Temple Works

Leeds, United Kingdom

Temple Works

Temple Works is a former flax mill in Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was designed by engineer James Combe a former pupil of John Rennie, David Roberts, architect Joseph Bonomi the Younger and built in the Egyptian Revival style by John Marshall between 1836 and 1840 with a 240 hp double beam engine by Benjamin Hick (B. Hick and Sons). Temple Works is the only Grade I listed building in Holbeck.

By 1842 John Marshall owned four mills in Holbeck known as Mills B to E, Mill A having been demolished in 1837. The early 1830s had been a time of great prosperity for the firm after the introduction of the wet spinning process in 1829, the transition to which took five years to complete. John Marshall's four sons all entered the business, but increasingly he relied on his son James concerning the manufacturing side. The firm's competitors in Leeds were all prospering and had built or had plans to build sizeable new mills. The firm at that time specialised in making fine yarns, principally for the French market, but this was starting to decline. Therefore, James Marshall decided upon a programme of diversification into thread and cloth manufacture. This decision to diversify required an extension to the manufacturing facility in Holbeck. James had two alternative plans, another six storey mill on the site of the demolished Mill A in Water Lane, or a single storey building extending from Mill C in Marshall Street south to the junction with Sweet Street. He compared the cost of the two mills and calculated the single storey structure would cost £24,000, about 15% cheaper than a comparable six storey building. The new building was modelled at one third the full size in the yard of Mill C. James persuaded his father, then in semi-retirement, that the single storey mill should be built. A Mr Smith had already built the first single storey cotton mill in Deanston, near Stirling, but Messrs. Marshall planned a much larger and complete specimen.

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