Wednesday, 1 July 2009


In 2009 Black Dogs worked on a series of interventions, events and exhibitions in response to the Tower Works site in Holbeck, Leeds. Throughout June we invited the public to ponder over the curious history and origins of the three Italianate chimneys that make the site one of Leeds’ most eccentric yet criminally overlooked landmarks.

Maverick pin-maker Colonel Harding opened the site in 1864, choosing to give Leeds factory workers and residents a little taste of Italy by replicating three towering attractions from Florence, Verona and Tuscany. In a tri-part series of exhibitions, installations and activities, Black Dogs offered the opportunity for people to celebrate, learn, and share stories about Tower Works playing on their Italian connection.

1. The Bells of Florence brought to Leeds.

With no small amount of technical wizardry the Florentine Campanile rang out across Holbeck three times a day as the Leeds version finally fulfilled its bell-tower ambition helping to close the gap between these estranged tower twins.

2. Exhibitions of photography from South Leeds and Florence.

A selection of photographs and video that brought together The Giotto Tower and its original big brother in Florence were displayed across two sites; The Carriage Works on Millennium Square in Leeds City Centre and The Midnight Bell pub opposite Tower Works.

3. Walks around Leeds and Florence

Black Dogs designed a map that transposed Florence on to South Leeds using the Giotto Tower as a common point and illustrated the histories of the two cities.

Download the map here

In June and September the group offered tours around Holbeck and the City Centre that took in the viewpoints from which the chimneys of Tower Works are visible. Two guides delivered information alternating between history relating to Leeds and the sites that would be visible stood in the same spot in Florence. The events were also used as opportunities for participants to share their knowledge, experiences and stories relating to the area.

images by Sue Ball

Self-guided walks were also available by picking up a free copy of the map from various venues in and around Leeds.

Black Dogs’ Tower Works interventions and projects were commissioned by MAAP and formed part of the Yorkshire Forward redevelopment of Tower Works.

Black Dogs Tower Workers were
Andy Abbott, Michael Burkitt, Yvonne Carmichael, James Hill, Richard Ormrod, Dave Ronalds, Jennyanne Smith, Mick Welbourn