Of Arcades (well, that's what we
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).
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.
'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.
In one of
the busiest streets in a busy town, Briggate,
difficult to take the time and notice gems like this one:
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.
'TIME BALL BUILDINGS'
In white sans serif
capitals on dark green panels.
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
Even the upper windows have gold lettering: three with 'DYSONS' in sans
serif caps. The decorative casement below the turret has serif caps
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".]
WATCHMAKER TO THE ADMIRALTY
relief lettering on the pediment to the right has been removed, but
is still readable]'
INDIA RUBBER MANUFACTURERS'
[on the two raised
sections with lions heads on either side],
('THORNTON & CO
The grand art deco frontage is lost above the modern 02
and Northern Rock shop fronts.
of the wonderful glazed roofed arcades is an
original cartouche bearing the name:
Exploring the several large and small arcades is very worthwhile: look
up and see the fine painted, moulded and well preserved surfaces and
One of the
smaller arcades (on Briggate) has its name:
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.
And below is another Thornton's named building (in large and small
caps) on the corner of
Briggate and Headrow:
Directly opposite the arcade (you
can see Thornton's reflected in the windows to the left) is the remant
lettering for the:
(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
hotel. Perhaps this was added later? The hotel, which was accessed down
the passageway, is said to have closed around 1907.
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
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.
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':
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.
Between the City Markets and the marvellous oval Corn Exchange is this
curious lettering above a clothes shop:
capitals on a white panel between two little cartoon clouds. The same
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):
'IND, COOPE'S BURTON ALES ...
SCARBROUGH HOTEL ... SALOON BAR'
green-on-golden brown glazed tiles over the ground floor entrances and
'SCARBROUGH HOTEL ... IND, COOPE'S
(in reddish characters against
a white-ish tiled background - just below roof level)
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
The company is proudly lettered on all sides of its
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