12,14 and 16 Lower Brunswick Street, Leeds

Former joinery works in the Leeds’ Northern Quarter:

Its very difficult to discern what parts of this building re original and what have been replaced. The filletted brick corner shown above appears to be original, but the lack of spalling on the other flank of the building would suggest it was repaired latterly.

Nonetheless, the value of this builing comes from the paucity of the original industrial fabrc left in this quarter of Leeds. Formerly a joinery, the six compacted gables to the roof endow this street with glamour and belie its industrial function. If Leeds has any aspiration for cultural regeneraton, and a ‘quartering’ strategy for its city centre, it needs to hang on these modest yet vital buildings. Last month we saw the final remnants of the historic South Bank dissapearing. This is the same story.

Perhaps the loss of the neighbours (the Synagogue, and iconic The Brunswick Stadium boxing venue) are more lamentable, however they are gone, and as of writing, this is not.

Shown above in 1951 as the joinery works, Lower Brunswick Street was complete. No gaps for surface car parks. A full frontage.

An earlier map from 1933 shows the Synagogue and boxing venue also on this street.

Cross Keys Pub, Spalding Moor

Last pub in the village of Spalding Moor near Hull to be lost:

This received permission last year, and it looks like the demolition is going ahead very soon.

It is always a shame to lose a pub, but when its the only pub, that is tragic. What a boring place this will now be. Moreover, this pub sits on the cross roads in the centre of the village. Its a landmark building. It is the focal point of the settlement. Urban design is not a new science anymore. We know the damage that this type of development and demolition does to a community. There are so many ways a planning officer could refuse this development based on local policy. I know this because I am a planning officer, and there is always a way to make the right thing happen.

St Nicholas Primary School, Beverly

Notification of plans to demolish a school in Beverly:

Yet another Victorian primary school is being sold to a developer for a quick receipt for the council. Developers who lurk around council asset managers waiting for a bargain tend to be somewhat predatory, and are not the type of people to have the scruples that would see the beauty in such a building.

This is a stunning public building, which is still robust and fit for purpose. The variety of gables and the qoin features on the windows bring so much to the townscape here.

And it looks like a school, unlike new efforts at education facilities, which tend to look like a series of boxes adorned with serviceable landscaping and a few rainbow murals.

Hare and Hounds pub, Bradford

Another former Bradford pub to be demolished:

Three pubs have gone into Bradford’s planning system for demolition in August, the other two being 20th century the Generous Pioneer in Burley and The Newby Square on Old Lane (shown below).

This pub in the middle of Eccleshill in Bradford shut a while ago, leaving behind its twin over the road, The Malt Kiln. As I’ve argued many times, the sum of two pubs is far greater than its parts. Two to three pubs is a destination people will travel to.

This is a very attractive Victorian pub with some quirky Bradfordian features. The bay window to the flank provides a natural landmark feature to the junction on which it resides. The extended element with a reverse mono-pitch also adds interest to the street scene. These incidental quirks do not exist in modern buildings.

The application makes no mention of its use as public house, and refers to the ‘demolition and reconstruction’ of the building. The plans show a dull hipped roof box, typical of the urban edge. In design terms, this would be another step backwards by Bradford Council and yet another piece of its stone history lost.

The two other pubs on their way this month. Interestingly, Green King’s The Generous Pioneer (below) is in fact a relatviely new building. A lot of effort went into a historically sensitive building. What a waste to flatten it.

South Bank buildings, Leeds

Application to demolish some of the last buildings on Crown Point Road, Leeds:

It looks like the decade of scaffolding erected to preserve this building until some heritage funding could be found, was in vain after all. About 4 buildings can be found along Crown Street, that are currently constitute the cultural lynchpin of the recently branded ‘South Bank’. The scarcity of the heritage here means those bricks are worth their weight in gold. The map above shows how dense the urban tissue of the area used to be – now generally in use as a series of surface car parks.

Crown Point Road, Derelict houses
Image from Leodis

Those that don’t know Leeds’ Southbank will wonder what merit there would be in hanging on to these dilapidated buildings. When you consider the entirety of Victorian Leeds south of the River Aire has all but been lost, every last vestige of the industrial past needs to be retained to anchor the space within some historical context. The developer, Vastint (which is actually Ikea) should be aware of the irreplaceable value this adds to development. If the regeneration of the south bank takes place upon a tabula rasa, then it isn’t really regeneration. Its a boring new town.

The building is modest, however it does demonstrate some interesting features, with a hinged front elevation, and stone detailing that makes for an attractive urban building. I don’t know much about the building, and would be curious to know if any readers out there know its previous use, or of previous plans to regenerate it.

Cottage in Central Ripon

Small cottage cum workshop to be replaced with three townhouses:

To be lost is a sweet old building occupying the rear of a burgage plot in the middle of Ripon.

Most would agree that it isn’t really worth a mention, it being a rugged simple brick and beam build. But look closer, and you can spot the nuance that won’t be present it its successor; the roof pitch doesn’t match the adjacent building; the brick is the same as that of the boundary wall; the entrance seems to be neither of the ground floor or first floor.

But from the Architects drafting I’m confident it will be tastefully replaced. Indeed, three new residential addresses down this side street could really breath life into this corner of the city. Still, it will be a long time before we have a new old building here to catch our curious eyes.

ABC Cinema, Wakefield

Demolition notice for an art deco cinema in Wakefield City Centre:

Derelict for 20 years now, it feels as though this cinema has weathered numerous attempts on it’s life over the years. In all honestly I didn’t actually realise it was still standing. Beloved locally to the extent that it has its own Facebook group, demolition is now looking inevitable. All the sake of another surface car park.

Plans for car park will finally spell end of Wakefield's ABC Cinema saga |  Wakefield Express
Wakefield Cinema

It is important to remember that cinemas can only ever be of relatively recent built history, and the small town centre theatres are the first wave of this vital part of modern history. This cinema is of no striking architectural merit, aside from the art deco ordering and rotunda-esque massing. However in terms of social meaning, the arrival of a cinema in Wakefield marks the start of modernity in this provincial city.

And imagine having the civic foresight to actually integrate a cinema building into the existing townscape, rather than building one on the settlement edge, preferably next to a motorway junction, drive through restaurant, and a concrete prairie of car parking.

Easy to convert to a multitude of uses, and no reason to expend a million tons of carbon redeveloping the site. Why not retain it and let the ABC cinema become rightfully historic?

Hollycroft, Ilkley

Edwardian villa threatened with demolition in Ilkley:

Holly Croft, Residential Care Home now Closed

A beautiful suburban Edwardian house that has been used until recently as a care home is threatened with demolition following acquisition by Barchester Healthcare Ltd. Although not listed, the building is within a conservation area, an as such this should be grounds for refusal on the harm that would result from its loss. Indeed even the heritage statement acknowledged that ‘ipso facto’ the building is a designated heritage asset.

Pre-application advice from the case officer at Bradford Council stated that the principle of the development is acceptable, effectively giving the go-ahead to the developer before the application has entered the public domain and the democratic due process.

Nonetheless it is reassuring to see the barrage of public comments objecting to this proposal, including objections from Ilkley Town Council who rightly point out that allowing demolition on the grounds that a building is in disrepair effectively rewards owners for neglecting heritage.

After so much opposition, it would be a shock to see this one get permission.

Salem Chapel, Bradford

Application to demolish a church and build an industrial unit:

Above: The Victorian Chapel that has been used as a community centre until 2018.
Below: The grey mass that would replace it

An important church in Bradford is facing demolition to make way for an industrial unit. A few people are to blame for the chain of events that have led to this.

The building is robust, and having been in use until 2018 is clearly a viable property for repurposing. The fact that an application to change the building into retail use went in recently is testament to this. Unfortunately the council refused this application as the area is not designated for retail use in the local plan. They call this zoning and is anathema to British planning.

This would have resulted in the building being retained in perpetuity, but alas Braford Council have put the future of this church in jeopardy. And that is the argument the owner is using to justify its destruction. That refusal means the building cant be sold to a potential retail business.

The comments in ‘support’ of the development concern me. ‘Neighbours’ welcoming the removal of this eyesore (really? a historic Victorian church I an eyesore?), and suggesting this single industrial unit will usher in an industrial renaissance for the city. Lets be honest, these are the developer’s mates. I hope the case officer sees through this ruse.

Salem Chapels were built by independent congregations in various Northern industrial cities and are a fundamental component of Victorian civic development. The equivalent in Leeds in grade II listed. The Leeds chapel dates from 1791. If this chapel is of a similar age, its loss would be criminal.

Maps from circa 1888 show the church in place, but it is likely to long pre-date this.

Calder Mill, Hebden Bridge

Application to clear a site just outside of Hebden Bridge, Calderdale:

Not the best photo, but all I could find on Street View

Between Hebden Bridge and Mytholm is a valley which has not changed in 150 years. Having cycled down the canal here many times, I can attest to the fact that this is one of the most special places in the country. This valley up in the Pennine hills is a time machine to the industrial revolution.

Sadly Calder Mill was gutted by fire in 2019, and has been deemed unsafe (although the two main factory buildings look unscathed in my opinion) and the site is in the process of being cleared and redeveloped.

The map from circa 1900 shows the area to have been much more built up than it is now. It is a shame that this townscape is being slowly eroded.

An artist’s impression of the scheme by Matthew Bladon/Moreton Deakin Associates

The proposal to replacement the mill has made a noble effort at preserving the vernacular, with roofs that take their form from the mill’s north light roof. Yes the speckled stone, the relationship with the street, and the lack of any arches result in a proposal that is somewhat pastiche. Probably the best we could hope for, but another example of why it is impossible to recreate heritage buildings. Hopefully they will develop the damp green patina of the Calder Valley in the next 50 years.