The Promised Land: a photography exhibition

A new exhibition will allow you to experience Leeds at the turn of the 1990s including Leeds Dock, the Royal Armouries Museum and Hunslet Green.

The exhibition features over 100 previously unseen Leeds Development Corporation images and modern-day photography.

Since September 2023, a team of volunteers at Leeds Civic Trust has been cataloguing sites captured in a collection of photo slides given to us by the now defunct Leeds Development Corporation (1988-1995). Our volunteers have identified the locations in over 500 slides and have photographed the sites as they stand today.

Leeds Development Corporation was an agency set up under the Thatcher government to regenerate sites in the city centre and in Kirkstall. The agency by-passed normal planning processes with decisions made by a small group of government appointed directors. Planning approvals were then implemented by Leeds City Council.

In this exhibition, you will see familiar sites such as Brewery Wharf and the Royal Armouries as barren sites under construction. You will also see how historic buildings like the Corn Exchange and the Third White Cloth Hall have changed over the last three decades.

The exhibition runs from Tuesday to Saturday (21-25 May 2024), 10am-4pm, at 2 Brewery Place, LS10 1NE. Entry is free.

Trust Director Martin Hamilton said:

“The Leeds Development Corporation was a controversial organisation, but its impact in the city is still being felt to this day. We are delighted to able to showcase these photos – which have never been on public display and to reflect on how these sites look 30 years on.”

Chairman of Rushbond PLC Jonathan Maud says:

 “We are delighted to be the hosts for this fascinating exhibition. As developers and owners of Brewery Place, one of the schemes originally conceived by the LDC and as a company who was engaged with LDC all those years ago, we are acutely aware of the role this organisation played in making Leeds what it is today.”

Executive Director of Leeds Development Corporation Alan Goodrum says:

“It was a privilege to be part of the Leeds Development Corporation story from start to finish 1988-1995 as Director of Planning. Our maxim was “Making things happen” and we were one of the Michael Heseltine inspired urban development corporations.

“Some 9,000 jobs, 570 new homes and £357m of private investment was created on our watch. A great deal of change took place including the refurbishment of the Corn Exchange, creation of the Royal Armouries, Hunslet Green, and the regeneration of the old power station site at Kirkstall. We ensured there was a photographic record and it is wonderful that Leeds Civic trust have assembled a team of volunteers to catalogue them and put on this exhibition. I hope as many people as possible will visit this showcase of urban regeneration.”

Leeds Civic Trust is grateful for the support of Rushbond PLC who are providing a venue for the exhibition in Brewery Place – once the location of the Tetley Museum, but now a mixed use scheme comprising offices, shops, bars and restaurants.


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

Photo: Leeds Dock before redevelopment


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