Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Tuesday 18th February 2020

City Square

CITY SQUARE [1] lies west of the ancient core of Kirkgate and Briggate, and is linked to it by Boar ('Borough') Lane, a street established as the route to the station and warehouses by 1870. The open space was made available by the demolition of one of the town's cloth halls, the new square laid out between 1896 and 1903. Just one building remains from before this date - the Mill Hill Unitarian Chapel of 1847-8 by Bowman and Crowther of Manchester, on the east side.

Leeds, City Square, The Black Prince

The Square is undergoing extensive re-ordering at present, but among the machines and fencing one impressive statue remains undisturbed in its original location. The giant equestrian bronze of Edward the Black Prince, 1903 by Thomas Brock, originally stood within a raised circular enclosure of granite balustrades, with four entrances flanked by Alfred Drury's life-size bronze female figures holding lamps.

Leeds, City Square, Joseph Priestley
Leeds, T.W. Harding

Drury also designed the statue of Jospeh Priestley, one of four life-size bronze statues of men associated with the social, industrial and cultural history of Leeds. These were placed in line above two entrances to public toilets, and also include statues of Walter Farquhar Hook by Frederick Pomeroy and James Watt and John Harrison, by Henry Charles Fehr.

This remarkable display of statuary was the brainchild of T. W. Harding, who wanted 'to bring decorative art works as such among the people'. Colonel Harding, owner of the Tower Works,, sketched a proposal while in Italy and passed it to William Bakewell, who drew up the design.

PostGlossary Term [2] Office, 1896 by Sir Henry Tanner, faces the Square and reminds us of the scale of many commercial buildings in the late nineteenth century.

The Square was re-designed by 1967; the balustrade was removed and the figures of 'Morn' and 'Evening' were given globe lights and repositioned to line a pedestrian route, destroying the symmetry of Harding's original plan. Pevsner noted the change made to the character of the Square in 1967, by Kitson, Pyman and Partners' Exchange House - 'a slab on a podiumGlossary Term [3]' of nineteen storeys, on the north corner to Boar Lane.


fenestrationGlossary Term [4], and Art DecoGlossary Term [5] references echo the Queen's Hotel opposite, (W Curtis Green and W H Hamlyn 1937), and the glazed recessed atrium provides an open vista to the Square.

The new City Square will be displayed on this web page as soon as it is completed. In the meantime, keepGlossary Term [6] up with work in progress on the VRLeeds [7] website.

Leeds, City Square, No.1

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009