Feature - March 2007, Leeds Town Hall

The secret side of one of the most iconic buildings in Leeds.
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munki
Posts: 929
Joined: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Post by munki »

Into the Bridewell. In operation as holding cells for the courts right up until 1993.There must be those amonst you who have memories of being down here... for professional reasons like Eric has, or for the wrong reasons. Time to tell your stories on Secret Leeds.Eric tells us 'The "Fed Up Bench" used to be against the wall here. As a young copper, you wondered what they meant by that, until you had seen a few prisoners sat chained to it for an hour or so, waiting to go up the stairs before the judge.'.
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'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
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Post by munki »

In the guts of the building. Part of the current heating system below the foundations of the tower.
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'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
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Joined: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Post by munki »

And where Secret Leeds really wants to be. Cold, damp, the original Victorian prison cells from 1858. They are directly below the front steps, so that the Great and the Good, ascending the steps, would be walking above the criminal element, and below dignitaries or royal visitors sat in the balcony over the vestibule. The social strata of Victorian society reflected in the physical structure of the building.
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'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
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Joined: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Post by munki »

One of the cells. The doors to each cell run between the foundations of the pillars above. Here the notorious Victorian thief & murderer (and later, star of Buster Comic) Charlie Peace, spent his last night before going to his death on the gallows at Armley gaol. His ghost is said to haunt the cells. Remember him, & all those like him, the next time you are walking up the steps of the Town Hall.
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'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

munki
Posts: 929
Joined: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Post by munki »

Thanks to Eric Ambler & Mike Roddy and the staff of The Town Hall Management Team for the tour and the photographs.Do you have any memories or myths, rumours or ghost stories about Leeds Town Hall? Register as a user & share them in the main discussion forums.We at Secret Leeds look forward to hearing from you. And we hope that you look forward to the next Highly Irregular Feature, once someone else gives us permission to see the hidden side of their building...Best wishes & happy hunting,The Secret Leeds Team.
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'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

OldBoy
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Joined: Tue 20 Feb, 2007 2:18 pm

Post by OldBoy »

Very interesting indeed, many thanks for that. I hope to see more of these monthly insights into Secret Leeds.
www.jameslesterphotography.co.uk - Photography of hidden cities.

munki
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Joined: Thu 25 Jan, 2007 5:16 am

Post by munki »

Thanks Old Boy. We will be looking to do a series of these, but they will be 'Highly Irregular', depending on how long it takes the owners to say 'yes' to letting us in!If anyone has any suggestions of places they would like us to try, please let us know. No promises, of course!
'Are we surprised that men perish, when monuments themselves decay? For death comes even to stones and the names they bear.' - Ausonius.

Phill_d
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Joined: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 6:22 am

Post by Phill_d »

LOTS... If we can come too!!! :-)
A fool spends his entire life digging a hole for himself.A wise man knows when it's time to stop!(phill.d 2010)http://flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/

IMOR
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed 23 May, 2007 8:52 am

Post by IMOR »

Before Brodrick designed our great Town Hall he had a trial run with the Wells House Hydropathic establishment at Ilkley.It's now up market des-res but worth looking at from across the road if anyone is in the area. I used to work there some years back and it was surprising what was left from Hydro days.Just as an asside, one of it's more famous visitors was Charles Darwin. He stayed at Wells House in 1859 and 'took the waters' at White Wells on the moor above.There's quite a lot of designs in Wells House to be found in Leeds Town Hall.Back to our great building. Thanks for the photographs, it's made it come alive for ex-pats.

morleyman
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Joined: Thu 05 Jul, 2007 3:09 pm

Post by morleyman »

Great insight Munki,been in the cells ,but not the rest.Well done.

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