One of Leeds' lost legends of a pub, The Duchess, is back as part of a project exploring the history and future of the public house

It once hosted some of the biggest bands in the world from Oasis to Nirvana and Radiohead.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:45 am

It is now designer clothes shop, Hugo Boss, on Vicar Lane.

But some 21 years later, following its closure in 2000, the Duchess of York is being created in a three day art instillation project as part of the Compass Festival - which for the last ten years has been bringing live art to the city in locations from libraries to shopping centres.

The pop-up will be based in Kirkgate Market until Saturday and has been imagined and brought to life by artists Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti, who are also keen to explore the role that pubs play in the community.

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The interactive pub project has popped up in Kirkgate Market.
The interactive pub project has popped up in Kirkgate Market.

A 12ft x 12ft, four-sided and fully operational pop-up-pub will serve brews and views from across Leeds but, each side of 'The Yorkshire Square' will present a different bar offering multiple ways to explore the past, present and future of Leeds pubs.

The artists are investigating the enduring role of pubs as places of community, intergenerational exchange, entertainment, (hi)story-telling and activism.

The project looks at our ‘third’ space outside of work and home and explores the idea that ‘the pub’ of the future has many faces.

Nearly a quarter of pubs in the UK have closed since 2008, and the future of many more now hangs in the balance following the pandemic and restrictions on hospitality.

Artists Katie Etheridge & Simon Persighetti, made the 12ft x 12ft, four-sided and fully operational pop-up-pub in Leeds Market and sample a pint.

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The Time Bar will enable pub punters to watch and listen to specially recorded interviews on pubs past, present and future; a pint at The Duchess pays homage to the spirit of the former Leeds legend of a venue as well as exploring how pub closures impact on culture and community; the Chameleon Bar serves local hand-crafted ales and craft beer and hosts talks by pub campaigners, brewers activists and heritage researchers; The Third Space is the project info hub, and the place to listen to voices from across Leeds reflecting on the cities varied social and community spaces and what they mean to individuals.

Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti said: "The unprecedented closures of the UK’s already endangered pubs during the pandemic, has highlighted both their fragility and their central place in so many people’s lives. The Yorkshire Square as a meeting place, a talking shop and a heritage hub not only celebrates the role of the pub, past and present, but also looks to the future of these key social landmarks of city, town and village life.

"Project partners Leeds Civic Trust recognise that tomorrows heritage is created by how people live, work and play in the city today, and the Yorkshire Square seeks to inspire more people to appreciate and care about pubs, and to consider ways in which they can help shape the social spaces of tomorrow.

Former Tetley Brewery staff have a pint at The Duchess, part of The Yorkshire Square in Leeds Market.

Having gone through the crisis of the last 18 months there is a sense of re-evaluation in the air and we hope that audiences will leave the Yorkshire Square feeling part of its spirit of conviviality and exchange. Who knows, we might even get some regulars."

Also part of the Compass line-up this year and running at the same time as the pop-up pub is 'Museums in People’s Homes', which will see artist Joshua Sofaer visit households wearing the museum around his body for the artwork comprising of and inspired by the collections of the Leeds based participants.

The Yorkshire Square popped up on July 15 and over the next three days will be open today (Thursday) 11am – 5pm; Friday 11am – 10pm and Saturday, 11am – 5pm.

The Yorkshire Square in Leeds Kirkgate Market.