Photo flashback reveals day Leeds folk used their loaf to welcome upper crust visitor

A remarkable image captured more than 120 years ago has revealed the bizarre day Leeds residents constructed a huge archway from bread to welcome an esteemed aristocrat.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 10:23 am
PIC: Leeds Libraries,
PIC: Leeds Libraries,

The half-baked idea is just one of thousands of the city’s unique stories ready to be discovered in the newly-relaunched Leodis photo archive manged by the Leeds Libraries


Taken in 1894, the photo shows the enormous arch made from a staggering 1,500 loaves of bread which was created along Commercial Street in the city centre

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Residents built the arch to welcome George V, then Duke of York, to the city and a day later the stale loaves were distributed to the poor.

The picture has been pulled from Leeds Libraries’ popular online photographic archive leodis.netVisitors get the chance to access the new improved website from today (March 31).

They can browse over 62,000 images dating from 1866, which have been preserved by Leeds Libraries and other organisations, including many donated by the public.

Since Louis Le Prince filmed the first ever moving pictures on Leeds Bridge in 1888, local people have been capturing unique images of their daily lives, and many survive today on


Searching by keyword or date, users can research their family history or learn more bout the city’s past through a huge range of photographs, from transformed streets to

images of local communities.

Thousands of pictures include faces from the past, from WW1 female factory workers from the Barnbow No 1 National Filling Factory, to rare snapshots of the gypsy and traveller

community and residents captured in photographs of ‘slum’ clearances taken by the City Engineers from the 1890s to 1960s.

Leodis has also become a unique repository for Leeds social history since launching in 1999.

More than 40,000 comments added by the public build a tapestry of Leeds memories. Leodis brings together local collections originally held by local libraries, as well as hosting collections from other local organisations, including your YEP, Leeds Civic Trust, The Thoresby Society, Leeds Museums and Galleries and West Yorkshire Archive Service.

Once filed away by card index, the images are now available to people across the world, and prints can be ordered from £11.67.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “Leodis is far more than an archive, it’s a powerful living record of day to day life in Leeds

from the 1860s onwards.

"As we emerge from Covid-19, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the city we live in, and if you’re not already online to take up the digital skills training offered by Leeds Libraries. We hope residents will continue to be inspired by the website and share images or memories.”


A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890. We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

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Thank you

Laura Collins