Derelict Leeds Warehouse Transformed Into Art Gallery

By Roland Hancock | 14 July 2004
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shows the entrance to Artists House. Photographed from below it is a tall brick structure with glass windows.

Photo: the new Artist House and Media Centre.

English Heritage Chairman Sir Neil Cossons visited the Round Foundry, Leeds, on July 14 to celebrate the opening of its Artist House and Media Centre.

Artist House will become home to two artists in residence, as well as a gallery space for visiting exhibitions. The space was converted from a derelict warehouse by the foundry’s developers and English Heritage.

Sir Neil said: "It’s great to see that this development was done with such sensitivity. We at English Heritage do not want to see pastiches, buildings are made to be used and an old building used is an old building saved."

shows the Round Foundry Warehouse when derelict. There are two brick warehouse visible with many smashed windows and large double doors, which are painted blue.

Photo: the Round Foundry Warehouse, derelict for many years, was once part of Matthew Murray's foundry, the first industrial-sized iron works in the world.

In keeping with that co-operative spirit, artists in residence Bryan Davies and Laura Quarmby plan to explore links between the shared values of the business and artistic worlds. Their first project will be to set up a 'Perfect Bar" experimental coffee shop run by both artists and entrepreneurs. They are also planning a series of symposia involving artistic and business leaders.

The duo has already been involved in "Sex and the City", in conjunction with the Henry Moore Institute. Celebrating the television programme of the same name, the gallery mocked up Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and invited members of the public to dress as characters from the show.

showsa photograph of the development taken at dusk. There is a large courtyard sorrounded by renovated buildings.

Photo: the wider development of Keys Court where the Artist House and Media Centre now reside.

The art space is part of a £40 million-pound mixed use redevelopment of "Hunslet Urban Village", to the south of the city centre.

The Round Foundry, the group of buildings at the heart of the development, takes its name from Matthew Murray’s foundry, the first industrial-sized iron works in the world, built in 1795. Thoughout the 19th century it became famous for producing locomotives and heavy iron works, until it closed in 1895.

Developer Roland Stross said: "I like to think that we’re carrying on a tradition here. Murray’s foundry was really a co-operative of different craftsmen. With Artist House and the Media Centre in the heart of this redevelopment I hope that collective spirit will carry on."

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