Actor hopes to play starring role in the music revival of one of Leeds’ oldest pubs

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A part-time actor whose heart is in the pub trade is hoping to turn around one of the oldest pubs in Leeds.

Mickey Thompson is launching a fundraising bid to restore The Cardigan Arms, in Kirkstall Road, Leeds, to its former glory while using it as a platform for Leeds’ up and coming musicians.

Landlord Mickey Thompson at The Cardigan Arms, which he hopes to revive as a music venue. Picture Tony Johnson.

Landlord Mickey Thompson at The Cardigan Arms, which he hopes to revive as a music venue. Picture Tony Johnson.

The 44-year-old, who has done everything from playing Phil Mitchell’s body double in Eastenders to playing a Death Eater in the Harry Potter films, is hoping to raise £3,000 to fund a new speaker system and a license that will allow more regular music gigs.

Mickey took over the lease at The Cardigan Arms just three months ago and has plans to turn it into the Cardigan Arts Studio music and arts hub while maintaining its role as a traditional pub for locals.

The pub will host a ‘PA Fundraising Weekend’ featuring a psychic night, a comedy, cabaret and live music night and a Leeds Jam Club music networking event from November 28 to 30.

Mickey, who has been acting in small TV and film roles since 2008 alongside running pubs, told the YEP: “The opportunity to resurrect a music venue is too good to be true. I’m a big fan of live music. I’ve put a gig on at The Cockpit and I just want to follow that formula, I just want to get the best up and coming bands – this area’s talent is immense.”



He claims Wakefield indie giants The Cribs played their last gig there as an unsigned band, and those are the days he hopes to bring back. Mickey aims to run 50 live music events at the pub in 2015.

Its top floor is being used as a 70-person capacity live music venue, while Mickey hopes to rent out five rooms as practice suites for bands. He also hopes to turn part of the pub into a ‘live-in’ recording studio where bands can stay over and record music. In addition, the pub hosts vintage and retro gaming events as well as record fairs.

“It’s not just getting a wage out of it, it’s living it,” he said. “I’m a proper pub lover and it’s a good pub, it’s a nice area and the people in here are all unique characters.”

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The origins of the Cardigan Arms date back to the 18th Century, although the current building is largely as it was following redevelopment in the 1890s.

The Grade II listed pub is on the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Inventory of heritage pubs and was one of a trio of local heritage pubs alongside the now closed Queen’s Arms and Rising Sun, which were all designed by Thomas Winn.

Tetleys acquired the Cardigan Arms in 1927 but it has since been in the hands of several pub companies including Punch Taverns, which sold it on to the Spirit Pub Company in 2007.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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