1st December 1821 – 2nd March 1905
Cuthbert Brodrick was born in 1821 to a Hull merchant as the sixth of ten children. He became an architect, and at the age of twenty-nine entered the competition to design a new town hall for Leeds, which was judged winner by Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament. Brodrick went on to design the spectacular Town Hall Tower, and saw the finished building opened in September 1858 by Queen Victoria.
In 1860-3 Brodrick designed Leeds Corn Exchange, a unique circular building that shows the influence of buildings he had seen in Italy. At the same time, Brodrick built the Mechanics Institute – now the Leeds City Museum – and worked on several smaller schemes in the city.
Beyond Leeds, Brodrick designed buildings in Hull and – most famously – the huge Grand Hotel at Scarborough, which was constructed in 1867. This Hotel, once the largest in Europe, was built by Brodrick to represent time. The four towers are the seasons, the 12 floors are the months, the 52 chimneys are the weeks, and the “V” shaped ground plan symbolises the age of Victoria.
In 1870, Brodrick went to live in France, where he retired in 1875, before finally living from 1898 with his niece in Jersey. Cuthbert Brodrick joined The Club in Harrogate in 1859-60 as a visiting member from Leeds, when he was at the height of his powers as an architect.
by Malcolm Neesam, 2011.