Temple Works

Temple.Works.Leeds – once the “largest room in the world” – has reopened as a cultural venue. While structural repairs are underway to the 2 acre main Space, the rest of the site is under artist occupation. Read on… 

The History

Temple Works in Holbeck is the Grade 1 listed Victorian former flax mill that made history as “the largest room in the world”, with sheep grazing on a skylit roof in the heart of Leeds industrial revolution. With a facade modelled on the Temple of Horus at Edfu in Egypt it was designed by Joseph Bonomi the Youngerand built byJohn_Marshall (industrialist) between 1836 and 1840. Temple Works is referred to in schools of architecture and engineering the world over not so much for the unusual facade however but for the unique and visionary engineering solution of the main mill floor, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wrights Johnson Wax Building a century later.

The plan

Privately owned and run, and receiving no external funding, Temple Works is now set to become a major mixed-mode cultural venue CALLED Temple.Works.Leeds, after being granted Planning permission in 2010 to change the use of one of Leeds only two Grade 1 Listed monuments. While the spectacular 2 acre main space undergoes repair, it acts as a backdrop to the rest of the slowly restored site which includes an old paintshop, joiners shop, external sheds, listed toilets, the old Works Canteen and a myriad of other wonderful spaces and places. The lengthy repair period necessary for such a unique structure has given the Temple.Works.Leeds team the chance to involve local and regional artists in testing the site’s spatial qualities and choreography.

The action

Artists are now rehearsing, holding events and in residence, helping create the first three years of a contemporary cultural programme.  This has included a six month programme of online film production and filmed events distributed through social media, techno nightlife and themed parties, promenade theatre and dance, art installations and performance art, digital and ‘live’ art, sound and light spectacles. When not in programme use, these unusual and unpolished spaces are available for private and corporate hire for shoots, meetings, conventions, exhibitions and more and several new cultural organisations have made Temple Works their base.