New lease of life for Leeds Tetley building

It’s been an iconic building in south Leeds for many years – but now the historic former Tetley Brewery headquarters will have a new lease of life.


Tetleys brewery Leeds
The entrance to the old Tetley’s Brewery in Hunslet. Photograph by Stacey Hicken/

Arts organisation Project Space Leeds [PSL] has been given a major show of confidence in its plans to create a new contemporary visual arts centre for Leeds that will transform the iconic former Tetley Brewery headquarters building into a publicly accessible creative facility, to be named ‘The Tetley’.

A grant of £225,500 capital funding has been awarded by Arts Council England to help convert the ground, first and second floors of the building into high-quality showing spaces, learning and community facilities, event and retail spaces and a cafe/bar.

Project Space Leeds will also look after the Tetley archive and the redevelopment will preserve heritage features such as the original boardroom and war memorials in the building.

Set to open in Autumn 2013, ‘The Tetley’ will create opportunities for artists based in the city and region to develop and show work that will appeal to a wide range of audiences, and artists will be commissioned to create new work as part of the capital refurbishment. 

Work to convert the stunning 1930s building into an inspiring space that is fit for public use began in September 2012, including the refurbishment of the stunning period glass roof and addition of new exterior stairs and a lift. ‘The Tetley’ is a result of strong relationships and investment from the private sector, specifically Carlsberg UKwhich owns the building and has supported its retrofit.

Founded in 2006, Project Space Leeds moved last year from its temporary base in a disused office space at Whitehall Waterfront, where it earned industry acclaim for its programme of contemporary art projects, showing work by artists from the UK and abroad, as well as a reputation for being visionary and tenacious. Now a registered charity, Project Space Leeds, led by two of its founding directors, artist-curators Pippa Hale and Kerry Harker, will be at the heart of a creative renaissance along Leeds’ ‘South Bank’.

Kerry Harker, Director of Project Space Leeds, said:

“For years in Leeds there has been a gap in provision for contemporary visual art and it is fantastic that, at long last, the city will have its own interpretation of brilliantly inspiring, thriving places such as Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and Bristol’s Arnolfini.

“The Arts Council’s funding, added to the tremendous support we have had from Carlsberg UK, puts us on a more sustainable footing which means that we can focus our efforts on creating a centre of excellence for contemporary visual art. We want it to be a first class resource for local people and an important attraction for students and visitors to Leeds.”

Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director of Arts Council England, said:

“Project Space Leeds’ plan for a contemporary visual arts centre in the iconic Tetley Brewery is exciting forLeeds and exciting for the arts. It has the potential to become a major draw for visitors, artists and people living in Leeds and a nationally significant hub for the visual arts. A strong and innovative partnership with Carlsberg UKhas helped make this project a reality and we are pleased to be supporting it with lottery funding.”

A new green space will be created outside the main entrance with imaginative ‘play facilities’ commissioned from artists and an annual programme of outdoor events.

Benet Slay, CEO of Carlsberg UK, said:

“We are pleased to have found such a great use for the building and are delighted to share it with the community of Leeds. The programme will include modernising and improving access to the building and, at the same time, restoring some of the original features, including the central atrium. We are proud that it reflects the history of the building and has a brand image that echoes its art deco styling.”

Details of the exhibitions programme, commissions and events will be announced in spring.

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3 Replies to “New lease of life for Leeds Tetley building”

  1. I’m not sure how to contact the administrators on this site, but I’m trying to get historical stories and anecdotes on the old Tetley brewery and its employees. Is this something I can get help with on this site?
    Thanks in advance.
    Rebecca Watts

    1. Rebecca, This sounds an interesting project. If you would like us to run a story about your project and/or asking for people to get in touch, please email the details to and we’ll take from there.

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