Work set to begin on city’s trio of Italian towers

Restoration work is set to begin on a trio of iconic, Italian-style towers at Leeds’s historic Tower Works.

Starting in the coming weeks, specialists including qualified steeplejacks will be scaling the Giotto Tower, Verona Tower and Little Tower to carry out extensive work including brickwork repointing and repairs.

Debris will also be removed from the base of the Giotto Tower and gold-coloured, glass tiles on its upper levels will be repaired and replaced.

The striking towers originally acted as dust extractors for a factory founded by T.R Harding in 1864-66, which made steel pins for the textile industry.

Their design was influenced by his love of Italian architecture.

Leeds City Council’s executive board agreed to accept a transfer of the freehold ownership of the towers from the Homes and Communities Agency in March 2013 to help redevelopment projects to progress.

The Giotto Tower, the largest of the three, is based on Giotto’s Campanile in Florence, while the Verona Tower takes its design from the Torre dei Lamberti in Verona.

The Little Tower, the smallest of the three, is thought to mimic a traditional Tuscan tower house.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“The Italian towers at Tower Works are among the city’s most recognisable and unique landmarks and the site as a whole is a hugely important part of the city’s heritage.

“It is vital that we preserve buildings like this to protect the character of Leeds and so they can act as a catalyst for the sympathetic regeneration of neighbouring sites.”

Repair work to the towers will be funded using a contribution from the Homes and Communities Agency, given to the council to protect and preserve the towers.

Developer Carillion has recently been selected by the HCA as preferred development partner for the rest of the Tower Works site.

This major development will be a mixed-use, sustainable scheme balancing contemporary design with the existing heritage structures and will be a key element of the Holbeck Urban Village (HUV).

The HUV is itself a cornerstone of the South Bank Programme, which will see the council work alongside other public bodies, the private and third sectors to bring forward a mix of uses in one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration schemes.

Cllr Lewis added:

“The further development of Tower Works is an integral part of the genuinely transformative vision for Holbeck Urban Village and the South Bank.

“The South Bank Programme is one of the most exciting and ambitious development opportunities anywhere in the UK and will incorporate modern facilities whilst retaining and enhancing some of the traditional townscape and architecture that is intrinsic to Leeds.

“The completion of the new railway station southern entrance will see an additional 20,000 people in the area each day, with huge potential to attract further investment, employment opportunities and economic growth to what is a key area of the city.”



-Leeds City Council currently owns the Engine House at Tower Works and the three Italianate towers. The council will be retaining the towers as heritage assets.

-The council’s competitive tendering process for the redevelopment of the engine house is currently ongoing and is scheduled to be concluded later this spring.

-The rest of the site is owned by the Housing and Communities Agency.