The Leeds School Board buildings were designed in 1876 by renowned Victorian architect George Corson after winning an open competition under the alias ‘Crayon’.
Built from local Burley and Pool Bank stone, the building opened in 1881 and served as the administrative centre for Leeds, where trainee teachers and children came for their examinations. The showpiece was the Board Room with a gallery, 12 feet high walnut panelling and artworks commemorating Board Chairmen and Leeds dignitaries.
On the top floor, a vast top-lit examination hall had standing room for a thousand and gallery for one hundred. At 43 feet high, it had narrow aisles formed by the cast iron pillars supporting the arched ribs of the knave-like roof.
At the rear of the building is a hidden treasure; a cantilevered double-helix staircase, rising Escher-like to the examination rooms, intended to keep boys and girls apart, as well as inspiring children and teachers alike.