Leeds nostalgia: Walking through city’s rich history

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Leeds Civic Trust has announced an event-packed schedule of city centre summer supper walks.

If it sounds like the kind of thing most well-to-do people with an hour or two to spare now and then might enjoy, then you’d be absolutely right. What’s more, it ends with supper.

The series of guided walks around Victorian and Edwardian Leeds, will begin on May 15 with a look at the area around the Corn Exchange, Boar Lane and City Square.

Trust director Dr Kevin Grady said: “The summer walks programme will be really enjoyable, each walk will be followed by supper back at the Trust’s headquarters in The Calls.”

There will be five guided walks in all, each lasting about an hour-and-a-half.

Victorian Leeds, Wednesday May 15, 7pm.

This walk will explore the great Victorian buildings and streets of the city centre—the Corn Exchange, Boar Lane, City Square, Park Row, the Town Hall, the Municipal Buildings, and the Victorian arcades.

Edwardian Leeds, Tuesday, May 21, 7pm

Leeds city centre was transformed in the late 19th century and above all in the first decade of the 20th century.

Around one-fifth of the city centre was rebuilt in flamboyant style, producing some of the city’s greatest buildings, including Kirkgate Market, the County Arcade and great terracotta buildings such as the Liberal Club and the Metropole Hotel.

City Square was created and much of Vicar Lane, Briggate, Duncan Street, East Parade were impressively rebuilt. This walk will provide a fascinating insight into this amazing development.

Holbeck Urban Village, Thursday June 6, 7pm

This walk around the cradle of the Industrial Revolution in Leeds will uncover the wonderful industrial heritage of Holbeck – the famous Egyptian Temple Mill, the Italianate Tower Works, and Matthew Murray’s Round Foundry and its imaginative transformation into an ‘urban village’.


The transformation of the city centre waterfront in the last 15 years has been amazing.

This walk will introduce people to the fine waterfront heritage, as well as the major changes of recent years.

People who have not visited the waterfront recently, will be astonished by the changes.

MUSICAL LEEDS, Tuesday, June 25, 7pm

This walk will take a sideways look at the musical associations of the city centre.

Splendid balls were held in the Georgian Assembly Rooms; the Singing Room at the Scarbrough Hotel tried out acts for City Varieties; Franz Liszt gave a virtuoso performance at the Music Hall in Albion Street.

The Leeds Musical Festivals at the Town Hall boasted Sir Arthur Sullivan and Dvorak. There were even plans to turn the Corn Exchange into a concert hall.

Dr Grady said he hoped the walks would prove interesting.

He said: “Leeds city centre is a remarkable place and these guided supper walks will be a real eye-opener, revealing its fascinating history and architecture.

“Our Musical Leeds walk will provide a quirky sideways look at the city centre, while the Edwardian walk will highlight the amazing building boom between 1895 and 1910 when one-fifth of the city centre was rebuilt in a wonderful flamboyant style.

“The walks will provide tremendous enjoyment and our guides are proud to show off the city.”

The price of the walks is £10, which includes supper afterwards.

Supper Walks need to be booked in advance. Anyone wishing to book for a walk should telephone Leeds Civic Trust office on 0113 2439594.

Stephen Blake of the CMA  Photo: Vikki Ellis

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