Leeds Freedom Bridge project completed

A railway bridge that passes over Leeds's gay quarter has been given a vibrant makeover to celebrate diversity.
The Leeds Freedom Bridge passes over Lower Briggate (Joe Burke)The Leeds Freedom Bridge passes over Lower Briggate (Joe Burke)
The Leeds Freedom Bridge passes over Lower Briggate (Joe Burke)

Contractors have now finished painting the Lower Briggate bridge in the rainbow colours of the Freedom Flag.

Network Rail, local LGBT campaigner Thomas Wales and Leeds City Council all collaborated on the project, and work began last September to coincide with planned maintenance work on the structure.

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The new look was unveiled in time for Valentine's weekend in an area of the city home to several LGBT bars and venues.

Network Rail area director Neil Henry said:

“Work at the bridge on Lower Briggate forms part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We’re delighted that our stakeholders want the bridge to become an iconic one for the city and were more than happy to have worked with them on the new colour scheme.”

Campaigners hope that the bridge will act as a welcoming gateway to Leeds, symbolising freedom for visitors.

Thomas Wales, who decided to pursue the idea after seeing raindow-themed street signs in Liverpool back in 2012, added:

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“Each colour represents something different, from life and harmony to nature and spirit. It is also a scheme that has been adopted internationally to celebrate freedom in sexuality and gender identity in our city. It is destined to become a landmark we can all be proud of.”

Coun Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive member for culture, said:

“This bridge represents a tremendous show of support for the city’s LGBT community. Not only will the Leeds Freedom Bridge be an eye-catching addition to what is already a lively and electric part of Leeds, it will also make a huge statement to our many visitors, that here, we embrace and celebrate diversity and the contribution it makes to ensuring Leeds is such a warm, welcoming and successful city.”