Heritage days will open doors to Leeds’s history

PART OF THE LEEDS STORY: An artists impression of the original M&S Penny Bazaar in Leeds.
PART OF THE LEEDS STORY: An artists impression of the original M&S Penny Bazaar in Leeds.
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Historical treasures across the city will be revealed to the public next month as part of a nationwide celebration of history and culture.

The annual Heritage Open Days, organised by the National Trust, takes place from September 7 to 10 and this year focuses on hidden stories and historical secrets from thousands of towns, villages and regions across the country.

At Leeds Hindu Temple in Hyde Park , Chiragi Solanki and Jyoti Bhawanji prepare for Diwali

At Leeds Hindu Temple in Hyde Park , Chiragi Solanki and Jyoti Bhawanji prepare for Diwali

In Leeds, there will be over 70 free activities and events for families to explore across the four days.

Highlights include the chance to examine the findings of the archaeological dig which happened underneath what is now Victoria Gate Shopping Centre.

The artefacts - which included skeletons, wooden bobbins and the floor of a swimming pool - will be showcased at East Street Arts, on Vicar Lane, on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10, from 11am to 4pm.

History fans can also take a walk of faith around the city’s old and new religious buildings including the United Hebrew Congregation Synagogue with its artwork of ceramic poppies, previously displayed at the Tower of London.

Leeds's Victoria Gate shopping centre.

Leeds's Victoria Gate shopping centre.

Also opening their doors will be the Hindu Mandhir Temple on Alexandra Road and The Church of St John the Evangelist, the oldest in the city with its Jacobean wooden carvings and brightly painted angels.

The University of Leeds is hosting a special film featuring vintage footage of Marks and Spencer, telling the 133-year story from market stall in Leeds to global retailer.

Leeds’s love of Handel will be explored at Holy Trinity Church where the composer’s work has always played a big role from fundraising concerts to festivals of Handel’s music.

Players of wind instruments of all ages will be able to join together in a mini concert of some of the most recognisable pieces by Handel on Saturday September 9 from 2-4pm.

Annie Reilly, manager of Heritage Open Days, which this year received funding from People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “With so many free activities to take part in, Heritage Open Days is a great opportunity to seek out and celebrate the history and cultural traditions on our own doorstep.”

To search all events in Leeds, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk.

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