Beckworth’s is Back

Charles B. Howdill’s finest surviving secular building, the long-derelict former Beckworth’s Viaduct Tannery, has recently been converted into flats.  William Beckworth (1841-1911) was a pillar of the Primitive Methodist community and a prominent citizen of Leeds, whose tannery business had branches in Lincoln and Bramley. Beckworth apparently also owned a tannery in Bermondsey that Charles Howdill may have designed.

Colin Dews believes that Thomas Howdill did some work on the nearby Joppa Tannery at 87 Kirkstall Road. Joppa was owned by the Nichols family, for whom William Beckworth worked before starting his own tanning business. Tanneries were an important part of the economy of Leeds during the nineteenth century; the large Meanwood Tannery, leased by Harold Nichols from 1891 to 1904, features a commemorative blue plaque installed by Leeds Civic Trust in 1999.

Here are some photos I took of the sympathetically restored Beckworth’s Tannery last week:

The detail on the sandstone facing the road is very attractive, and the 1892 date of the building can be clearly seen on one gable end:

The development is called The Preston, and a number of flats are currently available for rent. The address is 1 Viaduct Road, Leeds LS4 2BG. An online description reads:

Just a stone’s throw from Leeds City Centre is this fantastic building conversion, offering unique, high specification apartments perfect for both students and young professionals. The Preston marries a historic limestone industrial exterior with contemporary interior design. Boasting quick transport links into the city and an abundance of nearby amenities, the development strikes an attractive balance between downtown convenience and residential tranquillity.

You can see a video of the development here.

It’s wonderful to see this outstanding Howdill building back in use.