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Entries about owls

In Pursuit of Owls.

A walk around Leeds city centre.

sunny

After leaving Shipley, we headed back to Leeds where we planned to spend one night. Again we stayed in an Ibis - the Ibis Leeds Marlborough, located on Marlbourgh Street about fifteen minutes walk from the train station. For a city centre hotel it proved to be surprisingly and pleasantly quiet.

Our room.

Our room.

View from our window.

View from our window.

The Ibis Marlborough, Leeds.

The Ibis Marlborough, Leeds.

Leeds in bloom, daffodils near our hotel.

Leeds in bloom, daffodils near our hotel.

Leeds was once a major industrial city at the centre of the wool trade. Like Shipley, it is located on the River Aire and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. This was my first visit to Leeds and I was not sure what to expect. In my head I associate Leeds with industrial decline and yet everyone I know who has been there has liked it. I soon discovered I liked it, too. It has a beautifully preserved historical centre with lots of interesting buildings.

When I was researching the city, I discovered a site called The Leeds Owl Trail. This is a walk which involves visiting twenty-five historical buildings with owls sculptures. Owls are part of the Leeds Coat-of-Arms. They originated from the Coat-of-Arms of Sir John Savile who was the first Alderman of Leeds. The Savile family came from Anjou in northern France and were given vast areas of Yorkshire by William the Conqueror for the support they gave him in the Battle of Hastings. We did not try to follow the trail, but as we soon discovered, it is impossible to avoid owl in Leeds city centre. They are everywhere.

The first building we visited was the Leeds Town hall. This was built between 1853 and 1858 by architect Cuthbert Brodrick. It is one of the largest town halls in the UK and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1858. It is an impressive looking building and, of course, proudly displays the Leeds coat of arms complete with owls.

Leeds Town Hall.

Leeds Town Hall.

Owls on the town hall.

Owls on the town hall.

To the left of the town hall stands the Oxford Place Methodist Chapel. This was built in 1835 by James Simpson. Simpson was an untrained architect who still managed to design many Methodist chapels. There are plans to turn this chapel into a hotel.

The Oxford Place Methodist Chapel.

The Oxford Place Methodist Chapel.

To the right of the town hall there are several interesting buildings including the library, Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. Henry Moore was actually a Yorkshire man, born in Castleford Yorkshire in 1898. He began his training as a sculptor in Leeds. In addition to these buildings there is also a war memorial and a marker on the pavement showing the start of the 2014 Tour de France. Stage one of that race went from Leeds to Harrogate. The library had owls on the front of its building and a wonderful owl fence on its left hand side.

War memorial, Art Gallery and Library.

War memorial, Art Gallery and Library.

Start of the Tour de France.

Start of the Tour de France.

Peter and the owl fence.

Peter and the owl fence.

Me and the owl fence.

Me and the owl fence.

Next we headed towards Millennium Square. This square was designed to mark the new millennium in the year 2000. It is bordered by Leeds Civic Hall and Leeds City Museum. This square has hosted many outdoor events including concerts by the Kaiser Chiefs, Meat Loaf, Snow Patrol and The Specials. This square is also the site of Leeds Christmas Market in November and December. At the lower end of the square stands the Nelson Mandela Gardens. These were opened on April 30th, 2001, by Nelson Mandela himself. They contain a water feature and a sculpture of outstretched open arms. The sculpture is entitled Both Arms and was created by Leeds-born sculptor Kenneth Armitage. It symbolizes a warm welcome. Around the Civic Hall there is an entire flock of owls.

The Nelson Mandela Gardens.

The Nelson Mandela Gardens.

The Civic Hall with owls on its roof and front and all around it.

The Civic Hall with owls on its roof and front and all around it.

Leeds City Museum.

Leeds City Museum.

Next we headed to St Anne's Cathedral. This is a Roman Catholic Cathedral and the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds. The current building which is located on Cookridge Street was completed in 1904.

St Anne's Cathedral.

St Anne's Cathedral.

After that we walked to St John's Church which is the oldest church in Leeds city centre. It was built between 1632 and 1634 and its construction was entirely funded by wealthy merchant and Royalist John Harrison. In the nineteenth century, it was proposed that this church be demolished and replaced with a more modern building. Fortunately, as this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Leeds, a young architect named Norman Shaw protested against the demolition and was supported by the world renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The demolition was abandoned and the church survived.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

St John's Church.

There is an interesting- looking old building near St John's Church which is now a pub called the Parkside Tavern. It looks Tudor but was apparently built in mock Tudor style between the two world wars, so is not as old as it looks. I also liked the building at 62 to 64 Merrion Street, also currently a pub called the LIV Bar. Unfortunately I cannot find information about what it used to be or who the statue on the roof is.

Parkside Tavern.

Parkside Tavern.

62 to 64 Merrion Street.

62 to 64 Merrion Street.

Leeds is well known for shopping and has some beautifully restored old shopping arcades on the Briggate. We just had a quick look at these as we were a bit short on time. I also loved the clock tower and adjacent building on the Briggate, too.

Shopping arcade, Leeds.

Shopping arcade, Leeds.

Clock in shopping arcade Leeds.

Clock in shopping arcade Leeds.

Clock Tower on Briggate.

Clock Tower on Briggate.

The restored markets.

The restored markets.

We continued on down to the Corn Exchange, which, like the town hall, was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and completed in 1862. It is now used as a shopping centre.

The Corn Exchange.

The Corn Exchange.

Then we walked to Leeds Minster. This church is dedicated to Saint Peter. It dates from the mid-nineteenth century though there have been churches on this site since the seventh century.

Leeds Minster.

Leeds Minster.

Not far from the Minster we passed Leeds old brewery. Then we took a look at some of the housing and pubs/restaurants along the lovely River Aire.

The Old Brewery.

The Old Brewery.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

On the River Aire.

We passed more owls on our way back to the station, then walked past the Black Prince statue at City Square. Leeds old post office stands on City Square. We saw the Black Prince statue by Thomas Brock, but should have gone into the square rather than just passed by as we missed statues of Joseph Priestley, John Harrison, James Watt and Dr Walter Hook and statues of eight nymphs. I like Joseph Priestly and, of course, James Watt is from my home city, so sorry to have missed them.

Can't get away from those owls.

Can't get away from those owls.

City Square.

City Square.

The Black Prince.

The Black Prince.

Finally, we walked back to our hotel where we ate dinner and watched the sunset over Leeds.

Sunset over Leeds.

Sunset over Leeds.

Dinner in our hotel.

Dinner in our hotel.

Posted by irenevt 03:57 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged markets architecture leeds owls Comments (4)

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