Leeds nostalgia: History of ‘lost trades’ on show in Leeds

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Leeds Museums and Galleries’ are home to over a million objects with collections including anthropology, archaeology, costume and textiles, decorative and fine arts, natural sciences, numismatics and social and industrial history.

The size and significance of their outstanding collections means that they frequently receive requests from all around the world to borrow objects. Leeds Museums & Galleries are dedicated to sharing collections both internationally and locally, which means their objects are shown in broad variety of exciting exhibitions every year.

This knife grinder’s cart, dating from the 1920s-30s is part of the Leeds Museums & Galleries artefact store, and it is available to view on Thursdays, from 11am-2pm.

The museum says: “The lives of these street traders, eking out a precarious living in filthy and polluted streets, are almost unimaginable to us now. Yet they were such integral part of the fabric of 18th, 19th and early 20th century cities that fresh representations are still appearing, such as in this year’s Mary Poppins Returns.

“By researching and discussing these professions, we can keep alive the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people who left almost no material legacy of their own.

“To most of us, street vendors are an inherent aspect of Victorian Britain, familiar from Oliver Twist and My Fair Lady. But the sheer scale of the phenomenon, and many of the individual trades which were once widely practiced, are often forgotten.”