Leeds Civic Trust
Favorite thing: Leeds Civic Trust is a voluntary organisation who promotes and celebrates the City of Leeds for its visitors and residents with it's "live, work, play" motto through its conservation and heritage.
Leeds Civic Trust works collectively with public and private sectors alongside local civic and societies who share similar ideals to the Trust.
Trust membership is available to all and you can find out further information about the membership and Leeds heritage in general via the
website. The trust also produces and sells publication about the city.
- Historical Travel
Your First Point of Call!
Favorite thing: The Leeds Visitors Centre offers a comprehensive service to visitors and residents and should be one's first point of call on arrival to Leeds. The centre can able to book accommodation; advise on transportion including tickets and passes; book theatre tickets and city events (acts as an authorised agent); and sells a wide range of souvenirs including post cards. The centre has an abundance of information where to visit locally and regionally (mainly Yorkshire). The centre is always friendly and helpful whenever I make enquiries about events locally and if I need to obtain contact details for future travels.
Do check the Visitors Centre website where you can obtain further information about visiting Leeds.
The postal address is:
Leeds Visitor Centre
PO Box 244
LEEDS LS1 1PL
Tel: 0113 242 5242
The Sisters Of Mercy
Favorite thing: There are a lot of things that have comefrom Leeds, some good and some bad but the greatest and best of them all has to be the band The Sisters Of Mercy that was formed in Leeds in 1979 to 1980 by Andrew Eldritch and Gary Marx and a single "Damage Done/Watch/Home of the Hit-men" was recorded and released.
In 1981 The band regrouped with Craig Adams on bass and Eldritch who originaly had played the drums became the lead singer with drums being taken over by Doktor Avalanche, a drum machine, that over the years and various make overs and maybe the odd replacement partis still going strong. Andrew Eldritch took over the lyric writing as well as Doktor programming, and record producing duties but sharing the music-writing with Gary Marx and occasionally Craig Adams. The Doktor/Eldritch/Marx/Adams incarnation of the band playing a gig in the Riley Smith Hall of the Leeds University Union building in early 1981 (said to be the 16th of february1981) Later in 1981, Ben Gunn established himself as the second guitarist .
The band's singles were regularly featured in UK independent charts.
In 1984 Ben Gunn was replaced by Wayne Hussey an excellent guitarist who concentrated on 12 string electric and acoustic guitars while also contributing as a songwriter.
Following the release of the First and Last and Always Album Gary Marx left the band in mid tour and shortly after the tour Eldritch relocated to Hamburg whilst Hussey and Adams announced their decision to split off to form their own group (The Mission)
Left to his own devices, Andrew Eldritch recorded the Floodland album on 13 November 1987, and made a move away from guitar based music towards an atmospheric keyboard oriented explorations that he had pioneered in Gift, The Album produced under the name The Sisterhood, a band quickly formed to stop Hussey and Adams using the name.
The New album was produced by Eldritch and Larry Alexander, with contributions from Jim Steinman on two of the songs.
Patricia Morrison was recruited (she had also worked with Eldritch in The Sisterhood) and she apppeard on the Videos from The Floodland album but the band did not play live during this period.
The next incarnation of The Sisters of Mercy featured an unknown German guitarist, Andreas Bruhn, controversial bassist Tony James (ex-Sigue Sigue Sputnik guitarist) and Tim Bricheno ( formerly of All About Eve) on guitars. This new line up kicked off with the Vision Thing album which was released on 22 October 1990
Various arguments and legal argumentation caused a fall out with their record company and since then no more songs have been released and the band although still writing songs excists a touring outfit with current members being Andrew Eldritch, Doktor Avalanche (and his Nurse), Chris Catalyst and Ben Christo.
- Arts and Culture
What is that smell?
Favorite thing: If you find yourself around Brewery Wharf or the Armouries, you may wonder what the smell is. It isn't always there, but when it is you cannot miss it. The smell comes from the Tetley Brewery close by. It doesn't smell of beer to me, but that is what it is. We live close by, so we do smell it a lot.
- Arts and Culture
You never know what the weather might do next
Favorite thing: I see quite a few questions on the forums regarding the weather in the UK, We don't seem to have seasons as such. I am sure that we did when I was a child, but is that because I can only remember the sunny days or have the seasons changed. I am writing this on the 31st July, you think that it would be sunny. No. it is raining. At least the humidity has come down.
My boyfriend tried sitting outside one of the bars near us on Tuesday afternoon. Glorious sunshine, then rain and then blue sky and sunshine, then rain followed by more sunshine. We gave up and went home.
Be prepared, at the very least carry an umbrella. And/or wait around for a while under shelter.
Fondest memory: We do get sunny days sometimes.
- Arts and Culture
Where to leave your bag
Favorite thing: If you just want to spend a single day in Leeds, you are surely looking for a place to leave your bag. The bus and coach station at Dyer St. doesn't have such facilities anymore. There is a luggage storage desk at the central train station which opens at 7:00 a.m.
Fondest memory: When I arrived in Leeds at 4.45 a.m., this was my first problem. I expected automated lockers like the ones I know from Germany or the Netherlands. Maybe this was due to the terrorist threat. So my choice was to wait for the desk to open or to walk around with a heavy backpack...
- Budget Travel
City centre shopping
Favorite thing: Definitely shopping! Leeds has all the top names such as Harvey Nichols and has lots of covered shopping areas. These range from modern malls to wonderful Victorian arcades.
Shopping centres can also be found out of town, the best being the White Rose Centre - which is easily accessible via the M62 and M1/M621.
A major plus for Leeds is much of the centre is pedestrianised.
Experience the city in 360º
Favorite thing: I would invite any visitor to take a look at the VR Leeds website for a full virtual tour of the City.
Fondest memory: If I miss the city I can always logon to www.vrleeds.co.uk and see hundreds of images, including live web cam images from the city centre.
Visit Millennium Square....
Favorite thing: Visit Millennium Square. Millennium Square was Leeds' flagship project to mark the year 2000. The £12m project was funded by Leeds City Council and the Millennium Commission, turning what was the old Mandela Gardens and a nondescript car park into one of Europe's most impressive civic spaces and the city's first new public square in over 60 years.
Opened in December 2000, Millennium Square incorporates three squares within one - the main central square (the events arena), a linked space to the northeast and a new garden and fountain area to the south. The Square forms the heart of an emergent civic quarter, with cultural, leisure and residential components.
The 4,500m2 Square will play host to events throughout the year, linking in to the promotion of Leeds as shopping and leisure destination, adding much to the cultural life of the city. Events already planned include big name live music concerts, community events, international street theatre, commercial events and even an ice rink.
Much of what makes Millennium Square special is hidden away underground. Designed by Leeds City Architect John Thorp, Millennium Square has been built with equipment such as staging, lighting and lasers, public toilets, PA system, power supply and even dressing rooms included, making it the most technologically advanced outdoor events space in the world.
Millennium Square can accommodate events both large and small, of up to 7,000 people, making it the largest permanent events venue in the area.
Work commenced on site in November 1999 and was the biggest city centre construction project seen in Leeds since the Headrow was developed in the 1930s. When the adjoining commercial developments are complete in summer 2002, an estimated £27m will have been invested in and around Millennium Square.
Many of the impressive buildings that surround the site are also getting a new lease of life, following many years of dereliction and decay.
It is proposed that the Electric Press, a former printworks and Stansfield Chambers, a former carriage manufactory will, by summer 2002 become home to a vibrant mix of retaurants, cafés retail space and a 3-screen arthouse cinema set around an impressive glazed courtyard.
On the northern side of the Square the Broderick Café Terrace includes a Hobgoblin Café Bar, the fast growing chain's first North of England outlet. The café bar opened in April 2001 and features an impressive new alfresco eating and drinking space that overlooks the Square. Above the bar are two floors of luxury apartments.
Many of the impressive civic buildings that surround the Square have also been given a new look after dark with an integrated lighting scheme which enhances both the historic and new architecture.
Millennium Square, in addition to playing host to a vibrant and exciting programme of events, is also an oasis of calm in the heart of the city.
Landscaping includes 1,500 shrubs and over 80 trees, including 24 mobile planters, specially designed to be moved to accommodate events.
At the southern end of the Square a new garden and fountain area has been created to renew an original dedication to Nelson Mandela.
The new Mandela Gardens includes a cascading water feature and a 16ft high bronze sculpture by the internationally renowned Leeds-born sculptor Kenneth Armitage.
Further pieces of public art around Millennium Square include two pairs of Portland Stone obelisks upon which the famous Leeds art deco owls sit proudly overlooking the Square. A 15m high service tower will be clad with a sculpture conceived by sculptor Richard Wilson. The eliptical tower not only serves a practical purpose by providing a sound and lighting control facility at events, its 'rugby ball shape forms a distinctive and striking gateway feature to the Square.
Understand the history of...
Favorite thing: Understand the history of Leeds -
In about 730, Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiatical History gives the following quotation about events in A.D.627:
'In the place of which the later kings built themselves a COUNTRY-SEAT in the Country called LOIDIS [LEEDS]. But the altar, being of stone, escaped the fire and is still preserved in the monastery of the most reverend abbot and priest, Thridwulf, which is in Elsiete wood.'
The name Loidis was applied to the district not to a single place or settlement, and this is confirmed by two names, Ledsham and Ledston, containing the same element. These two villages are about ten miles from the city of Leeds. This then became Leodis, then Ledes, then Leeds.
Natives of Leeds are known as 'Loiners', there are various theories as to the origin of the term, none of which are definitive. Loiner could derive from the name Loidis as above, another explanation is a Loiner is someone born within the sound of the church bells of Briggate. In the 19th century there were many yards and closes around Briggate whose back entrances were known as 'Low Ins' or 'Loins' hence 'Loiner'. Another theory is that there were a number of lanes in the Briggate area pronounced 'loins'. Men who gathered at the lane end to gossip etc. were 'Loiners'.
Ledes was also mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. The centre of the town was initially a cluster of buildings near the parish church of St Peter. In 1207 a new town was founded by the Lord of the Manor, Maurice Paynel between the parish church and the corn mills, at the river crossing. Its spine was a new road, Briggate, the road leading to the bridge. The common spelling became Leedes, for example, the first map of Leeds by John Cossins in 1725 was titled, 'A New and Exact Plan of the Town of Leedes' .
The movement of the cloth market from the bridge into Briggate itself in 1684 created the core of the modern city of Leeds. The population grew from 10,000 at the end of the seventeenth century to 30,000 at the end of the eighteenth. With its churches, chapels and meeting houses, Assembly Rooms, Infirmary and its new Cloth Halls, Leeds became one of the busiest and most prosperous urban centres in the north of England.
The Industrial Revolution set Leeds off at a gallop. The population grew to over 150,000 by 1840 and the place was transformed. Not only was it a centre of marketing and manufacture, it was also the centre of a network of communications, especially by water. In 1699 the Aire and the Calder rivers were made navigable, linking Leeds with the Ouse, Humber and the sea. In 1816 the great Leeds to Liverpool canal, a coast to coast link passing through Leeds, was completed.
In such a situation, Leeds was ideally situated for the development of an engineering industry - making machinery for spinning, machine tools, steam engines and gears as well as other industries based on textiles, chemicals and leather and pottery. Coal was extracted on a large scale and the still functioning Middleton Railway, the first commercial railway in the world, transported coal into the centre of Leeds.
The Leeds Rifles were raised in 1859 when the Volunteer Force was formed to meet an invasion threat from France. The Corps was titled 7th Yorkshire, West Riding, (Leeds) Rifle Volunteer Corps. Many prominent Leeds businesses raised complete companies from their workforces, including Joshua Tetley's brewery. The Tetley family played a central part in the Leeds Rifles for well over a century providing a number of officers, commanding officers and honorary colonels. The Leeds Rifles at first had their barracks next to the Town Hall where the Law Courts stand today. For a more detailed account see The Leeds Rifles (external site).
Leeds became a city in 1893. With elaborate new public buildings like the Public Library and the General Post Office and with its famous arcades threading through the blocks on either side of the main streets, it was possibly the best at that time.
By the end of the Great War, the industrial and social structure of Leeds had already begun to change. Such a vital and thriving city had to become a centre of study and teaching. The Yorkshire College of Science and the Medical School were merged to form the University in 1904. The corporation established Colleges of Technology, Art, Commerce and Education, which were later to be fused into the Polytechnic, which in 1993 became Leeds Metropolitan University.
The hospitals, especially the Infirmary and St James Hospital, established international reputations as major medical centres. The town centre became a commercial centre for retailing and offices and now can claim to be the commercial capital of the North.
Since the Second World War and more particularly since the fifties, another transformation occurred, namely the rebuilding of the city. Tens of thousands of slum dwellings were replaced by modern housing estates which have now earned Leeds the accolade of Environment City of the UK and Leeds pioneered the Buchan principles of planning for the motor car and pedestrian.
Leeds stands today as a city of regional, national and international importance. With its rich history, diverse economy, enterprising people and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Leeds looks set to continue its success story well into the future.
hayward68's General Tip
Fondest memory: I went to Leeds to spend time with my aunt and uncle who were on holiday there. Two of my cousins live in Leeds with their families and this was the first time I would meet them.
This pic is my cousin Angela and her son David, and the cat :)
try to go at the time of PARTY...
Favorite thing: try to go at the time of PARTY IN THE PARK. Leeds hosts this great music festival which features about 20 of the lastest artists. Last year, it was really sunny and it sounded like the most amazing afternoon, sitting in the sun listening to the bands.
Leeds, despite being a big...
Favorite thing: Leeds, despite being a big city with a large population, is beautiful. There are lots of parks around the city and its outskirts. Golden Acre Park is about six miles north west of the centre of Leeds at Bramhope on the A660 Otley Road. There's also the Canal Gardens where you can see lots of different, beautiful flowers. There's also Middleton Park, Roundhay Park and many more.
SusanneBeck's General Tip
Fondest memory: Visiting Leeds Metropolitan University.This was a great university. The staff were friendly and genuinely seemed to care. There was a fun atmosphere and lots of things on offer to do in your free time. The student union looked great and the university looked really nice.
The most impressive things...
Favorite thing: The most impressive things about Leeds are it's shopping and nightlife, you cannot pass on either.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Leeds is having an all day birthday celebration at Mojo cocktail bar in Leeds, not that I can remember much of it.
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