Leeds Mechanics Institute, now City Museum, by Cuthbert Brodrick

Former Mechanics' Institute, now City Museum. Cuthbert Brodrick (1821-1905). 1865-68 (adapted for its present purpose, 2005-08). Local stone. Cookridge Street, Leeds. >/p>

Closer view of museum entrance. [Click on thumbnail for a larger picture.]

Another of Brodrick's prominently sited, solid and confident Leeds landmarks, this an imposing entrance on Millennium Square, and an innovative interior. In this case, the central hall, intended as a lecture room with balcony and Ionic columns, is circular, its floor raised on cast-iron columns. Called the Albert Hall, it was designed to accommodate up to 1,500 people, and lit by clerestory windows. Around it on a rectangular plan were a library, reading room, workshops and studios, classrooms (including one set aside for moral instruction), dining rooms etc.

After the Mechanics' Institute fell out of use for its original purpose, it had a new lease of life as a concert hall, becoming known as the Civic Theatre. More recently, a costly restoration and adaptation project has turned the Albert Hall into the grand "central arena" of the Leeds City Museum. The other rooms have become galleries, visitors' facilities, and so on.

Related Material

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use these photographs without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Civic Theatre, Cookridge Street, Leeds. arthurloydd.co.uk (a theatre history website). Web. 22 July 2011.

Leeds City Museum (Leeds County Council site). Web. 22 July 2011.

Linstrum, Derek. "City Museum." Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North. By Peter Leach, Nikolaus Pevsner and others. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2009. 425-26.

"Welcome to the Pleasure Dome." BBC. Web. 22 July 2011.

Last modified 22 July 2011