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Rothwell One Stop Area Office

From Rothwell Wiki


The Rothwell One Stop Area Office, formerly known as the ‘Rothwell Urban District Offices’ and more commonly as the ‘Rothwell Civic Building’, is the historical administrative headquarters of the Rothwell Urban District Council and later was used as offices for Leeds City Council.

The building was constructed from stone with a Gothic revival clock tower in 1895. It was expanded in 1940, and in 1974, it was renamed 'Rothwell Area Office' upon integration of the Rothwell Urban District into Leeds Metropolitan District. In the 21st century, it served as a One Stop Centre for Leeds City Council, but was declared surplus to requirement when the One Stop Centre merged with Rothwell Library to form the Rothwell Community Hub. Following this a local community group attempted to have ownership of the building transferred to the community, but Leeds City Council sold the property to a private company in 2023. The offices will be turned into 9 flats.

History

Built (1895)
RUDC Abolished (1974)
Sold (2023)
RUDC Offices
LCC Area Office
Extension (1940)
Closed (2016)

Prior to Building

Before the construction of the civic buildings, the site was occupied by a timber or half-timber structure known as the "Fleece Beer House." It was owned by Mr. Hindle and was tenanted by Thomas Clift, who operated a barrel-making business from a shed located behind the building.Towards the end of the 19th century, the property was under the ownership and occupation of Mr. William Wildbood. Mr. Wildbood, a former butcher from Oulton and the owner of a pottery in Woodlesford, is believed to have been the last occupant of Fleece Beer House.[1]

19th Century

The Rothwell Urban District Council was established in 1894 under the Local Government Act. It consisted of fifteen district councillors, each representing one of the five wards: North, South, Thorpe, Stourton, and Carlton. To accommodate the council's needs, a new building was required.

The building, constructed with stone and featuring a Gothic revival clock tower, included a council chamber, committee rooms, an office, and a caretaker's residence. Additional storage rooms were situated at the rear. The design of the building was the work of architects T. H. and W. E. Richardson, based in Rothwell and Leeds.[2] In 1895, the construction of the offices was initiated by John Chapman. The total expenditure for the project, inclusive of the site, amounted to £2600.[3] Adjusted for inflation, this sum equates to £282879.40 in 2023.[4]

On 8th June 1895, a commemorative ceremony took place to mark the completion of the building. The event brought together the Council and a substantial assembly of guests at the venue. During the proceedings, John Hargreaves, the chair of the Building Committee, placed a memorial tablet, signifying the accomplishment. The ceremony featured the adornment of banners throughout Rothwell, a musical performance by the Rothwell Old Brass Band, and a prayer offered by the vicar of Rothwell, Reverend W. B. Pearson. The event culminated with a concluding prayer by Reverend Edward Workman, the Wesleyan vicar. Subsequently, a luncheon was hosted at the Mechanics Institute.[3]

20th Century

On 27th March 1940, an official opening ceremony was held to inaugurate an extension to the offices of the Rothwell Urban District Council. The extension, which added a member's cloakroom, was unveiled by Major Bernard Armitage, the Chairman of the Council. The extension was designed by the architect Norval R. Paxton.[2]

In 1974, the offices were renamed 'Rothwell Area Office', following Rothwell's incorporation into Leeds City Council.[2]

21st Century

A map of the layout of the offices, with office rooms and toilets labelled.
The ground & basement floor plan of the offices as of 2023.

In the early 21st Century, the offices were used as a One Stop Centre for Leeds City Council, where social services and Leeds Housing team were based. Disability access to the building was also improved. [2] However, Leeds City Council merged these services with Rothwell Library in 2016 to form the Rothwell Community Hub. [5]

In 2018, the Friends of Rothwell Civic Enterprise (FORCE) was formed with the aim to "prevent the sale of the old council offices" and "save the building and its history for the use of Rothwell folk."[6] The group, along with local councillors, wants Leeds City Council to transfer ownership of the building to the public. The group would then seek to renovate and restore the building so it can be used as a flexible space for both the community and businesses, including as a base for the Rothwell Temperance Band, MHA Communities Rothwell, and a local GP surgery & primary care network. It would also potentially house a cafe, banking hub, cinema and local museum. [7]

However, in October 2023, Leeds City Council confirmed that it would sell the building at auction. Councillor Conrad Hart-Brooke described the decision as a "betrayal", saying:

The Labour-run council wouldn’t dream of selling off Leeds Civic Hall, so why is OK to auction off our heritage in communities like ours? Over the years they have shown no respect for the building, gradually neglecting it, and ultimately pulling out staff and declaring the building ‘surplus to requirements’ in 2016.

Cllr. Conrad Hart-Brooke, in David Spereall's article, Yorkshire Evening Post

The council responded by saying that it is “important the property is sold to reduce the costs incurred by the council in holding the building” and because of the £30m hole in their budget.[8] On the 15th October, FORCE, local residents and local councillors gathered at the offices to hold a group photo in protest of the decision.[9] The building was sold on the 6th December 2023 for £364000[10] to real estate company Sandiway Developments Limited.[11] The company submitted plans in April 2024 to turn the offices into 9 dwellinghouses.[12]

External Links

References

  1. Albert Brown (1997). Albert Brown's Story of Rothwell Leeds: Stephen Ward Photography & Publishing.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Stephen Ward (2020). "Rothwell & District: Pictures & Memories from the Past". Leeds: Stephen Ward Photography and Publishing.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Leeds Mercury (1895). "Rothwell Urban District". Leeds Mercury, 10 June [online]. Available at: <https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/BC3201912032/BNCN?u=leedscl&sid=BNCN&xid=445a44bb> [Accessed 7/12/2020]
  4. Bank of England. "Inflation Calculator". [online]. Available at: <https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetary-policy/inflation/inflation-calculator> [Accessed 11/04/2022]
  5. S Murry & S Moore (2019). "Community Hubs - Update". Leeds: Leeds City Council, [online]. Available at: <https://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s185913/Community_Hubs_Cover_Report_110319.pdf> [Accessed 25/03/2020]
  6. FORCE (2018). "We are a dedicated group of local residents..." Facebook, 8 April [online] Avaliable at: <https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2229580270459720&id=2229573427127071> [Accessed 11/03/2022]
  7. Chapman, D. (2023) Update: Rothwell Council Offices, Leeds Liberal Democrats. Available at: <https://www.leedslibdems.org.uk/news/article/update-rothwell-council-offices> (Accessed: 22 October 2023).
  8. Spereall, D. (2023) ‘Rothwell: Yorkshire town “betrayed” by auctioning off of 19th Century former civic building’, Yorkshire Evening Post, 13 October. Available at: <https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/heritage-and-retro/heritage/rothwell-yorkshire-town-betrayed-by-auctioning-off-of-19th-century-former-civic-building-4370382> (Accessed: 22 October 2023).
  9. Champan, D. (2023) ‘Let’s show the Council that we...’, Facebook. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid0PmbJVxtPkpNSpmrH1C5Dy9vBZEeUeh6tqXu97KzY9rCpDY772u4rcaXc18AgpASAl&id=100064190583012> (Accessed: 22 October 2023).
  10. Spereall, D. (2023) ‘Rothwell’s former civic offices sold off despite protests’, BBC News, 8 December. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cp9pe99g4deo> (Accessed: 9 March 2024).
  11. Chapman, D. (2023) ‘I’ve had a few people ask me if we know...’, Facebook. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02tUgmtejctMVKacPvTYRBDGgV4zPrem4xC7PqvpyRM2C42spTHFeh3EfFyTUW1nu6l&id=100064190583012.>
  12. 24/01939/DPD (no date) Leeds.Gov.UK. Leeds City Council Electronic Information Team. Available at: https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=SBEMEDJBFI100 (Accessed: 26 May 2024).
Places
Buildings Carlton Carlton Hall Farmhouse
Lofthouse Pyemont House
Oulton The Nookin
Robin Hood NE Region Emergency Grid Control Centre
Rothwell Rothwell Castle, Rothwell Empire Cinema, Rothwell One Stop Area Office
Stourton
Thorpe-on-the-Hill Thorpe Hall
Woodlesford Church of All Saints
Other Parks Rothwell Country Park
Miscellaneous Possible Roman settlement (Rothwell Haigh)
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