Leeds Central Library.
Winner of TTA 2008 award for best use of tile in a large construction contract.
Leeds Central Library is housed in what was originally The Leeds Municipal Building which was completed in 1884. The building was designed to impress the public through its opulence and the magnificent interior decoration. Since the 1950s this great historical treasure has been lost beneath plasterboard, that is until 5 years ago when the library was rewired and what lay beneath was rediscovered.
Tile conservation specialists Jeremy Southern and Christopher Dellow took on the challenge of restoring this important building. They enlisted the help and expertise of Craven Dunnill Jackfield to remanufacture all the ceramic tiles to restore the original finish to its former glory. The new tiles were hand made using traditional glaze recipes and hand decoration techniques in order to retain all the original qualities of those from the 19th Century.
Now completed it is possible to view the foyer with its ornately carved stone doorways; and wooden doors delicately inlaid with vibrant stained glass bearing the Yorkshire rose; classically styled Devonshire granite columns elegantly support this great structure. The impressive plethora of tiles used throughout the building such as the elaborate inlaid encaustic designs on the vestibule floor, stairs decorated with striking geometric patterns, the glossy dado tiles finished in flamboyant white, mustard and blue, with bands of glossy tiles in chestnut, burgundy, aubergine, mustard and oxblood. The sheer magnitude and richness of tiles used with every imaginable shade were painstakingly crafted to match the originals from 1884. Over 15,000 tiles and months of work have gone into the restoration of the reading room at Leeds Central Library.