A Day in the Life – Receptionist and Events Co-Ordinator Lisa Riley

August 23 2019

This piece was originally featured in the the Yorkshire Post.

Lisa, originally from Belper, Derbyshire, has held this role at The Round Foundry & Marshall’s Mill Estate for five years.


I am usually up at 6.30am and carry out the standard morning routine of showering and having breakfast. I make sure to feed my cat, Trixie, and check for any wildlife he may have brought into the house as he is an avid hunter. I am vegetarian so we have had the odd disagreement about this! I then have a short commute of ten minutes in the car from home to the estate that I am very grateful for. On the rare occasion that I can’t drive, the train station is only a ten-minute walk from the Mill, which is very useful.

I start my day at my desk by responding to all of my email. I am the first point of contact at the estate and spend my time helping commercial and residential tenants with anything they might need. I’ll also liaise with contractors that may be fitting out offices that are recently let to their new specifications. It’s always interesting to see what individual stamp a new organisation in the Mill will add to the space.  We have some fantastic office fit-outs on the estate that are extremely creative. I will also help the Estate Manager, Steve, with the day to day running of the estate. Steve and I take great pride in looking after Marshall’s Mill and The Round Foundry estate with lots of behind the scenes work to maintain the heritage of the buildings.

We are extremely proud of our heritage here at the Mill. The main Round Foundry building no longer stands, but Dry Sand Foundry and Green Sand Foundry along with some other buildings which date from as early as 1798 are now restored and occupied by tenants. The current Marshall’s Mill building, pioneered by capitalist industrial John Marshall in 1815, now provides quirky urban office space to businesses of Leeds. Organisations are drawn to the estate for the mix of original features with contemporary space that provides the best of both worlds. We were delighted to be awarded with our blue plaque last year to commemorate John Marshall and the impact he had on the South Bank and Leeds in general.

On my lunch break I walk into the city centre, which is a lovely short walk along the canal and under the arches. There is so much urban wildlife on our doorstep so it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. I have also taken up running recently and the canal is ideal for training as well as being conveniently close to the estate. Leeds has so much to offer so I often browse in the galleries and shops or go over to Kirkgate Market. Afterwards, I meet a friend for a bite to eat in one of the amazing cafes that are situated on the estate. On occasion during a lunch hour, I’ll attend events hosted by our tenants. Our digital and creative community on the South Bank are at the forefront of innovation and often host workshops and seminars that are really insightful.

In the afternoon I continue to arrange and manage the ongoing and upcoming events on the estate, such as professional development workshops, yoga and relaxation classes, charity collections, and food pop-ups. I liaise with stakeholders for the larger seasonal events that we hold at the estate like the charity 10k, tenant summer BBQ, and Halloween extravaganza. The bigger events take all year to plan for a reason – they are so much fun! I really believe that wellbeing is important and giving tenants a chance to unwind is a large part of life at The Round Foundry & Marshall’s Mill. We also like to encourage members of the public to attend and to see what we are all about.

I always take five minutes of an afternoon to take photos of the estate for our Instagram account. I can always find something to photograph and I love to stand back and really appreciate the architecture that gives the area its identity. We get the odd tourist visiting the estate and it makes me feel privileged to work in a building with so much history and heritage whilst also supporting the growth of new and established businesses. Unfortunately, there is a lot of mill space across the country that has fallen into disrepair, so we are lucky that The Round Foundry and Marshall’s Mill has been transformed into such quirky and exciting space whilst still keeping a lot of its original features and charm.

When I have finished at the estate for the day, I head into the city centre again to attend one of the many yoga classes available. After this, I visit one of the city’s cocktail bars to meet with the ‘Buns and Roses’ which is the name of the Leeds City Centre Women’s Institute. I joined when I first moved to Leeds and I didn’t really know anyone, but I feel I have created a life for myself here now. I do love all that Leeds has to offer! After the meeting I’ll head home to feed Trixie and if I have time, I might do a little painting to relax before heading to bed.