Former Blakeys Ironworks, Armley

Dilapidated north-light mill complex in Leeds to be cleared:

These are the demolitions that hurt the most, because as soon as I see the notice go into the planning portal, I know there is no hope. A messy, composite industrial building, in an area of low value, outside of any regeneration framework. The odds are firmly against buildings like these.

The frontage above which seamlessly transitions from domestic architecture to the end of the northlight factory floor is the stuff of dreams for the purveyors of industrial-chic, such as Urban Splash. If I was the planner I’d make sure this fade was retained and some high quality public realm secured to the front of this elevation to complement it.

Most people think these forges and factories are dirty old Leeds, that need to be expunged. I see a robustly designed building that maximises the industrial output of such a small plot, and creates a frontage to the road that is geometrically absurd, and unique. The shapes and textures you see above will never be replicated in industrial architecture again.

For years this factory operated as Blakeys Iron Works, producing boot potectors, of all things. Amazingly these ‘segs’ (as they are known) continue to me manufactured in Walsall. I’m sure Armley is still full of the workers who would have passed through these gates each day. Go have a wander down there before February 9th, before its gone.

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