Leeds Nostalgia: Temple in the woods is on ‘at risk’ register

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One of the buildings on the most recent ‘at risk’ register compiled by Leeds City Council is the Little Temple at Temple Newsam.

This folly was, within living memory, open to the public to view but today, sadly, it is fenced off and visibly badly vandalised and covered in graffiti.

The building, which was never meant to be habitable, can be found by trecking up into the woods opposite the main hall - once discovered, it offers fantastic views of the estate. It is a Grade 2 listed structure, which was built about 1765 for the 9th Viscount Irwin and his wife Frances.

The temple is open-fronted, constructed of brick and rendered with four stone columns to the front and two more at the sides.

A report by Leeds Civic Trust said: “Tree growth has now largely hidden the temple from view, until you get close to it, but its condition is the real concern. The roof has missing and displaced elements which have led to water ingress and severe deterioration of timber and of the rendered brickwork. Parts of the stone columns and base are damaged or missing and there is significant graffiti.”

The council report, published earlier this month, reads: “The city’s stock of listed buildings (2,340 in total) is being re-surveyed to establish an accurate picture of their condition and establish priorities for intervention.”

The document recommended trying to find ways to reduce the number of council-owned buildings at risk and reporting its fundings to a steering group in the future.