Temple Works, a former mill building in Leeds known for its Egyptian facade, has been awarded more than £1m in new grants as it moves a step closer to becoming the Northern post for The British Library.

Plans for the British Library’s new location at the former flax spinning mill have been years in the making, following a mixed history for the building.

The Grade I listed former flax spinning mill in the inner-city area of Holbeck had been earmarked as a manufacturing hub for fashion brand Burberry but its plans failed to materialise. Until 2009 the building was used as an arts centre but has since been derelict.

The new funding to bring the building back into use includes a £636,000 grant from the Heritage Stimulus Fund – part of the Culture Recovery Fund and administered by Historic England – which will support repairs to the building.

Art Fund – News

Money from the Heritage Stimulus Fund will contribute to work to prop up the interior of the mill, on the Heritage at Risk Register since 2008, until permanent repairs can be undertaken.

A further £400,000 from Historic England’s Yorkshire region will fund rescue work on the neighbouring Counting House building, which will include crucial repairs to the roof and walls, making the building watertight before the next phase of refurbishment.

Roly Keating, British Library Chief Executive, said: “The British Library has major ambitions to expand and enrich our offering to audiences across the north of England and this funding is not only an important step towards securing the future of Temple Works, but also enables us to further explore the potential for the site as a home for the British Library in Leeds.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled to provide funding from the Culture Recovery Fund and Historic England towards the repair of Temple Works, an instantly recognisable building which was an important part of Leeds’s industrial past and is set to play a key role in its future.”

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate, said: “This is a bold and ambitious project which will repurpose an important part of our city’s heritage and help drive wider regeneration in Leeds’s South Bank area and beyond. This new funding is welcome and will enable progress to be made on the plans at Temple Works, including much-needed repair work to the Counting House.”

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