Transformation for Leeds building which played starring role in city's cinematic claim to fame

It's the Leeds building which cemented itself in history thanks to a starring role in one of the very oldest pieces of film in the world.

A terrace view of Sovereign Quay.
A terrace view of Sovereign Quay.

1 Sovereign Quay is situated on Leeds Bridge, which was the subject of French inventor Louis Le Prince’s pioneering film of industrial Leeds in 1888.

The grainy black-and-while film, showing people and carriages crossing Leeds Bridge, has achieved legendary status as the first moving picture sequence using a single lens camera and a strip of paper.

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A blue plaque placed by Leeds Civic Trust at Leeds Bridge.

Fast forward to 2021 and the historic building is undergoing a multi-million pound transformation.

Eamon Fox, partner and head of office agency at the Leeds office of global property consultancy Knight Frank, who are marketing the building on behalf of Charles Street Buildings Group, said: “This is a building which is steeped in history and is also so full of promise and potential for the future. What a heady mixture.

“By appearing in one of the oldest surviving pieces of film in existence, 1 Sovereign Quay has truly cemented itself in history. Louis Le Prince filmed Leeds Bridge and the surrounding buildings during the heady late-Victorian years of industrial growth and commerce and it’s only right that the building is now re-imagined to reflect Leeds’s continuing regeneration and its need to evolve for contemporary life and work.”

He added: “Formerly known as Windsor House, this sleeping giant is now undergoing a multi-million pound makeover, including the addition of south-facing terraces and full-height glazing on the fourth and fifth floors, which will provide over 21,000 sq ft of stunning Grade A office space. It will offer the ultimate combination of character, prominence, positioning, design and stunning views across the city.”

A still frame from the first moving images made by Louis le Prince on Leeds Bridge in 1888.

Work has already started on the transformation of the building, which will be ready for occupation in the second quarter of 2022.

Located on the north bank of the River Aire within the heart of the city, 1 Sovereign Quay is ideally positioned with views across the river, the city and beyond. With both the financial and shopping districts only a short walk away and with cafes, restaurants and bars in all directions, it is close to all the best that Leeds has to offer.

Mr Fox added: “These brand-new Grade A offices will provide all that is needed for a modern inner-city working environment, with a major emphasis on staff health and wellbeing, sustainability and open plan design. Bespoke facilities will include glass walls, two private roof terraces, secure underground secure parking, storage for bikes, and access to state-of-the art showers and changing facilities.

"We are looking to lease the offices floor by floor and we are already receiving strong interest.”

1 Sovereign Quay

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