Saturday, 24 April 2010

Leeds in Bloom - The Queens

The Queen's Hotel, on the south side of City Square was built in 1937, from the design of architect to the London Midland and Scottish Railway, WH Hamlyn. It is faced with white Portland stone at the front but the sides and rear are brown brick.

Interesting fact: Portland Cement is often cited as being invented by a Leeds man Joseph Aspdin (1778-1855). Should he be included as one of the forgotten ones?

As a devotee of Art Deco I remember visiting the hotel (penniless) in the 1970s just to see the lift. The building has had a major refurbishment recently but the 1930s features have been retained. I didn't know, until reading it in the link, that The Queens was the first hotel in Britain to have en-suite bathrooms to all rooms and the last of the railway hotels to be in public ownership.

This is another huge piece of embroidery, chartered by Val Lloyd and stitched in blackwork by Audrey Gabbitas. Audrey spent 437 hours on the work and calculated that she had made at least 345,000 stitches. It was quite a job to scan this for the records.

Some of the volunteers didn't necessarily embroider. There were all sorts of other jobs to be done including making tea at workshops, keeping the materials sorted and stitching the individual pieces to the panels. Shirley Gale was one of these people but she also found time to do some needleweaving.

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