From College to Campus - University of Leeds Archive

Discover the range of architectural styles that pay testament to the continual growth of the University campus

By Leeds University Library Galleries

University of Leeds Archive

Photograph of the old Yorkshire College, Cookridge Street in The Gryphon, Inauguration issue (1904-10/1904-10)Original Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

In 1904 The Yorkshire College was awarded a Royal Charter which meant that it became The University of Leeds. The Yorkshire College had developed from a small medical school, originally established in 1831. Find out more about the early history of the university’s predecessors in our exhibition ‘The University has come at last’.  

General Plan of Leeds University 1930 campus (1930/1930)Original Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

The first few decades following the establishment of the University of Leeds saw continued increase in students and successful fundraising allowed the new university to grow. You can see the rate of expansion in these campus plans. This is a campus plan from the 1930 'Student Handbook'  

Campus plan from The Student Handbook, 1960 (1960/1960)Original Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

Compare it to the 1960 campus plan from the 'Student Handbook.' The large white square is St George's Field and the circular building number 2 is the Brotherton Library, built in 1936. What other buildings do you recognise? 

Illustration of The Parkinson Building (1954/1954) by Maurice de Sausmarez and A. N. ShimminOriginal Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

The University of Leeds hasn't stopped growing and developing. You can see this in the different styles of buildings that were built at different times, even in different centuries. One of the most iconic buildings on campus is the Parkinson building, named after a former student, Frank Parkinson, who donated £200,000 in 1936.   

This drawing was made by Maurice de Sausmarez, the former Head of Fine Art at the University. Construction started in the 1930s but had to stop because of the war. The building was finished in November 1951 and opened by H.R.H. the Princess Royal.  

Illustration of The University Union (1954/1954) by Maurice de Sausmarez and A. N. ShimminOriginal Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

Here is another illustration by Maurice de Sausmarez of the University Union.   

Agriculture Building/Agricultural Sciences Building, now the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (1960/1980)Original Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

This is the Agricultural Sciences Building, opened in 1927. From the style of the cars, this photograph was probably taken in the 1970s or 1980s. You can see the Parkinson Building clock tower in the background.   

Photograph overlooking ornamental pool, edge of Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre Block to right of picture, North East ElevationOriginal Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

These architectural styles contrast to later buildings such as the Roger Stevens lecture theatre which was constructed from reinforced concrete and built in 1970, now a Grade II listed building. 

Photograph of Arts Block/New Arts Block, now the Michael Sadler BuildingOriginal Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

This is a photograph of what was the Arts Block, now the Michael Sadler Building. The Ziff building now stands where the trees are. 

Photograph of University of Leeds Main Entrance, from Woodhouse Lane, seats and trees in foregroundOriginal Source: University of Leeds Special Collections

Students outside the university entrance on Woodhouse Lane. 

The University of Leeds, which started out in rooms, became a college and transformed into the large campus it is today. It is still growing, changing and adapting, but one element that stays the same, is its students.     

Credits: Story

The items in this exhibition are from the University of Leeds Archive which preserves the records of the University of Leeds and its predecessors, giving us an insight into past University life.  
Learn more about the history of the university on our website 

The University of Leeds and predecessor student newspapers have been fully digitised. Search the newspapers here  

See more highlights from our student newspapers here     

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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