Built 1901 in the majestic style of a late Victorian ‘drinking palace’ (of which few were ever built in Yorkshire), the Adelphi was designed by Leeds architect Thomas Winn for the local Melbourne Brewery. Its highly ornate, multi-roomed interior was carefully looked after for many years by Melbourne’s powerful successor, Joshua Tetley & Son, and it has survived wonderfully well to this day (although the effect has been superficially diminished of late by some ‘cafe-bar’ décor). Four rooms open off a drinking lobby from which a lavish staircase rises grandly to a former ballroom. The pub has a rich array of original tiling, etched glasswork and mahogany fittings. The room named as ‘Smoke Room no. 1’ has a lovely deep and delicate cornice. At the rear left, the large square opening in the wall suggests that two rooms have been amalgamated whereas the sympathetically designed screen between the two front ones was put in by Tetley’s in the 1980s. The Adelphi was statutorily listed in 1998 following a pilot study of Leeds pubs by CAMRA for English Heritage.
The Adelphi stands prominently at the southern edge of Leeds city centre, where Briggate crosses the River Aire. Its tall curving brick-built frontage, granite-clad at ground floor and with sandstone detailing, makes it the most imposing, outwardly, of Leeds' surviving late Victorian 'gin palaces'. It was built as a pub and hotel in 1901 to designs by Thomas Winn, a local commercial architect who was also responsible for the Cardigan Arms and the Rising Sun. Inside, the Adelphi preserves its multi-roomed interior and much of its original etched glasswork, joinery and tiling.
The main entrance is to a central lobby drinking area, with tiled walls, original terrazzo floor and a grandly-rising open staircase which is itself nicely detailed. To the right is a large front lounge and smaller rear saloon, both with impressive original fireplaces. To the left, the large public bar with its extensive curved counter was sub-divided in the 1980s with a sympathetically designed wood screen. Both the front rooms are lit by large fine etched glass windows. Upstairs is a sizeable function room of plain design, once a ballroom, and additional floors which are no longer used. The Adelphi was given recognition by Tetleys in 1978 as one of their first 'Heritage Inns'.