Leeds Town Hall Window Replacement

Sensitively upgrading historic fabric to meet contemporary demands

The windows at the Grade 1 listed Leeds Town Hall are a dominant feature of all facades, and contribute greatly to the character and appearance of the building. The fenestration of the building is a key element of the classical design, with a repetition of arched windows on the principal and first floors wrapping around the entire building.

In partnership with NPS, Page\Park led an assessment of the window condition, including historical and contemporary alterations, and made proposals for a comprehensive replacement of the Town Hall’s windows with a new design sympathetic to the original, but which offers vastly improved technical performance to meet Leeds City Council’s decarbonisation plan. The windows were replaced in 2022, completing the first phase in the wider redevelopment of the Town Hall.


At the project outset, the windows were found to be large rectangular steel casements set in the original timber frames, added in the 1950s, with a semicircular fan light above. Very few casements (if any) in the building could be opened and closed properly. It appeared that due to the height and size of the opening casements, they distorted considerably while opening and closing. An adhesive film had been applied to the glass, reportedly to minimize glare and provide protection from explosive blasts. This had delaminated from the glass in many instances, and was unsightly from street-level.

The new windows, painted in the original colour scheme of deep green, were required to meet several demands of their proposed use and continued utility. They also need to meet the increasing demands of climate change and reduction of the building’s running costs. Due to the complexity of the installation, a prototype was manufactured and installed as a means to test supply chains of components, disassembly and installation, and finishes.

The paint finish on the new windows is a deep green hue. Following years of overpainting of the frames in white, paint sample analysis confirmed the original green colour scheme, which was re-adopted in the new colour specification.

Page\Park referred to original drawings and historic photographs in determining how the windows had been altered over time. The photographic evidence dates from 1900 onwards, however we also referred to earlier etchings, from the time of Queen Victoria’s visit to open the building in 1858.

We believe that although the original ‘Contract Design’ drawings by Cuthbert Brodrick (1853) show the windows divided horizontally into smaller panes, the windows were ultimately constructed with large single panes of glass in order to demonstrate the sophistication and wealth of the city.

The building suffered bomb damage during World War 2, and it’s likely new steel casements were fitted into the original frames during the process of repairing the building. The cheaper process of retaining and repairing the windows (however crudely), rather than replacing them, meant the retention of more original fabric than may otherwise have been the case.

Project Info

NPS for Leeds City Council
The Headrow, Leeds
December 2022
Bermar Building Co Ltd