Former Headquarters of the Yorkshire Banking Company, Leeds. William Warlow Gwyther (1829/30-1903). 1899. Granite, with "[t]en giant Corinthian attached columns and parapets embellished with statues and urns" (Leach and Pevsner 435). It has a huge copper dome and architectural sculpture on the walls and parapet, the panels on the walls (at least) by Joseph Thewlis. Gwyther was a London architect, with an address first on the Strand, then in Lincoln's Inn Fields (see "Basic Biographical Details"). Some sources identify the bank as the Midland Bank (e.g. Douglas 172). This is because the Yorkshire Banking Company amalgamated with three other banks, two years later, to form the London City and Midland, which became simply the Midland ("Yorkshire Banking Company"). Photographs, captions and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2012. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the photographs for larger pictures.]

One of two figure sculptures above the parapet, along with large urns. This one, clearly representing Agriculture, faces Boar Lane, and shows a female figure with a corn sheaf and scythe, a sheep at one side and a ploughboy at the other. On the opposite side, glimpsed in the main photograph, stands a very sturdy workman at his anvil, just as clearly representing Manufacture. By the workman's side perches a proud eagle. The heraldic panel over the main entrance is that of Leeds, displaying three owls, three stars and a fleece. Since this and the other heraldic panels are by Thewlis, the figures might be his as well, but they might also be by a London firm (Farmer and Brindley?). They are particularly good, though too high up to enjoy fully. Note the spotlight in the lower right-hand corner here.

Sources

"Basic Biographical Details: William Warlow Gwyther." DSA (Dictionary of Scottish Architects). Web. 14 March 2012.

"Yorkshire Banking Company." Leodis: A Photographic Archive of Leeds (Leeds City Council site). Web. 14 March 2012.

Douglas, Janet. "The Architectural Profession in Leeds, 1850-1914." Leeds Architects and Architecture 1790-1914. Ed. Christopher Webster. Huddersfield: Northern Heritage Publications, in Association with the Victorian Society, 2011. 159-180. Print.

Leach, Peter, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding, Leeds, Bradford and the North. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale, 2009. Print.


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Last modified 14 March 2012