After the opening ceremony the key used to open the building went missing. Some 60 years later a couple a couple visiting Leeds for the first time from New Zealand returned the key to the Lord Mayor. They had found it among the effects of their late father, a banker, who had been executor to a former Lord Mayor. It remains a mystery just how it achieved its epic journey to the Antipodes but now, back in its rightful home, it is displayed in the Reception Hall.
Well-known for its impressive collection of civic buildings, Leeds Civic Hall is acknowledged as one of the finest in Britain. Almost triangular in shape, it was constructed on a sloping site of 7070 square metres (8460 sq. yds) and designed to gain the full benefit of light and air.
Faced with Portland Stone the building has a Roman Corinthian portico of six columns. Above are twin towers 52 metres (170 ft) high, on each of which perches an owl, one of the symbols of Leeds. The birds were cast in bronze and surfaced with gilt and were the work of the renowned artist Mr John Hodge. Each owl measures 2.3 metres (7ft 6in) and weighs 500 kilograms (half a ton).
Designed by architect Mr.E.Vincent Harris, the Civic Hall cost approximately 360,000 Pounds to construct and furnish. Prior to its construction the offices of the Lord Mayor and various other council departments were housed within the Town Hall together with the Courts. With the expansion of the City and its population, pressure grew for a further civic building to be erected to facilitate expansion within the council. Not able to afford the whole of the building costs from its own coffers the council, through a masterstroke, put to use monies awarded the city to help the local unemployed, by the Unemployed Grants Committee in Central Government. It is said that 90% of the workforce was taken from the local unemployment register.
Millennium Square Leeds: Surrounded by some of the city's most important buildings, including the Town Hall, Civic Hall, Leeds General Infirmary and the Civic Theatre, Millennium Square is the cultural heart of Leeds city centre.
The site includes areas for staged performances such as outdoor theatre, pop concerts, operatic and orchestral performances, as well as civic ceremonies, fairs, markets and street entertainment.
Also on the site, a giant media screen showcases major events, news and local information. This provides a great forum for broadcasting major national and international events such as the Live8, the World Cup football tournament, Wimbledon and opera and ballet from the Royal Opera House.
Millennium Square was Leeds' flagship project to mark the year 2000, funded by Leeds City Council and the Millennium Commission. The £12m project successfully transformed the old Mandela Gardens and a nondescript car park into one of Europe's most innovative and impressive civic spaces as well as providing the city's first new public square in over 60 years.
You are viewing panorama No.5 (Leeds Civic Hall, Millennium Square, Carriageworks Theatre), one of 166 Virtual Reality 360 degree views of Leeds.
Map and aerial view of Leeds showing the location of Leeds Civic Hall, Millennium Square, Carriageworks Theatre at Latitude 53.801588888888894 / Longitude -1.5487481481481353.
We have visited Leeds on a number of occasions to produce this tour, this page was created on Fri, 6 Jan 2012 18:18:15 +0000.
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