WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Geometry © Carl Milner 2012 24

Leeds Corn Exchange

Leeds Corn Exchange

In the seventeenth century the Leeds corn Market
was situated at the top of Briggate, between the
Market Cross and New Street (now New Briggate).
In 1827 a corn exchange was built at the top of
Briggate, but by the middle of the nineteenth
century this had become inadequate for Leeds
In 1860, a new corn exchange was proposed, and
a meeting took place between cornfactors and the
Markets Committee, who gave the Edinburgh Corn
Exchange as an example of the type of building
needed in Leeds. The Edinburgh exchange had a
large central space where farmers and cornfactors
transacted their business.
A competition was advertised, inviting architects
to put forward a design for the building. The three
prizes were awarded to first, Cuthbert Brodrick,
who had also designed the Town Hall and the
Mechanics Institute, (now the Civic Theatre),
second another Leeds architect William Hill, and
third, Lockwood and Mawson of Bradford. The
builder was Samuel Addy who had built the clock
tower on the Town Hall; the roof was constructed
by Butler and Co. of Kirkstall Forge. Mr. Cairns was
the clerk of works. The total cost including the site
was to be £25,000.
A site was chosen near Kirkgate market, and the
first stone was laid on 7th May 1861. The building
was held up by finding several Bell Pits on the site.
These are pits made as a result of digging for iron
ore. The building is oval in plan, two storeys high,
over a basement, and built of local sandstone.
The grey slate roof is a huge oval dome, made
of wrought iron and timber. Each storey has a
row of arched windows and above these was a
decorative frieze of garlands and ox skulls. There is
much detailed masonry work, including a parapet
with a clock, a coat of arms and decorated with
swags and scrolls.

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