Leeds’s largest free heritage festival launches on Friday

Heritage Open Days is the country’s largest free heritage festival, with over 5,000 events held annually. This year’s festival runs between the 11-19 September 2020. Leeds Civic Trust is proud to be the local coordinator for the city.

This year, the festival will be going ‘digital’ for the first time in its 25 year history enabling more people than ever to participate in virtual walks, talks and tours. With over 50 events happening here in Leeds, there really is something for everyone, all from the comfort of your own home.

Of interest in South Leeds, you can watch a short film: ‘Hidden by Nature – the lost Ice House in Middleton Park‘. Leeds Young Archaelogists Club enthusiastically share their excitement of discovering and sharing the history on their doorstep.

One of the few live events will be Middleton Railway‘s contribution. This Sunday their services will be pulled by a heritage diesel engine – LMS 7051 running as ‘John Alcock’ (pictured) and the following week will see both of their vintage Hudswell Clarke locos in action, Mary and Carroll will be double heading all day on Sunday 20 September. Tickets can be booked using this link, or you can call 07931 778843.

And an online talk entitled ‘The End of an Era – a history of mining in Leeds‘ is bound to cover the pits of Beeston, Belle Isle and Middleton amongst others in the city.

As the local Heritage Open Days coordinator, the Leeds Civic Trust has been amazed at the response of volunteers, local historians, creatives and guides to take the challenges posed during these last few months to devise an exciting, thoughtful and imaginative programme of events.

Leeds Civic Trust’s Development and Engagement Manager, Meleri Roberts, said;

“As Loiners, we have a rich story to share, and Heritage Open Days is an opportunity like no other to explore and showcase our city.

“Each Heritage Open Days event is free, and has been carefully designed, researched, and lovingly curated by a passionate and dedicated team of volunteers, we can’t thank them enough for keeping this year’s show on the road.”

Some other festival highlights include;

Take a virtual walk along the city’s Aire & Calder Navigation and discover how public art is livening up our towpaths, as tour guide, Roderic Parker invites you to explore the history and continued legacy of the city’s waterways.

Or perhaps maps are more your thing? We’ve teamed up with @workerslunchtime to turn the city’s billposter spots into the largest open-air gallery in Britain as you are invited to explore large scale maps of the city’s past and not-so-present.

Go time traveling and discover the atmospheric and murky gas lit streets of the 1830’s, as Dr Kevin Grady takes you on a virtual tour of our city on the cusp of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Come back to the present day with a calming and mindful ten minutes with the beautiful sounds of the Leeds Festival Chorus, or relax with a soothing poetry recital in the care of Trio Literati.

If you are interested in industrial or social history, Dr Emma Storrs talk will transport you to the noisy and unsanitary factories and mills of the 19th century as she investigates child health with her ‘Factories and Fevers’ talk.

For those of us with a sense of sartorial elegance, you may fancy finding out more about Montague Burton, as Jackie Lawrence brings to life his incredible journey, fleeing the anti-Semitic Russian Pogroms and rising to own one of Leeds’s most successful tailoring businesses, employing thousands.

And that’s before we even begin to tell you about the histories of Bramley, Morley, Parlington, and Adel, and many more.

All events are free and can be accessed by visiting www.heritageopendays.org.uk


This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds Civic Trust