More Holbeck Architecture: Tower Works


It’s been a little while since I wrote a laudatory post about Holbeck, but I couldn’t resist today’s offering.

I was wandering along Water Lane to grab a coffee, and thinking about my current series of work about Holbeck botanical gardens, and pondering the many points of interest in the area when I noticed that Tower Works looked a little bit different.

Tower Works is another Holbeck architectural gem. It is not to be confused with Temple Works, the Victorian celebration of Egyptian architecture. Tower Works instead evidences an Italianate influence, and the three listed towers today comprise one of the most fascinating aspects of the local urban skyline.

As Wiikipedia puts it:
. The largest and most ornate tower (1899, by Bakewell) is based on Giotto’s Campanile in Florence. The smaller ornate tower (1866, by Shaw) is styled after the Torre dei Lamberti in Verona. A third plain tower, built as part of Harding’s final phase of expansion in 1919, is thought to represent a Tuscan tower house such as can be seen in San Gimignano. All three towers are listed structures, the two ornate towers being Grade II* and the plain tower Grade II.

In my photo, the plain tower is easily missed since it disappears visually into the somewhat larger Candle Building to the rear, a rather more recent 21st century addition to the area. But I find this a fascinating juxtaposition, since the Candle Building has always reminded me of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

So really we have four Italianate towers in the area now.

I eventually worked out what was different about the building. The refurbishment tarpaulins covering the facade of the building for as long as I can recall have at long last been taken down.


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