Construction started on The Great Hall in 1884 and took ten years to complete. Along with the Clothworkers Buildings and Baines Wing, the building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse – famous for his works on the Natural History Museum in London. The red brick style Waterhouse used for the buildings helped to coin the term ‘red brick university’.
Our campus in pictures
Old and new photos of the University of Leeds estate
Our campus in history
The development of the University of Leeds estate
The Yorkshire College became the University of Leeds when it was granted a Royal Charter as an independent body by King Edward.
Devonshire Hall was the first purpose-built halls of residence for students of the University of Leeds. The Grade II listed building encompasses six annexes; R block, Old Hall, Ruse, Ridgefield, Elmfield, and Springhill. Modern, purpose-built buildings were constructed in the nineties; The Orchards (1993), North Lawn (1994), and the Grosvenor complex (1994).
Before the Brotherton Library was built, the undercroft of The Great Hall housed all of the University’s library collections. In 1927, Edward Brotherton donated £100,000 to the University to fund its first purpose-built library. Today, the Beaux-Arts building is Grade II listed.
A gift of £25,000 was given to the University from W Riley-Smith to build a new Students Union in 1939. The building was extended in the 1960s as part of architects’ Chamberlin, Powell and Bon development plan for the University campus, and again in the late 1990s. In 2016, Leeds University Union, still homed in the original building, underwent a major refurbishment, including creating improved performance venues and facilities for societies.
Construction started on the Parkinson Building in 1938 and during the war the building was used as a Ministry of Food storeroom – it was not opened as a University building until 1951. The Grade II listed art deco building stands at 57 metres tall and was named after a major benefactor of the University, Frank Parkinson, who oversaw many new build projects from 1936 onwards.
The Mechanical Engineering Building is part of a sequence of buildings along Woodhouse Lane designed by Allan Johnson, which also features the Civil Engineering Building (1960) and the Electronic Engineers Building (1963). Mechanical Engineering features a bold fibreglass relief mural above the entrance, executed by Alec Dearnby.
When the EC Stoner Building was built, it contained the longest stretch of corridor in Europe. At over a fifth of a mile long it’s still one of the longest, and forms part of the University’s infamous ‘red route’.
One of the many University buildings designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon – as a small part of a wider campus plan – the brutalist, concrete-clad Roger Stevens Building is now Grade II listed.
With the rapid expansion in higher education after WWII, student numbers at the University grew enormously. As a result, architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon were appointed to develop a buildings strategy for an extensive teaching precinct. Part of this plan was the Edward Boyle Library (then the South Library), designed to act as the University’s undergraduate library, offering students core course materials and new teaching spaces. The Edward Boyle Library received a multimillion pound refurbishment in 2016. The interior design reflects the Brutalist and distinctive exterior design and shape of the Chamberlin, Powell and Bon buildings.
The Leeds University Business School (LUBS) acquired the 19th-century Maurice Keyworth building, previously owned by Leeds Grammar School. LUBS have since constructed further modern buildings around the Maurice Keyworth, such as the Innovation Hub and Charles Thackrah Building.
The University’s swimming pool and fitness, sport and wellbeing complex, The Edge, opened in 2010 following a £12.2million investment into the construction and facilities.
The M&S company archive relocated to the University campus from London to the purpose-built facility. The collection, comprising over 70,000 items, enhances the University’s rich collection of cultural and artistic assets open to the public.
The need for a more modern study environment at the University saw the Laidlaw Library, a dedicated undergraduate space, open in 2015. Laidlaw boasts state of the art facilities and is built to offer students a contemporary option for their study. It was named after Irvine Laidlaw, who studied economics at Leeds in the early 1960s, and whose £9m gift for the project was the biggest ever received by the University.
As parking in the city-centre campus was limited, a multi-storey car park was constructed to improve the quality and safety of parking facilities at the University. The ten levelled, 690-space car park facilitates further development of the campus in line with the University’s Strategic Plan.
A £5m investment in Bodington Playing Fields saw a refurbishment of the sports pavilion and the creation of a 1.6km tarmac closed road cycle circuit. The Brownlee Centre and Bodington Cycle Circuit were officially opened by the Brownlee brothers in April 2017.
Our campus in numbers
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