Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Friday 12th August 2022

A Walk along The Headrow

Portland stoneGlossary Term [1]. It provided offices for the Leeds Permanent Building Society. A plaque on the corner commemorates its opening. The neo-GeorgianGlossary Term [2] style emulates the style of buildings of the 18th century, even though it was designed for very modern purposes. It has DoricGlossary Term [3] pilasters and a balustrade with urns. This is similar to the balustrade of the Town Hall, which might have inspired Blomfield, but these are also familiar from his other buildings.

archGlossary Term [4] surmounted by columns in antisGlossary Term [5]. This feature is derived directly from Bloomfield's adaptation of the Quadrant, Regent Street, London. Originally it provided an archGlossary Term [6] over Cross Fountain Street but is now the entrance to The LightGlossary Term [7] shopping centre. The centre takes its name from the newspaper published for the staff.

Portland stoneGlossary Term [8] and the classicalGlossary Term [9] ordersGlossary Term [10]. The Yorkshire PostGlossary Term [11] noted its 'handsome and restrained appearance', but it lacks the extravagant decoration of the main buildings along the north side.

Leeds, Headrow, Headrow House

The decision to build the Headrow came at a bad time. First came the Wall Street Crash and then the Depression. This meant it was difficult to find money to build all the offices and shops which had been planned. Businesses were not keen to rent the ones which were complete. Even after the Second World War, there were still gaps that needed filling. On the north side of the Headrow is HEADROW HOUSE built in 1951-55 by Arthur S. Ash of London. It was the last building to be built of the ones planned in the 1920s. The first thing that you notice is that it's much taller than Permanent House. It is ten storeys tall. That's because when it was planned the street on its right was narrower so there was more space to build. But later the street was widened so the architect had to redesign it as a high-rise building. Even so, it tried to remain in sympathy with the style of the earlier blocks by using similar materials.

Leeds, Headrow, Allders, detail

ALLDERS was built as Lewis's Department Store. It was designed in 1931 by Sir Reginald Blomfield & Sons and at the time of its opening was reputedly the largest store outside London. It was described as 'general drapers, tailors, boot makers, hatters, hosiers, outfitters, silk mercers and bankers'. At first the upper floors were not built and when local architects Atkinson & Shaw finally completed them after the war. The original design was altered slightly and without much decoration.

Did you know...the shop had to build a temporary furniture store on the roof in 1949?"

classicalGlossary Term [12] style. Nos.3-5, on the right of Barclays,was given a new front of glazed terracottaGlossary Term [13] tiles. This is called Marmo and was made at Burmantofts.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009