Spenfield House

The other day I was working in Leeds. I was quite interested to discover what this city was like as I had never been there other than through it to other destinations. I have to confess that the city centre was not terribly inspiring with so many modern high rise buildings and office blocks. Where is the history? I continually yelled out aloud as I navigated the confusing road system.

However, after work, I checked into a run down hotel that I had secured rooms in via the website Late Rooms and after a visit to the local fish and chip shop went for a short walk. The glorified bed and breakfast establishment was away from the main part of Leeds in a district whose name I cannot remember, but there did seem to be a fair dollop of historic buildings scattered about. It transpires, from researching a little afterwards, that this was once a fashionable part of town with old villas spread out as you approach the main part of the town.

I followed what looked like an estate wall passing a couple of old lodge cottages, very somber looking properties dating from the mid 19th century, built from sandstone and once quite bright and clean, but now dreadfully blackened by soot and carbon dioxide. I assumed that eventually I would come to an entrance of some description if I followed the perimeter wall and my calculation was proved correct as shortly the wall splayed opened and a tarmaced road led in.

To my delight there was a peculiar and curious building immediately presented to me. It was obviously a large family home at some point, perhaps later used as a hotel or guest house but now disappointly in the hands of a corporate organisation.

I marvelled at it’s Gothic Victorian beauty and slowly walked up to it to study the curiosity in more detail. I do love architecture and even though I do not know all the names of the elements that make up a building I can admire and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into it’s construction and the emotive response it radiates.

I have included a picture with this blog so that you may look at it as I first found it. I cannot alas describe it sufficiently as my vocabulary in this area is sadly lacking. I did ask a lady at the reception desk just within the main entrance with two ugly gargoyles looking down at me but with their original drainage system long since removed, what that place was called so that I might look it up on the Internet. She told me it was Spenfield House and I discovered it was built by an architect who had moved to Leeds in the late 19th Century to design the theatre there. They don’t build stuff like this any more and some places are knocked down and got rid of for horrible modern nonsense, so this was the my jewel in an otherwise drab city.

I do love getting out and using my eyes and looking at the wonders that are around us and try to at every opportunity.

July 22nd, 2012 by