Leeds Engine:Today: Holbeck

Holbeck and its Fancy Factories

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Tower Works

One dominant landmark of the area is the towers of the former Tower Works. Situated on Globe Road this was originally the site of Globe Foundry from 1844 to 1864. One of the Globe Foundry buildings survives, fronting on to the canal (picture). From 1864 it became the Tower Works of T. R.Harding and produced pins and needles for the textile industry. The façade of the works has been covered with scaffolding for a number of years but the grade II listed structure should be refurbished as part of a modern development (sadly the development will mean the famous towers no longer dominate the skyline)
The oldest of the three towers is from 1864 and is based on the Torre del Commune, or Lamberti tower in Verona. Next to it is the Giotto Tower based on the Campanile of Florence Cathedral (picture). The Giotto tower is about half the height of that in Florence and rather than the marble cladding it has a finish of red brick work and local Burmantoft tiles. Inside this tower, which was in fact a chimney, was fitted with filters to remove harmful metal filings from the emissions.
The third tower looks plain by comparison but is believed to be based on one of the towers of St Gimignano in Tuscany.

A History of the Middleton Railway Leeds, ISBN 0-9516205-5-X, Available from the Middleton Railway Shop
John Blenkinsop of Middleton, John Bushell, Old Middleton Railway publication.
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal, ISBN 1-85936-013-0
Old Ordinance Survey Maps, Holbeck & New Wortley 1906, ISBN0-85054-111-5, Available in most local books shops.
Victorian Society Walks No6, Leeds – 3 suburban walks, from 1987, copies can be found in the Leeds Civic Society shop.

Further Reading on the Internet
History section of the Holbeck Urban Village Site.

This article was produced by Kris Ward, any feedback or contributions about the Leeds engine making industry would be greatly appreciated.

Page last modified: 20 June 2021

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