Cuthbert Brodrick

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Cuthbert Brodrick
Cuthbert Brodrick.jpg
Cuthbert Brodrick
Buildings Leeds Town Hall, Grand Hotel, Scarborough

Cuthbert Brodrick FRIBA (1 December 1821 – 2 March 1905) was a British architect, whose most famous building is Leeds Town Hall.

Architect person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

Leeds Town Hall Grade I listed seat of local government in Leeds, United Kingdom

Leeds Town Hall was built between 1853 and 1858 on The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, to a design by architect Cuthbert Brodrick. It was planned to include law courts, a council chamber, a public hall, a suite of ceremonial entertaining rooms and municipal offices. With the building of the Civic Hall in 1933 some of those functions moved away and it became essentially a public hall and law courts.


Leeds Town Hall Leeds Rathaus.jpg
Leeds Town Hall
Leeds Corn Exchange Leeds Corn Exchange.jpg
Leeds Corn Exchange
Leeds City Mechanics' Institute, now Leeds City Museum Leeds City Museum (11th July 2012) 003.JPG
Leeds City Mechanics' Institute, now Leeds City Museum
The Brodrick Building, Cookridge St, Leeds Brodrick Building Leeds.JPG
The Brodrick Building, Cookridge St, Leeds
Plaques on the Brodrick Building Brodrick Plaques Leeds.jpg
Plaques on the Brodrick Building

Early life

Brodrick was born in the Yorkshire port of Hull where his father was a well-to-do merchant and shipowner. He was the sixth son of ten children of John and Hannah Brodrick. The family lived at 39 George Street in the best residential area of Hull.

Kingston upon Hull City and Unitary authority in England

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700 (mid-2017 est.). Hull lies east of Leeds, east southeast of York and northeast of Sheffield.

Education and training

Brodrick attended Kingston College in Hull and, on leaving school, he became an articled pupil in the architectural practice of Henry Francis Lockwood whose premises were at 8 Dock Street. Brodrick remained at Lockwoods from 1837 until May 1844 when he embarked on the Grand Tour to continue his studies. He travelled through France to Rome in Italy. Whilst on the tour, he studied Second Empire architecture in Paris; it influenced his later designs. [1]

Henry Francis Lockwood was an influential English architect active in the North of England.

Grand Tour Journey around Europe for cultural education

The term "Grand Tour" refers to the 17th- and 18th-century custom of a traditional trip of Europe undertaken by upper-class young European men of sufficient means and rank when they had come of age. Young women of equally sufficient means ("debutantes"), or those of either gender of a more humble origin who could find a sponsor, could also partake. The custom—which flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transport in the 1840s and was associated with a standard itinerary—served as an educational rite of passage. Though the Grand Tour was primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of other Protestant Northern European nations, and, from the second half of the 18th century, by some South and North Americans. By the mid 18th century, the Grand Tour had become a regular feature of aristocratic education in Central Europe, as well, although it was restricted to the higher nobility. The tradition declined as enthusiasm for neo-classical culture waned, and with the advent of accessible rail and steamship travel—an era in which Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" of early mass tourism a byword.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

When Brodrick returned to Hull in 1846, he was offered a partnership in Lockwood’s firm. He refused this, and set up in practice on his own at 1, Savile Street in Hull. He designed a number of local buildings in Hull including the Hull Royal Institution building and the Hull Town Hall.


Headingley Congregational Church City Church Headingley 14 July 2018 1.jpg
Headingley Congregational Church

In 1852, aged 29, Brodrick entered and won a competition for the design of Leeds Town Hall. The competition was judged by Charles Barry. The town hall was opened in September 1858 by Queen Victoria. Brodrick moved to an office at 30 Park Row, Leeds and acquired the nickname 'Town Hall, Leeds'. The iconic clock tower, which serves as a symbol of Leeds, was not part of Brodrick's initial design but was added when the civic leaders sought an even grander architectural statement.

Charles Barry English architect

Sir Charles BarryFRS RA was an English architect, best known for his role in the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in London during the mid-19th century, but also responsible for numerous other buildings and gardens. He is known for his major contribution to the use of Italianate architecture in Britain, especially the use of the Palazzo as basis for the design of country houses, city mansions and public buildings. He also developed the Italian Renaissance garden style for the many gardens he designed around country houses.

His other important buildings in Leeds were the Leeds Corn Exchange (1860-3) and the Mechanics' Institute (1860-5) which became the Civic Theatre and in September 2008 the home of the Leeds City Museum. He altered the way central Leeds looked with just three buildings.

Leeds Corn Exchange Grade I listed corn exchange in Leeds, United Kingdom

The Leeds Corn Exchange is a Victorian building in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which was designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and completed in 1864.

Leeds City Museum Collection (museum), Heritage centre in West Yorkshire, England.

Leeds City Museum, originally established in 1819, reopened on 13 September 2008 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It is housed in the former Mechanics' Institute built by Cuthbert Brodrick, in Cookridge Street, which has been redeveloped to a design by Austin-Smith:Lord architects and Buro Happold engineers. Gallery and exhibit design is provided by Redman Design.

His only church was Headingley Congregational Church on Headingley Lane. [2] [3]

Headingley suburb of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England

Headingley is a suburb of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, approximately two miles out of the city centre, to the north west along the A660 road. Headingley is the location of the Beckett Park campus of Leeds Beckett University and Headingley Stadium.

Notable buildings



Scarborough Grand Hotel Grand Hotel 061615.jpg
Scarborough Grand Hotel

Brodrick designed the Grand Hotel in Scarborough. [5] [6]

He submitted unsuccessful designs in competitions to build Preston Town Hall, and the Exchange in Manchester.

Personal life

In 1870, Brodrick moved to France where in 1876 he bought a house at Le Vésinet, St. Germain-en-Laye. He retired in 1875, and spent his time painting, exhibiting his work and gardening. In about 1898 he went to live with his niece in Jersey, where he rented a house, La Colline, at Gorey. Whilst living there he designed, and planted a garden. [7] He died in Jersey on 2 March 1905, and is buried in St Martin's Churchyard. [8]


Among Brodrick's pupils was Joseph Wright (architect)


A Wetherspoons public house, the 'Cuthbert Brodrick', opened on 22 October 2007 on Millennium Square in Leeds opposite one of the buildings he designed (the Leeds City Museum) and not far from another (Leeds Town Hall). [9] It is near the site on Cookridge Street of the Oriental Baths which he also designed; they were built in 1866 and demolished in 1969. [10] His nephew was F. S. Brodrick, also an architect worked with R. G. Smith.

Brodrick was the subject of a 2007 BBC2 television programme The Case of the Disappearing Architect by Jonathan Meades. [11]

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  1. "BBC - Leeds - How We Built Britain - Cuthbert Broderick". Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  2. Wrathmell, Susan (2005). Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds. Yale University Press. p. 257. ISBN   0-300-10736-6.
  3. Historic England. "Number 44A with entrance steps, Headingley Lane (1255982)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. "The Building – the bricks & mortar". City Church Leeds. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  5. "BBC - Legacies - Architectural Heritage - England - Leeds - A bolt out of the blue - Article Page 1". Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  6. Grand Hotels: Reality and Illusion - Google Books. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  7. " - 1901 Channel Islands Census". Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  8. Directory of British Architects 1834 ... - Google Books. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  9. "The Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds - Leeds City Guide - The Essential Guide to Bars, Pubs, Clubs, Hotels and Restaurants in Leeds". Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  10. Leach, Peter; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009). Yorkshire West Riding: Leeds, Bradford and the North. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. p. 448. ISBN   978-0-300-12665-5.
  11. "The Case of the Disappearing Architect". BBC 2. Retrieved 29 August 2011.

Further reading