Currently the fourth biggest university in the UK, University of Leeds has a campus as diverse and fascinating architecturally as the students who occupy them, ranging from gothic revivalist to post-modern. Let’s have a little tour, shall we?
Though not itself an officially chartered university until 1904, some of its older buildings were in fact part of Victoria University, an 1887 conglomeration of colleges from Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds serving as Northern England’s sole university. After the Manchester and Liverpool campuses separated into individual institutions, Leeds was granted the charter in 1904 and became a university in its own right. Nowadays Leeds can boast a population of over 33,000 students and one of the most diverse campuses architecturally in the country, with buildings ranging from gothic revival to art deco, brutalist to post-modern.
The Union is the center of student activity on campus with a constant flow of people. During the summer months bunting is often hung across the main avenue, giving university life the feel of a festival. There are now also weekly farmer’s markets selling local produce, which have proved immensely popular.
The timing of my campus Lomowalk coincided with the student council elections, where students vote for the candidates they feel will best represent their views in the running of the Union. As a result, walls were plastered with vibrant photos perfect for slide film’s vivid colors. Prospective candidates could be seen wandering campus, some in interesting outfits, drumming up support for themselves.
As said above, the style of buildings on the campus is incredibly varied, with certain regions being of a particular style based on the time of their construction. The Law buildings, being the newest, have a very sleek modern design to them, some more reminiscent of old sci-fi series.
Of the post-modern buildings, they range from the shiny snaking glass of the Arnold & Marjorie Ziff Building (believe it or not the photo below is NOT of a rollercoaster on its side)…
…to these controversial concrete constructions, representative of the brutalist architectural movement – the Roger Stevens building, and the surrounding science departments.
But the real charm of the campus comes in the form of its original buildings, which bring a much-needed dash of grandeur to proceedings. The Business School is housed inside this incredible gothic hall on the edge of campus. Deeper into campus can be found the Great Hall, one of the original buildings from the 1880s. Statistically, every student that has ever walked into the Great Hall has around an 80 to 90% chance of making a Hogwarts joke.* And just a short way away is the strong spire of the Emmanuel Centre, appropriately built inside a church.
The crowning glory of the university is the Parkinson Building, with its white gleaming tower visible from all around campus and much of the surrounding city. Built as a facade for the red brick of the Brotherton Library and named after one of the university’s most prominent old benefactors, it truly is a beautiful building to behold. Rumors that the Chancellor lives in a room at the top of the tower have yet to be verified.
So there you have the University of Leeds in all its glory. Many of the old buildings are open to the public, so why not come visit for yourself? And be sure to bring a camera!
*Not forgetting, of course, that statistically 50% of statistics are made up on the spot for the sake of humor.