A selection of writing on the regeneration of the area that gave birth to the industrial revolution in Leeds.
October 16, 2020
The bright yellow double decker bus of Slung Low’s Cultural Community College has become a landmark in the Holbeck area. It sits proudly in the front car park as a symbol of the organisation’s commitment to community, social responsibility and giving a luminous sheen to daft, harmless amusement. In the bus’s front window is a sign declaring that “culture is dangerous in the right hands”. It is a tagline that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of what Slung Low do and the reaction their approach hopes to elicit.
September 10, 2020
As we look back through history, we peel away the layers and everything is revealed. Except that the full harvest of some of the rudimentary practices from our industrial evolution aren’t always immediately evident to the 21st century eye. Intrigue should always play a part in how we imagine and discover all our yesterdays, and there is so much still to discover, otherwise our hunger for history would be satiated and we could firmly close the book on the past. And that is why a recent discovery at a famous Yorkshire mill has opened up a fascinating portal into this region’s rich textile heritage, whilst also enabling a journey into an arresting and innovative future.
July 08, 2020
The greatest love stories aren’t always about young love. We are all ships that pass in the night and life is a series of sliding doors moments. Some of the strongest and most perfect bonds are formed late in life; making up for years of separation that might be tinged with regret, but are a necessary chapter in the story and make for a flawless ending and a yearned-for outcome that you savour all the more.
May 28, 2020
It seems absurd that the magnificent Temple Works was to be auctioned off for the nominal figure of £1, and it is a myth that CEG paid this sum for the zenith in the architectural and historical compendium of the city of Leeds. Because of the eye-watering prospective cost of stabilising, weather-proofing, cleaning up and re-purposing Temple Works, this grand Egyptian edifice was indeed listed with a starting price of £1. What followed was a nationally-reported apprehension and a creeping anxiety that a purchaser could emerge triumphant with no realisation of the risks or expertise in managing them, nor pockets deep enough to scratch the surface of the barely-understood structural problems.
May 21, 2020
It might not feel like it, but we are living through history and every one of us is playing a leading role. We’ve all seen the films, read the books and watched the plays, now the dark, dystopian fiction has become the fact, and the unavoidable truth is that our everyday lives have taken on a challenging, scary and perplexing existence, almost overnight. And fundamentally, when everything changes, we need to record how we feel, because we need to document this moment in time, and we need future generations to understand what we went through and to learn from it.
April 06, 2020
Never before has the city of Leeds so badly needed to be united; behind the NHS, behind the authorities and vital services and behind its people. Behind each other. COVID-19 has proven to be indiscriminate and with everything on hold - almost every aspect of normal life – the city is getting through the current crisis on a collaborative and a community spirit. It’s the only way.
March 13, 2020
Since becoming custodians of Temple Works in early 2018, CEG have worked tirelessly to protect the building, understand more about it and find a suitable long term use which reflects its importance and its brilliance. This week the Government’s Budget announced funding towards what could be a possible use for the building, and a wholly appropriate one at that. The work contributing to reaching this point has been painstaking, patient and collaborative. A wealth of talented people are working towards this positive future for Temple Works, and this press release – reproduced in full below - released by CEG goes some way to explaining where things stand now.
March 11, 2020
Before we start building again, we need to remember; remember where we came from and where we’d like to go. This charmed pasture between Water Lane and Globe Road was once a flat plot of land; a blank canvass of opportunity, just like it is now, and it is about to change again. But back then nobody knew what opportunity was.
February 28, 2020
The idea behind CEG and Slung Low collaborating over a short story competition involving the people of Holbeck was to acknowledge the rich history of this unique district of Leeds, but to also capture the power that its people have. That means ‘power’ in the sense of, a power to create laughter and tears, a power to make you think, but also a power of recovery and of resilience. The people of Holbeck have faced all these things; hardship, struggle and in some cases poverty, but throughout, they have retained an ability to laugh, inspire and rebound. This was all captured in the many stories submitted.
February 13, 2020
The industrial revolution may have been one of the most ground-breaking evolutionary steps the developed world has ever seen, but it left little positive impression in terms of human welfare, environmental impact and the decorative dressing of the towns and cities it helped develop. It may have provided jobs and allowed for profound social reforms in terms of industry, community and a working economy but it also promoted gruesome and exploitative working conditions, particularly for women and children, spewed endless filth into rivers and atmospheres and proliferated the landscape with hastily-designed functional brick edifices to the financial disparity between mill owners and mill workers.
January 22, 2020
Resilience is something everybody needs. However well your life is going and whatever circumstances you live in, you need resilience; spirit, strength and resistance. Because we all face things that test our character and how we deal with them often defines us. Some challenges are bigger than others, and bouncing back from illness, misfortune or mistakes can require a special kind of resilience.
December 23, 2019
When you can point to a textile industry that is traceable back to the Middle Ages, and has developed through cottage industries and the mass production of cotton, linen and wool right up to the manufacture of clothes and fine tailoring, it may come as a surprise to today’s generation to know that, although the scale might be greatly reduced, the core of this industry survives.
December 08, 2019
To build a successful community, according to Rolf Mason, curate of St Luke’s Church in South Leeds, as he addressed a packed room of local residents at the Holbeck Working Men’s Club on a chilly November evening, you need three things; 1. People first and foremost 2. Businesses and employers to create money and 3. A great council to organise everything.
November 22, 2019
The Science is a problem; climate change is “An Inconvenient Truth”. And in a world that is slowly becoming a scientific problem beyond any recognisable scale, we need to be careful how we respond to it. We can’t just solve one problem by adding to a much bigger one. By building much needed homes and workplaces, we are using precious resources, but also, if delivered in an unconsidered way, we are potentially compounding the issue and locking in problems for years to come. But there are ways to control that, and developers like CEG are committed to finding these solutions, implementing them and helping others do the same.
November 15, 2019
For a plan to have an overall effect, sometimes you have to just join up the dots. It’s similar to the theory of holism, better known as the concept of the ‘sum of its parts’, whereby the total effectiveness of a group of things each interacting with one another is greater than their effectiveness when acting in isolation. If you can translate this ideology, or at least a need for it, to an area of a city, then Holbeck is perhaps a good example. And there might just be an organisation who are about to implement holism in LS11, before our very eyes.
October 30, 2019
Words can inspire and energise, or they can hurt and reveal the truth. There are many individual words that have been used to describe the Temple Works building in South Leeds over the years; audacious, grandiose, extravagant, unique, innovative, perhaps even incongruous. Each word was appropriate in its own way, but not all of them still seem to apply. Today, you are more likely to use neglected, weathered, hazardous or forlorn. And yet it is still standing, as a landmark of a sort, and its inherent design qualities still exist as evidence of one of the most remarkable construction achievements to come out of the industrial revolution.
October 22, 2019
Temple is a place where things are happening. They are happening now and they will be happening in the future; one step at a time as Temple evolves to become a ‘great place’ to be. CEG’s Temple development is an opportunity to build on the great assets already in the area and connect them together with a thriving city centre and an established local community. It is a rounded development that is essentially about making a place; creating and harnessing a thriving neighbourhood and providing a destination.
September 27, 2019
A new neighbourhood is coming to Leeds. Fresh ideas, new spaces and an injection of people, amenities and infrastructure. But crucially, building on the unique character and tradition of what is already there.
September 26, 2019
History is everything, particularly when you have got so much. And Holbeck has some history. But history isn’t just famous and significant events that we read about in books and learn at school. History is everyday life; people, places, shops and pubs, families, relationships, where we played, where we danced, where we laughed. History is the fabric of life and the things that shape a place, form a community and make it what it is today.
September 13, 2019
This is the story of Matthew Murray; a man of unquenchable energy, influence and ideas, but also a man of principle and virtue, and while these latter qualities should allow a person to prosper and build a formidable legacy, in Murray’s case they strangled his ambitions and severely hampered how he is recalled.
September 05, 2019
Demolition of the former industrial buildings on the plots now known as Globe Point and Globe Square in February 2019, was the trigger to kick-start CEG’s long-awaited regeneration project at Water Lane and Globe Road in the Holbeck area of Leeds. It also provided the opportunity for some key archaeological studies to be performed on the site which was critical to the forming of the Marshall Empire in the late 18th century and the wide scale development of the Industrial Revolution in Leeds.
August 21, 2019
Communities can achieve things when they use their voice, but giving them a voice isn’t easy, and making them use it is even harder. Negativity can sometimes be used as a crutch to lean on, and stirring people who are finding it harder to be optimistic can take enormous strength and perseverance, and is perhaps not the arena for the easily offended.
July 26, 2019
When we try to recall what the great industrialists of the 19th century did and how they operated, we rely mainly on historical records, some of which are vague, or partial, or indecipherable. Certainly there is no living memory to help us, and there is very little physical evidence too.
July 05, 2019
Exporting goods made in Holbeck to the rest of the world is nothing new. But it’s been a long time since these disregarded streets rumbled to the sound of revolution. There were strategic reasons why John Marshall chose this patch of undeveloped agricultural land on which to spark industrial reform on a worldwide scale in the late 18th century, and likewise the embryonic Northern Monk showed similar forethought in planting their roots in an area that would perfectly reflect an identity drenched in austere perseverance, northern-ness and toil.
June 25, 2019
John Marshall was a different kind of mill owner. Not just in his ground-breaking implementation of productivity, engineering and raw material procurement practices, or his adoption of visionary design, construction and architectural techniques, but in his treatment of people.
June 12, 2019
Regeneration is about making lasting changes, and not just in a physical sense. Reversing a decline is as much about building people as it is building office blocks, public realm and mixed-use developments. The prime objective of a regeneration scheme should be to stimulate social and economic change, and that means addressing unemployment, poor housing, poor health, crime rates, a lack of facilities and creating a sense of community.
May 29, 2019
Developing society dictates that work life and family life are very different today than for past generations, and the opportunities available to many of us are far more diverse and aspirational than might once have been the case. You can set up a business that has a global reach and run it from your spare bedroom, or you can just travel the world with your work if you want to. But then those opportunities aren’t open to everyone, and a more traditional approach to careers and learning a trade is perfectly valid and still works for some people.
May 14, 2019
The Japanese art of Kintsugi is the restoration of broken pottery with the use of lacquer dust or with powdered gold, silver or platinum. It creates a new piece of art that, scars and all, is considered more valuable than the original piece. In relating this to our everyday lives, it demonstrates that we should be proud of our scars because it is those that make us what we are. Also, we should never discard something and dismiss it as worthless, because everything can be repaired, and sometimes the breaks make the end result more precious.
May 10, 2019
We might count ourselves fortunate when we consider that human life has existed on the planet for millions of years and yet we are the generation that witnessed the birth of the internet, and teabags, and we even saw Leeds United win a trophy. What is also remarkable is that in all that time, the Industrial Revolution is still considered one of the world’s most seismic evolutionary steps forward and it happened in Britain, and furthermore, we can still see evidence of it in Leeds today.
May 03, 2019
Arup is a global consultancy that addresses every aspect of the built environment, from initial planning and advisory services, through building design, structural engineering and a full range of specialist technical disciplines.
April 25, 2019
A new revolution in Leeds is happening; a new wave of development bringing opportunities, growth and a revived momentum to the South Bank area of Leeds. Enabling work for CEG’s Globe Point and Globe Square developments has already started, with archaeological digs currently taking place on the site, which was the location of John Marshall’s first two flax mills that kick-started the industrial revolution in Leeds.
April 16, 2019
Before delving more deeply into the history of John Marshall, his life, family, business and influence, and the fascinating story of Temple Works, it feels right to document a brief history of Holbeck itself and rightly acknowledge many other people who have helped shape the area.
April 03, 2019
Holbeck was built on innovation; people having ideas and a hunger to put them into practice. In the 1800s those ideas forged communities and gave people purpose, abilities and belonging. Alas the industrial revolution came and went, and so did the catalyst for change. But if you can sense something happening in 21st century Holbeck, it is because like-minded people are having ideas and feeling a hunger again.
March 29, 2019
John Marshall built his first flax mill in 1791 on an open patch of undeveloped land in Holbeck to the south of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and to the north of the Hol Beck. He paid William Naylor £600 for an acre-sized freehold plot on what was already known as Water Lane a year earlier in 1790. He wanted to relocate his flax spinning business there due to the commercial benefits offered by transportation via the newly completed canal and the power source provided by the Beck. Also, the local population of the nearby village of Holbeck provided a plentiful supply of willing and available workers.
March 22, 2019
Holbeck was the birthplace of the industrial revolution in Leeds, but it has a fascinating history in many other ways too.
March 12, 2019
Development company CEG group acquired the fascinating heritage asset Temple Works in January 2018. Since this time it has met a series of significant challenges in the process of fully understanding the building’s past development, present condition and potential for the future.
March 06, 2019
Holbeck is the spiritual heart of the industrial revolution in Leeds, but how and why did Holbeck become lost? Looking south, beyond the hive of activity within the cobbled streets of the regenerated Round Foundry and the urbane lilt of the digital curiosities within it, is a confused panorama, ingloriously cast adrift by a ceaseless quest for progress which commenced on its doorstep.
February 27, 2019
Temple Works has often been referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown of Leeds heritage’. It is a building of huge significance, arguably on a global scale. By the time the main mill building was constructed in 1840, John Marshall was retired from the business and died five years later. His empire had been exporting yarn across the world for over 40 years, and the construction of Temple Works, or Temple Mill as it was initially called, represented the zenith of the Marshall’s business.
February 20, 2019
Laundry flaps in the breeze between the inflexible arrangement of back-to-backs; trousers, sheets and school clothes are infused with the toxic fumes of daily urban grind. Takeaways and multi-cultural mini-markets stand in the shadow of the lurching menace of concrete subways, while empty playgrounds ache and closed-down pubs morph into something to help us forget, or they give up the ghost altogether.
February 13, 2019
Space is everything. You can do a lot with it. We used to have lots of it in Leeds, but now we don’t, so have we used it wisely? Well…. we’ve created modern day Leeds; a pulsating metropolis of opportunity, built on a history of struggle, invention and hard work. But the struggle is still there.