Site Home
 



Topic Home


1950-2000

Headrow House, 1955.
After the re-development of the Headrow in the 1920s and 1930s the only remaining vacant site was at the north east corner of the junction of Albion Street with the Headrow. It was the site of the old Leeds and Holbeck Building Society. Leeds City council sold the vacant site to Leeds Builder Simon Newman, who sold it to Sir Henry Price, the tailoring magnate, in 1939. The site was excavated, but further building work was delayed by the outbreak of the second world war. In October 1950 plans were submitted for an office block of 8 floors of Government offices. The plans were rejected because they did not conform to Blomfield's design for the Headrow,  which was still a condition of any further development of the Headrow site.  Revised plans for a 10 storey building were approved in January 1951, even though the West Yorkshire Society of Architects said that the proposed building was out of proportion to other Headrow buildings, and that the design was 'insipid.' The building of Headrow House began in April 1952, despite the fact that the final licence for building above first floor level was not granted until 1954. Construction was almost complete by 19th April 1955, and the Inland Revenue had moved into the top 5 floors of the building. The basement and the ground floor were finished later; a large underground car park in the basement was opened in November 1955. The architect of the building was Major Arthur S. Ash.

In June 1989 the owners of Headrow House, Next Properties, announced a plan to demolish the building and build a new office block. The plans were rejected on the grounds that the proposed design was unsuitable. In 1991 the building was sold to A V Ogden Estates, who sold it to Leeds Permanent Building Society later that year. It was refurbished, and the ground floor became the city centre office of the Society, and four shop units. The 9 upper floors were let as offices, and in 1993 became the headquarters of Direct Line Insurance Company. The building was re-named Direct Line House, and was sold for £27million in 1994 to the Equitable Life Assurance Company.

Dortmund Square 1980
In 1980 the space between Headrow House and Lewis’ (now Allders) store was laid out as Dortmund Square. Dortmund was first twinned with Leeds in 1970, and to celebrate 10 years of twinning the people of Dortmund presented to Leeds the bronze statue of the Dortmund Drayman which now stand in the square. The sculptor was Arthur Shulze-Engels.

The Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute 1982-1993
The Art Gallery was largely hidden behind the buildings on Centenary Street, and when these were demolished as part of the widening of the Headrow, the façade of the Art Gallery was exposed. The design of the building was much less ornate and imposing than the Town Hall and the other municipal buildings. In 1976 it was decided to remodel and extend the gallery, and in 1979 a contract for £820,000 was announced for the new gallery complex. Half the cost was raised from an Arts Council grant, sponsorship, and other sources, and Leeds City Council contributed about £400,000.

The new gallery was to be named after the sculptor Henry Moore, who laid the foundation stone on 10th April 1980 and was to include an extension of the existing art gallery, a Henry Moore sculpture gallery and a study centre for young sculptors, for which the Henry Moore Foundation gave £110,000. Henry Moore donated £2m worth of his most important works to the complex, as well as his collection of maquettes.

The architect was John Thorpe, and the consulting architect Neville Conder, working under the overall direction of city's former director of architecture E Weston Stanley. The new building incorporated the old Public Reading Room, the lecture room and part of the old sculpture gallery. The original cast iron columns in the reading room were kept, and the entrance and arcaded framework of the lecture theatre restored. A public house and a craft centre were built in the basement. A statue, Reclining Woman 80, by Henry Moore was placed outside the entrance to the new art gallery, which was opened by the Queen on 26th November 1982.

In 1986 a new wing was built onto the back of the existing gallery at a cost of £920,000. It was funded by the Henry Moore Foundation who donated £670,000, the rest of the money coming from Leeds City Council. The extension incorporated a restaurant, a new exhibition gallery for local artists, an educational unit and a workroom for students. The extension was opened by Melvyn Bragg on 29th May 1986.

The Henry Moore Study Centre, set up in 1982 was a great success, and in 1987 the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust decided to set up an international centre for the promotion and study of sculpture in Leeds. Leeds City Council offered the Trust space in three nineteenth century wool merchants' warehouses at the bottom of Cookridge Street, adjoining the existing Art Gallery and study centre. The buildings were refurbished, while keeping the original features of the façade. The blank gable end overlooking the Garden of Rest was faced with polished black granite slabs with a tall narrow window, at the base of which is the entrance to the Henry Moore Institute. Inside there is exhibition space, a library, lecture room and study space and on the top floor the headquarters of the Trust.
The Henry Moore Institute cost £5m and was opened on 22nd April 1993. The architects were Jeremy Dixon and  Edward Jones, and the building  won the award in the altered buildings section of the Leeds Award for Architecture in 1993.

Headrow Court 1989
In 1987 the properties at the junction of Park Cross Street and the Headrow were demolished to make way for a new office block. A photograph from 1953 shows the buildings as they were before demolition. The advertisement on the side of the building dates from the 1940s when Hood's travel agents, who occupied the end shop, gave advertising space to BOAC. The advert was periodically renewed until about 1960 when BOAC decided it no longer wished to use the space.
In 1986, plans to put a 6-storey office block on the site were rejected, but in 1988 new plans were accepted, and a new building, designed to complement the Jubilee Hotel next door, was built by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd. The property developers were Abacus Developments Ltd.

Click images to enlarge
Leeds and Holbeck Building Society, 1928
Leeds and Holbeck Building Society, 1928
Headrow House site, 1952
Headrow House site, 1952
The Headrow looking west, 1955
The Headrow looking west, 1955
Dortmund Square site, 1966
Dortmund Square site, 1966
Dortmund Square, 1999
Dortmund Square, 1999
Proposed design for new Art Gallery, 1936
Proposed design for new Art Gallery, 1936
Art Gallery extension under construction, 1981
Art Gallery extension under construction, 1981
Art Gallery extension under construction, 1981
Art Gallery extension under construction, 1981
Art Gallery, 1999
Art Gallery, 1999
Reclining Woman 80, 1999
Reclining Woman 80, 1999
Site of Henry Moore Institute, 1938
Site of Henry Moore Institute, 1938
Henry Moore Institute under construction, 1992
Henry Moore Institute under construction, 1992
Henry Moore Institute under construction, 1992
Henry Moore Institute under construction, 1992
Headrow Court site, 1981
Headrow Court site, 1981




Site Map

© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003