Leeds

City Of Arcades (well, that's what we call it)
Leeds: County Arcade1-Leeds: County Arcade 2
This is a fine frontage featuring swags, curlicues, arches and pillars in stone and the building date: '1900' with the name below: 'COUNTY ARCADE'. It is near the entrance to the 'Victorian Quarter' in Leeds and the arcade itself features the finest in internal decoration: mosaics, mouldings, colour and architectural finery (photograph taken in autumn 2009).
Leeds 1-Leeds 2
Leeds benefits over the other large industrial conurbations of the north in that it already existed as a large town/city before the industrial revolution. It boasts some fine architecture and concommitent lettering to delight the eye. Many examples (these taken in autumn 2007) are in the city's shopping centre which is famous for its large covered markets and more distinguished shopping arcades. 'CROSS ARCADE' and the date '1900' are picked out in the magnificent wrought iron screen: a reredos to the Temple Of Mamon. The encaustic enamelled panels of 'THE GRAND ARCADE' (nice use of the definite article, it would have been so easy to put 'Grand Arcade') with its polychrome surrounds, arch and spandrels are repeated futher along the frontage; now largely ignored by passers-by in the street below. The flowery font is similar in both examples.
Leeds 3
A vestige: 'LYON S WORKS' (no sign of an apostrophe, but space left for one!) is readable in this cartouche high above the street. The lettering seems to have been hacked away to leave pale shapes. The large Victorian factory (Lyons food hall/bakers, perhaps, famous for their London Corner Houses?) is now used as an arts centre among other things.
Leeds 5-Leeds 6
In one of the busiest streets in a busy town, Briggate, it's difficult to take the time and notice gems like this one:
'TIME BALL BUILDINGS'
In white sans serif capitals on dark green panels.
 Even to cross the road and get in the way of pedestrians on their urgent voluntary errands (poetry) is a challenge. The first lettering one notices under the large clock which projects the shop frontage at right angles is 'TEMPUS FUGIT' ('Time waits for no man')  in large and small caps - even more noticeable is the winged Father Time with his scythe above the clock. From either side Father Time is flanked by the cut-out letters 'D S' (Dyson & Son?). The date on the front edge of the clock is '1865'. Way above is the weather vane with its 'N,S,E,W,' in cut metal characters.
Leeds 6a
-Ipswich Signs: Leeds 21

'JOHN DYSON'
curves round another huge clock face on the shop front with the 'time ball' supended above it; the characters, along with the numbers mentioned below, represent the numerals 1-12 on the clock face
"25" "&" "26" [the address numbers]
'FOUNDED 1865' [picked out in white on the pediment]
Ipswich Signs: Leeds 22
Even the upper windows have gold lettering: three with 'DYSONS' in sans serif caps. The decorative casement below the turret has serif caps reading:
'FRENCH CLOCKS
WATCHMAKER TO THE ADMIRALTY
PRECIOUS STONES'
It appears that the business continues on the upper floors, with the ground floor being a restaurant/bar. [In researching this fine building we came across the Stopped Clocks Foundation (see Links), a UK charity which exists to catalogue public clocks that are stopped in the United Kingdom. Featuring more photographs of this site: two Stopped Clocks "Tempus Fugit" and "John Dyson".]

Leeds 7-Leeds 8
'THORNTON
& CO LTD

INDIA RUBBER MANUFACTURERS'
[on the two raised sections with lions heads on either side],
('THORNTON & CO LIMITED')
[this relief lettering on the pediment to the right has been removed, but is still readable]'
The grand art deco frontage is lost above the modern 0
2 and Northern Rock shop fronts.
Leeds 9
Inside one of the wonderful glazed roofed arcades is an original cartouche bearing the name:
 'EMPIRE PALACE'
(shop?, theatre?). Exploring the several large and small arcades is very worthwhile: look up and see the fine painted, moulded and well preserved surfaces and roofing supports.
Leeds 10
One of the smaller arcades (on Briggate) has its name:
 'THORNTON'S ARCADE'
in large and small serif'd caps in a panel high up on the Victorian italianate tower above the entrance, demonstrating the architecture of George Smith of Leeds. Named after it's builder, Charles Thornton, the arcade was opened on 12th May 1877 and a William Potts clock was added in 1878.  Thornton & Co. Ltd, as featured in the India Rubber Manufacturers signs above, certainly dominates this area around the junction of Briggate and Headrow in Leeds. Here's some 'lost' lettering nearby: we can make out the vertical word 'WINDOWS' (or rather 'INDOWS') near the facade edge of this side wall, plus a trapezoidal shape with rounded corners. The rest is a mystery.
Ipswich Signs: Leeds15
And below is another Thornton's named building (in large and small caps) on the corner of Briggate and Headrow:
'THORNTON'S BUILDINGS'
Ipswich Signs Leeds14

Leeds 11
Directly opposite the arcade (you can see Thornton's reflected in the windows to the left) is the remant lettering for the:
'BAY
HORSE
HOTEL,
MOLINEAUX'
(the latter between scrolling flourishes. The whole is in a moulded rectangular frame with palladian top, all of which is above the alleyway to the back of the former hotel; all this frontage is now occupied by shops. The red button between 'Hotel' and 'Molineaux' (the name of the licensee David T Molineaux in 1905, rather than the brewery which owned the hotel) seems to interfere with the design like a metal stud used to pull together brickwork. However, its decorative radial grooves, red paint and central hole suggest that, perhaps, a pole was inserted here with a banner or sign projecting over the Briggate pavement to advertise the hotel. Perhaps this was added later? The hotel, which was accessed down the passageway, is said to have closed around 1907.

Ipswich Signs: Leeds 12-Ipswich Signs: Leeds13
Back into Headrow and a few yards away is the ceramic frontage of the
'THREE LEGS' public house (so good, they named it twice). See The Scarborough Hotel at the bottom of this page for another ceramic-fronted public house. Almost next door and lost among the wheelie bins and clutter is a disused exit/entrance at the rear of the City Varieties Music Hall which once must have read:
'(CIR)CLE & BOXES'
although the fist 'CIR...' has been plastered over. The City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as being the longest continuous running music hall in Great Britain today. This wonderfully intimate music hall is listed as grade II* historic building of extreme rarity. The City Varieties can trace its origins as a music hall back to 1865 when it was known as Thornton’s New Music Hall and Fashionable Lounge (there's that name again!). It is known to millions throughout the world as the home of BBC Television’s Good Old Days, broadcast from 1953 until 1983, but still performed several weekends each year.

Ipswich Signs: Leeds16
In the back streets running parallel to the railway (which, running as it does on top of a series of archways, is reputed to be the longest stretch of  raised track in the country) is another piece of 'lost' lettering: a black rectangle on a high rendered wall bearing the condensed word in caps with a large 'C':
'COLLEGE'.
One can only surmise as to the rest: 'Secretarial', 'Foreign Language'? However, there doesn't seem to be any trace of white paint above that word. The repairs to the rendering obliterate much of this sign.

Ipswich Signs: Leeds 17
Between the City Markets and the marvellous oval Corn Exchange is this curious lettering above a clothes shop:
'CAFE'
in oriental-style capitals on a white panel between two little cartoon clouds. The same is repeated round the corner, but is in poorer condition.

Opposite the railway station is a large public house bearing lettering in two ceramic finishes (see also The Three Legs pub above):
Ipswich Signs: Leeds 18
'IND, COOPE'S BURTON ALES ... SCARBROUGH HOTEL ... SALOON BAR'
(in dark green-on-golden brown glazed tiles over the ground floor entrances and windows)
'SCARBROUGH HOTEL ... IND, COOPE'S ALES'
(in reddish characters against a white-ish tiled background - just below roof level)
Ipswich Signs: Leeds 19-Ipswich Signs: Leeds 20
Ind (pronounced like 'Hind', but without the initial 'H' and sometimes mis-spelled 'Inde') Coope were a large brewing company based in Burton on Trent with distilleries all over the country. The ales were transported via the canal network to public houses all over the country. Ind Coope initially owned the Star Brewery that was founded by George Cardon in 1709 at Romford, Essex. The brewery was acquired by Edward Ind and J.Grosvenor C.E.Coope in 1799. They opened a brewery in Burton-on-Trent in 1856. Indeed, that was the first instance of a London brewer opening an establishment in Burton to take advantage of the Staffordshire town's famed water. Part of their 19th century brewery still stands, including the water tower. In 1934 Ind Coope merged with their next door neighbours at Burton and traded as Ind Coope and Allsopp Ltd. Merging with Ansell's Brewery and Tetley Walker in 1961 to form Allied Breweries. Ind Coope is part of the Carlsberg Tetley Group.

Having explained the strange brewery name, why the odd spelling of the hotel's name? An information board in the pub is informative. This historic pub stands on the site where, in former days, there was a moated Mediaeval manor house. From its roots as a Mediaeval manor house, the building that houses the Scarbrough Hotel has had many occupants, including Christopher Wilson, the Bishop of Bristol. Henry Scarbrough took the property in 1826, which became the Kings Arms - an extensive hotel patronised by many distinguished guests and visitors to the town.  The hotel prospered until about 1863 when the railway viaduct and Queens Hotel were built nearby. This was the end for the hotel, but the beginning of a great connection with the Music Hall  - the Kings Arms gained fame when taken over in the late 1890s by Fred Wood, who also owned the Leeds City Varieties.  Fred Wood established the Scarbrough Hotel Public House, named after Henry Scarbrough, in place of the Kings Arms. At that time, the Scarbrough boasted a large concert hall and Fred Wood organised and held talent nights there.  Any act showing promise was put on at the City Varieties. 

Leeds: Electric Press-Leeds: Electric Press
THE
ELECTRIC
PRESS'
The company is proudly lettered on all sides of its high square section chimney. The Electric Press building was constructed in the late 1860s, principally as a warehouse, but was altered in the late 1890s to house the Chorley and Pickersgill printing works. It retains features from both periods of use and appears to have received little further alteration. The Stansfeld Chambers immediately to the west of the Electric Press was built in 1848 and housed the West Riding Carriage Manufactory. It was converted to offices in the 1920s but still retains features of its original construction. These buildings were occupied by a variety of tenants over the years up  until 1999 when all remaining tenants were relocated to enable Leeds City Council to market the buildings as a development opportunity. Restaurant, educational, office and theatre spaces now occupy this complex which stands at the recently built Millennium Square.
Across the Square, we found this rather attractive mosaic of classical figures on a refurbished building:
'LEEDS
COLLEGE OF
ART'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Leeds College of Art


Home
Return to Historic Lettering from outside Ipswich

Please email any comments and contributions by clicking here.

©2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering website: Borin Van Loon
No reproduction of text or images without express written permission