Leeds Library getting an unofficial makeover

Just to update and give a bit of background information on this building, I got this from Sam Hirst‘s flickr site (one of the guys trying to do something about this building):

“This is a Magnificent Building which has very sadly been abandoned / neglected by the side of the busy york road (Leeds). It has plenty of burmantofts tiles and many stained glass windows. At one point this building was the very center of the community. It hosted a 23 metre swimming pool. A Library which had a Lending room, Reading room, Childrens Library / Reading room, and a Womens library. Over the years the swimming pool was known for its competitions and it would be jammed packed with local school children during the holidays. The building was designed in 1901 by a local architect and built by local tradesmen. The building has been abandoned for over 30 years. It has now reached the stage where nature takes over. The roof at either end of the building has collapsed. Unfortunately this building recently played host to the local Heroin Junkies.
The radiators have been ripped from the walls and strewn across the floor. The brass door handles have been prized off of the doors. Some of the roof tiles have been stolen. There are plans to soon redevelop this fine building. I just hope that for the buildings sake this happens sooner than later! ”

The York road library revisited (mutiny on the Landings)

I found these guys on Flickr and thought what they are doing is very cool. I love old buildings for a million different reasons: the main one being they should be taken care of because it is a part of our history. It’s such a shame that we allow these remnants of history go by the wayside… Anyway, I love what they are doing and they are revealing some awesome mosaics!!! Look at this beautiful owl! I can’t understand why any city would let this kind of thing go, but it happens all the time!


Civic Pride originally uploaded by oldboys_ue

We need more people like these young chaps 😉

Before & After

Before & After Originally uploaded by oldboys_ue

I highly recommend viewing more of oldboys_ue‘s pics on his Flickr site.



Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Building, Community Projects, Europe, Flickr, Floor, Inspiration, Leeds, Library, Mosaic, Public Art, Round the World, Uncategorized, United Kingdom

19 responses to “Leeds Library getting an unofficial makeover

  1. Dervishdaughter

    I found this article via Secret Leeds/Flickr as other have done and just wanted to say a big thank you. All my life, I have passed this building and longed to see inside it. It amazes me that a building in such a prime location can just be abandoned. Come on Leeds, have some pride in our history, the buildings that made Leeds the great place it is today need help now to restore them to their former glory and to ensure that future generations don’t have to rely on pictures in books to see what our history was all about. We have lost too much already.

  2. this is something related to Indian culture , i dont know how it reaches to leeds.

  3. LS1

    This is truly a treasure in grim surroundings. Such a shame that mroe cannot be done especially as this is not too far out of the city centre and the rest of the area looks as though it will be redeveloped in the not too dimand distant. Big up the LHES. They are doing a great job!

  4. Carol L

    Phill takes great pictures and makes all the buildings/structures come to life. Look on Secret Leeds.
    What a waste of a beautiful building.
    We need more like him and his pals to make people sit up and take notice of what is happening in their cities.

  5. brandy

    excelent work once again from the L.H.E.S.

  6. cnosni

    For those of you not familiar with these chaps(though i am only by their efforts on the web) then you should know that these guys really care what we have in Leeds and endeavour to document it for future generations.

    Just wondering if there is any positive steps that can be taken by ourselves to try and tackle the issue of not only this library but i am sure many other buildings etc.

    keep it up Phil

  7. alleroo

    What a beautiful old building!
    It’s such an incredible shame that it’s been left to decay into this state.
    Congratulations on the work you’ve done so far to try and prevent this getting any worse.

  8. Pingback: Hello world! « Philld’s Weblog

  9. philld

    From all at the Leeds Historical expedition Society including myself & Oldboys we’d like to say a big thankyou to everyone who so far has taken the time to add some really positve comments about this little venture. Cheers!

  10. Very impressed with what these are doing to show off what impressive buildings there are in Leeds. I stumbled across Phill’s photos on Flickr and sometimes it is like a journey into another world.

    We need more people like these to stant up and make people take note of our fine buildings. We should be making the most of these and not putting up faceless new structures. Thats goes for all areas not just Leeds.

  11. Hollywood

    Although closed many years since and in a sad state of dereliction…the library still had that “quiet atmosphere” of a library.

    I was fortunate enough to see inside the library with my own eyes. After noticing it in all it’s glory through old photo’s, it’s sadly succumbed to the slow decay of time…with the help of some village idiots!

    They cleaned, they saw…revealed some 🙂

  12. SLW

    Thank you for the pictures and for giving everyone the chance to see inside this great building and showing what is going to waste and ruin.

    I have my fingers (and everything else crossed) that something positive will be done to restore it to it’s original glory and that it will not be another
    part of our heritage gone forever.

    Keep up the good work and thanks again.

  13. nemescsilla

    Hi 🙂
    All i can see now is, that the OWL is shining WOW…and in my opinion this means that the mosaic still has this ‘ability’ to rise, to get up … all those little pieces have their energy… and many CONGRATULATIONS because you have had ears to hear, eyes to see them, and of course mind to clean them…all i want to say is, that i am very touched! (and another small thing…i think you don’t have to live in Leeds to feel sorrow for this building & to appreciate your hobby…Good job!)

  14. What a travesty that this building has been allowed to rot away. I have the owl mosaic as my desktop, thanks to a certain chap ;-), as I fear in a very short time all will be gone. At a time when heritage and preservations are at the forefront of peoples minds it is a crying shame that this is allowed to happen. I wish LCC would work with the owners of this fine building to have it restored to it’s former glory. Thankfully, we have the people that took the video and photographs carrying on keeping a good record for the people of tomorow. C’mon LCC, get summat sorted!!!!!!

  15. You guys are doing a great job – lets hope it inspires someone holding the pursestrings to do something about it – too much of Leeds heritage has been lost!

  16. Hi Sam and Phil,
    I truly think what you are doing is amazing. I just hope it is not in vain… The city of Leeds should be paying you to do this!!!
    You’re uncovering a true gem. Keep up the great work!

  17. It’s good to see your impressed enough to blog this Kim, From the feedback we’ve had from the video people are genuinely saddened that this fantastic building has been systematically trashed & left to rot. It’s good to have as much publicity as possible. Thanks!

  18. Oldboys and myself restored the mosaics. We did this with great pride. We were shocked at just how much cleaner the mosaics looked after cleaning. They had been hiding beneath 30 years of dirt and it was great to see them beaming once again!

    • Dylan

      Hey great work that you are doing to leeds library i have actually looked at it several times and would love to restore it but make it into a house but with all the old features back in do you know where i would be able to find the sale price of this as i read somewhere that it sold years ago but cannot find any of the information on this now any input would be great thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s