The Old School Board building is a magnificent example of 19th Century bombastic philanthropy. Built of stone in a Victorian classical style, full of carved decorative features, it occupies an important site in the cultural quarter of Leeds, near Millennium Square and next to the Library. In the 20th century it became the Civic Court Building and later converted into offices.
The ground floor is raised above the street and accessed by an imposing stone staircase. Beneath lies a half basement floor that for 11 years was Carpe Diem, once a famous club, drinking hole and music venue on the Leeds night scene. It hosted the local Leeds heros, the Kaiser Chiefs and the slightly less heroic Pigeon Detectives when they started out but after 11 years on the Leeds scene Carpe Diem closed in 2015, a victim of changing lifestyles.
Our narrative, our brief runs as follows:
The owners of the building have been trying to let the basement to traditional restaurant operators for two years. Builders had moved in and set about stripping out the Carpe Diem interior only to be stopped in their tracks when the deal broke down.
So when the PopCity bad boys rocked up in Leeds one day and saw the sad remnants of the once mighty Carpe Diem still over the entrance to the basement they decided to take the initiative....
Stealing in one night they managed to break down the doors. With their gang of skilled workers designers and craftsmen they set about transforming the dingy sad interior into the fizzy pop experience they are going to bring to all of their locations.
Before they knew it, the owners were confronted with a totally new scene. PopCity Carpe Diem opened its doors, the coolest destination in Yorkshire, with its own microbrewery, gin distillery and speak easy, great street food offers changing regularly, great coffee
celebrating the recent past in an authentic space with DJ.s, musicians, poets, actors, buskers....
Meanwhile the workspace the building owners are creating upstairs will thrive with such groovy neighbours below
Opening - May 2018