Doorways to Another World

Title quote from writer Michael Sims

When your building is 130 years old covering five floors you end up with many doors leading to many different places. Doors are easy to miss, they are never your focus but an object that needs to be gotten past on route to your destination. Today we have stopped for a moment to look at these structures in a little more detail and maybe on your next visit you might see more than you ever saw before.

door panelWhen you enter the library from the main Calverley Street entrance you find yourself at two sets of double swinging doors to the Atrium. These large glazed inner doors leading to the stairwell have alabaster surrounds probably sourced from Nottinghamshire. Towards the bottom are carved panels depicting a floral motif, a pattern repeated on some of the double glazed doors throughout the building. At the base of each hinged side a stamped brass floor plate bares the mark of J&H SMITH LTD of LEEDS.
brass floor plate

100 keyWhat is now the Local & Family History Department was originally the Public Reference Library with two doors of noticeable interest. At one end of the room is the Strong Room door where reference books of value would have been kept under lock and key. The door is numbered 100 and its key stamped the same. At eye level the original enamel sign request users to “Please close this door quietly”, a reminder of the Reference rooms past as a place of silent study.

Librarians office ref

At the other end of this room can be found the Librarians office. A small space carved out of a corner of the building by floor to ceiling bookshelves and a stained glass door.

Those of you who have attended events at Leeds Central Library may have visited the top floor meeting room with its double arched doors, arched surround and tricky handle.
3rd floor mtg room 001

door96When the Municipal Buildings first opened each room was identified by its own individual number in brass upon the door. However one door shared its number throughout the building. Door number 96 can be found in the basement with doors 96a, 96b, 96c and 96d, visible on each floor as you climb the building. A give away to its purpose is the number pad at the side with a button marked “Lift Coming” at the top. Behind this door is the library booklift, but that’s a post for another day.

All the doors in the above post can be seen in public access parts of the Leeds Central Library

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