Tuesday, 2 April 2013


A to Z Challenge – travels round Leicester with my camera No 2.

Most of the fine Victorian banks in Leicester were built in the neo-classical style but the former Leicestershire Banking Company Headquarters in Granby Street is Gothic to the core. Built between 1872 and 1874, it was designed by the Leicester architect Joseph Goddard with carved details by Samuel Barfield.

When I first came to Leicester it belonged to the Midland Bank, later changing to HSBC and it was where I kept my account. The interior design of the great banking hall almost made queuing up to pay your bills a pleasurable experience. The hall is full-height, with stained glass windows and a roof which the list entry on the English Heritage website describes as an ‘elaborate cross-beamed clerestorey roof with traceried lights, arcading above the girder beam…’

These days it’s no longer a bank. HSBC moved to somewhere less interesting though perhaps better suited to modern banking requirements. It is now set to be converted into a temple by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. 

Joseph Goddard's Gothic masterpiece with some of the decorative detail.

I’d like to include a brief note on the Goddards as another Goddard building features in tomorrow’s blog. 

The Goddards were a family of Leicester architects that spanned several generations. The practice had its roots in a building and surveying company established in the late 1700s in the Belgrave Gate area of the city. By the late 1850s the Goddard practice had become one of the leading architectural practices in Leicestershire. Commissions included domestic and commercial architecture as well as churches and schools. Although now based in London the practice is still in existence today.


  1. WOW. More amazing architecture and great photography to show it off. I think I am going to enjoy your series.

  2. What beautiful handiwork. You definitely don't see such articulate work anymore. Very fascinating and educational. I love this. You get an A for doing the letter B. Have a great day. I'll check yours tomorrow.

  3. fascinating and i love that style!

  4. What an amazing building. Do you have a historical trust or something so certain buildings can't be altered or torn down? It always worries me when wonderful buildings change hands. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Important buildings are put on a special list which offers some protection. The building in the piece is Grade II listed. I intend to write something about this subject in another A-Z blog.

  5. Loving the old buildings.

  6. This is really a beautiful building with an interesting history. Did you ever find out who commissioned it?

    Anyway, I'm a fellow A-Zer (Number 792) stopping by. I look froward to reading other posts.

  7. I love old banks- make great pubs! Very nice shots.

  8. Oooh dragons. What a fabulous building! Nice post.

  9. Beautiful photographs of architecture and sculptures!

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge