the Old Talbot Inn Yard between Lands Lane and Briggate, a narrow space which means the arcadeGlossary Term [9] is long and rather squeezed (74 by 4.5 metres). It has no galleries but instead tall GothicGlossary Term [10] arches and lancetGlossary Term [11] windows above the shop fronts which give a church-like impression; slender engaged columns with foliated capitals divide the shop bays at first floor and brackets where angels might have flown are occupied by dragons which support horse-shoe shaped iron roof trusses with pierced gothicGlossary Term [12] cross- arches. The site is sloped so the roof trusses are stepped and the overlapping glazing allows some ventilation.

arcadeGlossary Term [13] above the entrance is a clock tableau made by Potts and Sons of Leeds (background info on Potts needed). Its bell is struck by a colourful group of cast-iron figures by J.W.Appleyard including Friar Tuck, Richard Coeur de Lion, Robin Hood and Gurth the Swineherd, from Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe'.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009