Yesterday evening found me driving across town at some ridiculous hour to buy rolls of blackout paper (don’t ask) when I should have had my feet up relaxing with a good book.
Luckily it didn’t take long for the silver lining to appear. As I approached the West Yorkshire Playhouse, my attention was caught by the evening light playing on the cupolas and spires of Kirkgate Market. I have always loved the architecture of the market: it adds a sense of exoticism to the city centre, and I marvel at the extraordinary vision of the architects. But then in a city which boasts a version of the Temple of Horus, maybe it’s no surprise at all.
With over 600 stalls, the Market is the largest covered marketplace in Europe. It’s a bit of a special place really, and unsurprisingly some recent refurbishment plans have generated considerable anxiety lest the essence and charm of the place be lost in the name of progress.
There are interesting views of the market silhouette from various points within the city. At one time I had a fourth floor office with an intriguing glimpse of the Oriental cupolas juxtaposed with view of the canal and warehouses reminiscent of Amsterdam. But this view as I approached the Playhouse was momentarily breathtaking. I was so determined to get the photo, I ended up parking on double yellow lines at the side of the police station.
I’m sure there are still many people who don’t know Leeds who have a vision of it as a grim industrial Northern city. Actually, the truth is it’s probably one of the most attractive cities in the UK.
And I don’t say that lightly.