SPECTACULAR displays of floral art will add a contemporary twist to this weekend’s celebrations to mark the 175th anniversary of Leeds Minster.
A team of 20 volunteers spent two days installing the floral creations for the FloraLeodis display, which will be on show at Leeds Minster on Kirkgate in Leeds city centre until Monday.
Rector of Leeds Rev Canon Sam Corley, said: “Traditionally, people have an image of what a flower festival will be like. This is very different.
“They are contemporary and vibrant and reflect the fact that this is a living church and reflect the vibrancy of the church.
“We are hoping for a weekend of celebration, of people coming in to the minster for the first time and enjoying what they discover.
“It is a place with a huge history, but the challenge for us is how to be credible and relevant in a modern, vibrant city.”
Catherine Gledhill and Judy Watker, of York-based New Dimensions Contemporary Flower Group, spent months designing The FloraLeodis displays.
A team of 20 ladies from the group spent two days setting up the displays in Leeds Minster ahead of this weekend’s celebrations.
Mrs Gledhill said: “We wanted the enhance the beautiful colours of the minster, in particular the stained glass.”
Mrs Watker said: “It’s an innovative and different concept for church flowers and I’m confident people will really enjoy it and, hopefully, be inspired.
Canon Corley said people have worshipped at the Leeds Minster site for 1,300 years.
He said: “There have been four churches here on this site, but originally people would have met in the open air.
“This site is the birthplace of the city. It was the place in the valley next to the river where people first gathered to meet and worship.
“Kirkgate is the oldest street in Leeds. There was a medieval church here before, which was demolished in 1837. This building was built on the footprint of the medieval church and opened in 1841.
“It was the largest church to have been built since Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral in London, so it was a massive deal at the time.”
“It is an important milestone, but we are also celebrating the retirement of Dr Simon Lindley as master of music.
“He has been here since 1975 so has given 41 years of distinguished service to the minster and the city. On Saturday at 4pm we have a service celebrating the anniversary, but also marking his retirement.”
Canon Corley added: “The church is known nationally for its musical heritage and Simon has been significant in maintaining and preserving that legacy.
“He has other roles in the city. He is city organist at the town hall and director of the St Peter’s Singers and he will continue those roles.
“We will miss him, but are pleased he is still around and wish him well for the future.”
Minster warden Trevor Parker, who helped organise this weekend’s FloraLeodis event, said: “The floral displays are more like works of art to reflect the history of the church. A number of the displays pick out the colours of the stained glass. The displays are breathtaking, they are really stunning.”
– Dr Walter Farquhar Hook launched a campaign of reform and reconstruction of the dilapidated 14th Century Leeds Parish Church when he was elected Vicar of Leeds in 1837.
He instigated the rebuilding of his church to the design of Robert Chantrell and construction was carried out from 1839 to 1841 at a cost of £29,770.
At the time of its consecration on September 2 1841, Leeds Parish Church was the largest new church to be built in England since Sir Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral of 1707.
Florence Nightingale was among distinguished guests at the consecration ceremony. Composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley played the organ at the event..