Architecture book reveals how Leeds’s Temple Mill has an ancient history

NILE MEETS AIRE: The Egypt-inspired Temple Mill at Holbeck.
NILE MEETS AIRE: The Egypt-inspired Temple Mill at Holbeck.
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The pyramids, the Sphinx...and Temple Mill? It’s an unlikely architectural connection.

It’s an unlikely architectural connection,

But a new book about the influence of ancient Egypt on British architecture over the past two centuries has revealed a Leeds link.

Among the cultural gems profiled is Temple Mill, also known as Marshall’s Mill, in Marshall Street, Holbeck.

The mill joins another West Yorkshire site, Bradford’s Undercliffe cemetery, in Egypt in England, a new book from English Heritage.

The book by Egyptologist Chris Elliott explores more than 50 public monuments in Britain, from cinemas and supermarkets to factories and mausoleums, revealing an on-going love affair between Britain and the land of the pharaohs.

Speaking of the book and its accompanying exhibition, author Mr Elliot said: “For over 200 years, we have been constructing buildings and monuments in England inspired by ancient Egypt. Today, pyramids, sphinxes and obelisks are dotted across England. Cinemas, factories and shops were all designed in the Egyptian style.”

Temple Mill was designed by architect and Egyptologist Joseph Bonomi to look like an ancient Egyptian temple. He used his detailed knowledge of ancient temples to influence the mill’s design, which includes lotus columns, snake motifs and hieroglyphs.

When it was completed in 1843 its vast single-story weaving shed was described as the single largest room in the world. The Victorian Society’s website says the building was “inspired by the ancient Egyptian Temple at Edfu” and is “a notable Leeds landmark”.

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