The Twentieth Century Society would like to give its enthusiastic support to the listing of one of Huddersfield ’s most innovative post-war buildings. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has on 3 September issued a press release inviting public comments on the possible listing of Queensgate Market, following English Heritage’s recommendation to list the building at Grade II. The market hall has been at risk for some time in spite of still being in its original use. Kirklees Council earlier this year published a number of different schemes for the regeneration of the area, some of them threatening the existence of the market hall as well as the close-by Library and Art Gallery.
English Heritage’s recommendation emphasises the unusual combination of a great achievement in engineering and the incorporation of then contemporary art into the building. The skilfully engineered hall features over 20 mushroom-shaped columns supporting hyperboloid paraboloid roof sections at different heights. The gaps in height between these sections are filled with vertical patent glazing and form clerestories – then a novelty in market hall architecture. The Hall impresses through the clever lighting solution as well as dr am atic shapes of the columns and its undulating ceiling. The exterior stands out through large ceramic reliefs designed by the artist Fritz Steller, a German émigré, which are facing onto one of Huddersfield ’s busiest roads, Queensgate,. At the inside a long relief of abstract figures by Steller adds considerable interest to the large open space.
After a campaign by a local pressure group and the Twentieth Century Society we are thrilled to see this unusual and stunning piece of post-war design on its way to a protected future and hope that Kirklees Council will re-evaluate its regeneration plans accordingly.
Queensgate Market was built in 1968-70 to designs by the J Seymour Harris Partnership, (with Leonard and Partners as consultant engineers). The building was part of a large redevelopment scheme of the centre of Huddersfield in the 1960s and 70s.
For further information please call: Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker, The Twentieth Century Society.
Risky Buildings: Queensgate Market