Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Steampunk Zeppelin?

No, it's The Corn Exchange in Leeds, (Yorkshire, England). In the 1970s the interior was a big open space, with the desks of the corn merchants in rows. Time moves on. Corn selling is by different means now, and this lovely building is now full of shops.
It was built in 1862, and was seen then as a stunning piece of modern architecture. The same architect, Cuthbert Broderick, designed the Leeds Town Hall, an altogether more conventional building. In the Corn Exchange, though, he excelled, using an altogether new technology to create the broad pillarless span of the roof. This was a period where Victorian engineers were creating wide arched railway stations, and also circular domes, but this, an elliptical dome, to me this is a masterwork, before its time. And if Broderick had lived to see the great airships, I think he'd have been well placed to become an aviation designer.


  1. That is lovely. I visited the Saltaire factory in Shipley that had been reclaimed as shops, but we never got around to any Leeds tours.

  2. Salt's Mill, at Saltaire, Shipley, yes, a great refurbishment job.
    One day, quite a while ago, I was working nearby, and dropped in to see the David Hockney collection there.
    Whilst I was browsing there, the gallery attendant asked if I would like a coffee, and some gateau, on the house. -in return for answering a few questions about my perceptions of the mill, the gallery, and the Hockney paintings, prints, photographs and drawings.
    The leather coated, ponytailed man who spoke with such fervour of the Mill, Saltaire, the arts, and of David Hockney's work, turned out to be none other than Jonathan Silver, millionaire entrepreneur, owner of the mill, friend of Hockney.
    And I had a most enjoyable afternoon there.

    Next time you're in England, come to Leeds, I recommend Harewood House, Temple Newsam, The city centre's Victorian/Edwardian arcades, the Corn Exchange of course, The Markets.... And more.

  3. MMMMmmm....steampunk and zeppelins....nice!
    I wish I had my own airship.

  4. I like you. I like you very, very much.


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