Share your memories of Leeds floods for new exhibition

The aftermath of the Boxing Day floods at Kirkstall Road. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson.
The aftermath of the Boxing Day floods at Kirkstall Road. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson.
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THE AFTERMATH of the devastating Boxing Day floods saw communities and businesses in Leeds work together to help get the city back on its feet.

Now people in Leeds are being asked to share their photos and memories of the floods for a new exhibition celebrating the city’s community spirit.

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The Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills is calling on residents to help put the exhibition together, which will focus the impact of the floods as well as the clean up effort.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The Boxing Day floods were an unprecedented event for Leeds and it’s fitting that we commemorate the impact they have had.

“Whilst the floods caused a shocking amount of damage and disruption for our businesses and communities, they also showed just how strong, determined and compassionate the people of Leeds are.

“It’s important that we recognise just how pivotal that sense of community spirit and resilience was in helping the city to recover.”

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The Leeds Industrial museum was one of the sites affected by the deluge, with parts of the historic former mill submerged under eight feet of water.

The building, which was once the largest woollen mill in the world, was forced to close for almost three months while staff and volunteers undertook a massive clean-up operation.

Thwaite Mills in Stourton was also extensively damaged, with firefighters called to help secure canal boats on the nearby Thwaite moorings.

Sarah Barton, keeper at both sites, said: “All of us at Leeds Industrial Museum and Thwaite Mills have mixed emotions when we remember the Boxing Day floods.

“Seeing the damage the flood waters caused was devastating as both museums are full of so much local history and are part of the fabric of Leeds.

“But we also have many good memories of the amazing spirit and togetherness staff and volunteers showed as we all pitched in to get the museums up and running again.”

The exhibition will launch at the end of the year to mark the first anniversary of the Boxing Day floods.

GET INVOLVED

Stories and photographs of the Boxing Day floods are being sought by curators for the new exhibition, which will launch at the end of the year to mark the first anniversary of the floods.

Curators are keen to hear from those who were affected and who pitched in to help with the clean up.

Anyone with images or stories that they would like to include in the exhibition can contact Chris Sharp, assistant community curator at Thwaite Mills and Armley Mills, by e-mailing christopher.sharp@leeds.gov.uk.

STILL HOPEFUL: Campaigners from Kirkstall Valley Development Trust at Abbey Milsl in Kirkstall. From left: Fiona Butler, Chris Hill, Paul Holdsworth and Adele Rae.

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