June 28, 2021
The definition of public art, according to the Tate institution, is “art that is in the public realm, regardless of whether it is situated on public or private property”. In that sense, Harry Thubron’s 1964 mosaic hidden away on a wall in the car park of a dilapidated former warehouse in Holbeck, Leeds, is still very much public art, and the fact that it is unseen, unsung, and perhaps unloved, only adds to its interest and intrigue. But any doubts that may have persisted about whether this was public art can now be comprehensively dismissed, because CEG and Leeds Arts University are about to rescue it from disrepair and probable demise, and restore it ready for suitable reverence.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.