Huddersfield’s Queensgate Market trades on its architectural heritage

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I’m a couple of clicks late on this, but I’ve just noticed that the 20th Century Society recently named Huddersfield’s Queensgate Market (above) as its Building of the Month. The Society, a charity which lobbies to protect modernist architecture, describes the market as “one of the finest post-war buildings in the north of England”. And so it is.

For the last few years I’ve had an ongoing debate with my Father about the beauty of Queensgate Market. Growing up in the 1950s, Dad has always been a lover of the town’s old Market Hall, which was demolished in 1957. I never got to see the old building, but I’ve some splendid memories of the newer market thanks to my Grandmother taking me there on Saturdays. It’s still got this amazing roof, comprised of an asymmetric lattice of concrete shells, that floods the place with natural light even on the most cloudy days. Believe you me those Pennie skies can be very overcast indeed.

Despite its unique architectural heritage, it’s the only building of its type in the UK, the local council is threatening to demolish the market to make way for a new development, that will build a new market hall, while adding a number of residential units and a department store to the mix.

Luckily a campaign to save the building is underway, led in part by the 20th Century Society and local conservationists. Here’s how Jon Wright, the Society’s senior case worker, sees it: 

“It comes as a shock when a twentieth century building that is widely admired, not just by the Society or by architectural and design enthusiasts, but by the general public and its every day users, comes under threat. When the building in question is also listed, has a concrete roof structure unique in the country and contains extraordinary artwork, proposals for demolition seem outrageous.”

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