Culture Minister To List Queensgate Market In Huddersfield

By Richard Moss | 04 August 2005
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shows a photograph of a building with a pebble dashed frontage and large square relief sculptures fixed to the side.

Market Hall and Car Park, Queensgate, Huddersfield, 1970. © Kirklees Community History Service.

Culture Minister David Lammy has announced the listing at Grade II of a 1960s market hall and library and art gallery dating from the inter-war period in Huddersfield.

The Queensgate Market Hall was opened in 1970 and features an unusual roof structure based on 21 asymmetric curved shells designed to allow maximum light into the market. The Library and Art Gallery was built between 1937 and 1940 in the ‘stripped classical style’ of the period and incorporates many elements from classical design.

“Huddersfield’s Queensgate Market is the best surviving example of a retail market from the 1960s and 1970s,” said the Culture Minister. “It is an imaginative structure that combines innovative technology of its time to produce a dramatic space full of natural light with the striking focal point of the roof.”

The roof sections of the Market Hall are of differing heights that cantilever or appear to fly above the building, whilst the external east wall, which abutts a multi-storey car park, features a large abstract art in relief.

The library and art gallery is said by English Heritage to represent a well-preserved example of early 20th century civic architecture.

shows a black and white photograph of a neo-classical building with steps running up to its entrance

Huddersfield Library pictured in 1953. © Kirklees Community History Service.

“The Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery is a very fine building incorporating many elements of classical architecture but interpreted in a modernist way,” added the Minister.

The listing of both buildings comes at a time when Kirklees Council is in the midst of considering regeneration options for the centre of the town.

A major consultation exercise into regeneration options was held last year, with the majority of people, around 70 per cent, favouring options for a large regeneration of the library and piazza area with wholesale redevelopment - including a new library and market hall.

Kirklees Council’s Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr John Smithson, said that the council would now have to look at the detail of the government decision to ‘list’ the buildings before it could consider any regeneration options.

“The listing of the library and the market hall will clearly have a significant impact on where we go from here,” said Cllr Smithson. “While we will not necessarily be back to the drawing board, we will have to have a detailed look at the impact on the options.”

shows a colour photograph of a shopping plaza with shop fronts to the right

Market Hall, Princess Alexandra Walk, 1990s. © Kirklees Community History Service.

It is estimated by the council that the library building needs at least £3.75m spending on essential repairs whilst the Market Hall building needs at least £1.5m on essential works with a further £3m in the longer term on maintenance.

“What cannot be ignored are the underlying reasons for looking at the regeneration options in the first place,” said Cllr Smithson. “Namely the condition of both buildings.”

The costs of the council’s proposed development plans were expected to be covered by overall outside investment – with no cost to the council. It is thought that a potential regeneration and investment value of the scheme would be up to £135m. Now the council will need to reconsider its plans.

“We clearly have to address these issues concerning both the library and the market hall come what may,” added Cllr Smithson.

The preliminary decision to list the structures was taken on the advice of English Heritage and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. When assessing a building for listing the only factor which statutory advisers and the Secretary of State can take into account is whether it possesses special architectural or historic interest.

A structure’s state of repair (unless it has harmed the architectural or historic interest), or any planning proposals are not relevant to the assessment of a building’s qualification for listing.

Kirklees Digital Photographic Archive contains 60,000 photographs of Huddersfield and the surrounding area. For more information visit www.hpac.org.uk/kirklees2 or email digital.archive@kirklees.gov.uk

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