Leeds nostalgia: City’s historic sites throw open their door to visitors

Stank Hall.
Stank Hall.
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ALMOST 90 venues normally closed to the public will be on display for the whole of this weekend as part of an annual heritage open days event.

Leeds Civic Trust, with the support of Leeds City Council, has been successful in encouraging the owners, managers and guardians of historic buildings, green and hidden spaces, libraries, museums and places of worship to show them off free of charge. It is one of the country’s largest Heritage Open Days events.



Experts and knowledgeable volunteers will be giving special presentations, leading walks and tours, introducing people to aspects of the city’s heritage rarely accessible to the public, including some behind-the-scenes tours.

The series of open days began on Thursday this week but will continue until Sunday.

Lynda Kitching, chair of Leeds Civic Trust said: “Once again, so many volunteers, building owners and organisations have responded to our call to become involved in Heritage Open Days. It is a great opportunity to show off the fantastic, varied heritage throughout the Leeds area. With 90 events, I believe everyone will find something of interest during the four days.”

Guided walks: there’ll be guided walks along the city centre Waterfront, following the ‘Blue Plaques’ trail, two around Leeds University’s campus – showing its architecture and public art, whilst in the suburbs and outer towns, you can learn about Shadwell, Wetherby, Guiseley, Clifford, Rothwell, Morley and walk along Woodhouse Ridge and Roundhay Park’s Geology Trail. There’ll be tours of Beckett Street, Holbeck and Lawnswood cemeteries with their fascinating stories of Leeds people.

Exhibitions, Books and Archives: see how the city centre has changed over the last 50 years, likewise in Yeadon and Seacroft. Reminisce at the displays on show in Wortley and at the M&S Archive.

Discover some fascinating books with access to the special collections of the Brotherton Library, Leeds Central and Armley libraries. Be amazed at records of Fountains Abbey at the West Yorkshire Archive HQ in Morley and those poignant pictures at the High Royds Memorial Chapel.

Family events: there’ll be plenty to entertain youngsters at the Grand Arcade Street Party, the Grand Theatre and St John’s Church Farsley, in Otley at both the Courthouse and the White House where the Chevin sheep will be waiting! Check out Fulneck’s Moravian Settlement, the M&S Archive and Leeds Museums’ Discovery Centre.

Places of Worship: from Saxon times to the 20th century, Leeds has a fantastic range of places of worship – with wonderful architecture, music, information about local areas and children’s trails of discovery. With Grade 1-listed Parish Churches, a Quaker Meeting House, a Mosque, plus Catholic, Baptist, Unitarian and Methodist churches, there’s much to discover.

Houses and Villas: impressive Gotts Park Mansion and Oulton Hall will show off their grandeur

Industrial Heritage: a fascinating area of Leeds life, - visit the Railway Roundhouse, the massive Walking Dragline and the Tetley, Sunny Bank Mills and Temple Work, not to mention Stank Hall Barn, the city’s oldest building.

Full details can be found at: www.heritageopendays.org.uk.

0113 243 9594