I regularly go walking around Eccup Reservoir situated in Alwoodley in North Leeds. It was constructed in 1843 and subsequently expanded to 91 hectares at the end of the 19th Century. It is West Yorkshire's largest area of water and Yorkshire Water, a local water treatment company, owns the reservoir.
The area including the woodlands is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is known for its growing population of red kits. The circular trailaround the lake are popular for walkers and runners alike and a number of people take their dogs for a walk there.
Address: Alwoodley, North Leeds
Directions: Can be accessed from Alwoodley Lane through Sand Moor Golf Course off the A61 (I usually get off the bus further (just the stop after the Leeds Grammar School) to access the reservoir.
- Hiking and Walking
Booking tickets for a recent Nils Lofgren concert, I was amused to find that the venue - City Varieties, was the location from where 'The Good Old Days' was filmed - a BBC TV programme that I seem to remember enduring during the 1970's - Based on a Victorian Music Hall, the audience and Acts, dressed in Victorian/Edwardian costume and Oooooh and Aaaaaaaed at each word ennunciated by the actor Leonard Sachs, as he introduced each act with ever increasing flowery prose. Larry Grayson, Ken Dodd, Les Dawson, Arthur Askey and Tessie O'Shea were the performers that I seem to recall. The show ended each week with the audience joining in a rendition of 'Down at The Old Bull and Bush .... bush ..bush!
This was also the venue for the ITV programme 'Junior Showtime', another programme that I 'endured'
This theatre is a lovingly restored example of a Victorian Music Hall. It dates back to 1865, and was constructed as an extension to the music room of the adjacent White Swan Inn (which was built in 1748) Harry Houdini appeared here in 1904. Other well known artistes included Lilly Langtry, who was rumoured to be the mistress of King Edward V11, and it is possible that he came to Leeds to see her perform. Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy also trod the boards here!
to be continued - more info and photos to come soon
Address: Swan St, Leeds LS1 6LW
Directions: Off Briggate in City Centre
CLICK FOR MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Phone: 0845 644 1881
Website: https://www.cityvarieties.co.ukRelated to:
- Theater Travel
- Historical Travel
Thackray Medical Museum is housed in a building what was the Leeds Union Workhouse. The Leeds Union Workhouse, for poor and homeless people, first opened in 1861 and the building expanded with extensions including a hospital.
Eventually Workhouses had become unpopular and Leeds Union Workhouse Infirmary was renamed St James's Hospital. In 1948 the hospital became part of the National Health Service. It ceased becoming a hospital so the listed building housed the Thackray Museum in 1997.
I haven't visited the museum and there are no plans to because of the extortionate admission fee. However the museum is popular and I'm sure its worth a visit. Further information about the museum can be found here.
Address: Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7LN
Directions: On Beckett Street, adjacent to St James's Hospital and across from the cemetery.
Phone: 0113 244 4343
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Family Travel
I lived in Leeds most of my life and this is a park I yet haven't been to! I recently had the opportunity to finally visit this park in South Leeds. It is a municipal park owned by the Council with its visitors centre and cafe which is run by volunteers of The Friends of Middleton Park. They also maintain and care for the park itself.
I entered from Town Street, where the main entrance is, and first visited the Visitors Centre where I got more information about the park and got myself a coffee. The park offers a number of trails and I opted for the Ecology Trail which took me to the park's flora and fauna. The highlight must be enjoying the views of Leeds City Centre from Broom Pit, a former coal mining site, whilst having a picnic.
The park offers something for everyone with its industrial and social history linked to the site. There is the Middleton railway, formal gardens, children's playground, golf course, bowling green and multi use games courts. What is nice about Middleton Park is that it isn't as crowded compared to more well known municipal parks in the city.
Address: Town Street (Access), LS10 3SH
Directions: You can catch the No. 13 bus from the City Centre (Corn Exchange or Vicar Lane). They run every 20 minutes during the day (Monday to Saturday during the day). Further information can be found at Metro.
Phone: 0113 378 1142
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
I made a return visit to the Henry Moore Institute in April 2014 to check out Ian Kiaser's Tooth House. It was an interesting exhibition but it wasn't to my personal taste.
Henry Moore Institute is part of The Henry Moore Foundation which was set up in 1977 by Henry Moore (1898-1986), a renowned sculptor here and abroad. The aim of the Institute is to open one's mind to appreciate sculpture and related arts. There are usually a number of temporary exhibitions, usually contemporary, held year round there and the Institute offers a research centre, library and sculpture archive. The galleries are opened Tuesday to Sunday 11.00am-5.30pm and on Wednesdays till 8.00pm.
Part of the Yorkshire Festival (and Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle which is a partnership of four West Yorkshire arts venues) in 2014 Thomas Houseago, a Leeds sculptor, was commissioned to present two monumental works - one outside the Leeds Art Gallery and another at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Address: The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH
Directions: Adjacent to the Leeds Art Gallery and in the City Centre.
Phone: 0113 246 7467
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
• 1 DAY TO GO...
Things are really hotting up in Leeds. the stage is ready on the Headrow for the teams riders to register and greet the massive crowds that are expected. Millenium square is ready for the press and sponsors. City square has Tour de France merchandise vans at the ready, even the Black Prince, sitting proudly on his horse has a yellow jersey in readiness for this historic day in the history of our great city......
18 DAYS TO GO…
18 days until the Tour de France 2014 begins with the Grand Depart in Leeds.
Preparations are well under way and the city is buzzing with anticipated excitement.
Sunday saw Team Sky, Britain’s entry for the race, hold a public cycle ride around the city centre. The 6.5km traffic free route, gave people the opportunity to ride around a small part of the Tour de France 2014 route.
Despite the wet weather, the turnout was very good. Olympic champion, Joanna Roswell and Ian Boswell from Team Sky joined thousands of cyclists. The event was open to everyone of every age.
Other Skyride events are taking place in other parts of the Yorkshire, including:- Sheffield (10th August), Hull (17th August), York (14th September) and Bradford (28th September).
Address: THE HEADROW, LEEDS 1
TOUR DE FRANCE, GRANDE DEPARTE
LEEDS 5th JULY 2014
2014 will be the toughest start to the “Tour de France” since it was held in the Pyrenees in 1979. The race covers 2,000 miles over 3 weeks with 21 stages. With an average speed of 42km/hr. This is a gruelling task for the riders.
This year stages one and two are held in Yorkshire, with stage three starting in Cambridge and finishing on the Mall in London. The race then travels to France for 18 more stages.
At the end of each of the stages the rider with the fastest time overall wears the coveted yellow jersey for the next stage.
Stage one covers 190km and begins at 11.10am on Saturday 5th July Leeds City Centre. The race starts on the Headrow in Leeds, and finishes later in the day in Harrogate.
Stage two starts in York on Sunday 6th July and ends later that day in Sheffield.
The cyclists are known as “the Peloton” which translated to English means “the Pack”. There are 22 teams, each containing 9 riders. The only British team in this year’s race is “Team Sky”. The rest of the team are known as “domestiques” translated as “servants”
Britain has won for the past two years, with Chris Froome last year, Chris is this year’s Sky team leader. Bradley Wiggins won the race for the first time for Britain in 2012, a great year for him as he also won Gold in the time trial at London Olympics. His success this year named him as “BBC sports personality of the year”.
The day promises to be a magnificent event in Leeds, 25,000 spectators are expected to watch from the starting point on the Headrow, with a further 20,000 people lining the route along Eastgate, Regent Street and Sheepscar Street South.
It took four years to bring this prestigious race to Yorkshire. The bid to bring the race to Yorkshire was led by Gary Verity. Yorkshire won the bid despite starting as rank outsiders.
HISTORY OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE
The race began in 1903, to promote a sports newspaper. In that year 80 riders set off from a village, Montgeron, just outside Paris. They then rode 5 stages through Lyon, Marseille, Bordeux, Nantes and Toulouse before finishing at Ville d’Avray near Paris.
French riders won 8 out of the first 9 races. Belgians then won the next 7 races. WWI put a halt to the competition, the race resumed after the war and went from strength to strength until WWII. The race began again in 1947 and has been thriving since then.
The first winner, Maurice Garin, won 20,000 francs (£13,000). This year’s winner will win £370,000. Other notable winners include:- Belgian, Eddie Merckx, who won it 5 times between 1969 and 1974, Frenchman, Bernard Hinault, who won it 5 times between 1978 and 1985 and American, Lance Armstrong, who won 7 times 1999-2005. He was stripped of his titles in 2012, for taking drugs during his wins.
Britain has won the last two years with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
Who will win this year……..fingers crossed!!!
Address: THE HEADROW, LEEDS 1
Nelson Mandela gardens is at Millennium Square in Leeds city centre. we went there last week just after this amazing man died.
people had already left flowers, flags and poems as a sign of their affection.
Nelson Mandela was given the freedom of the City of Leeds in 2001. Mandela officially opened Millenium square in 2000, part of the square is named "Mandela gardens" and it is the focus point for the people of Leeds to show their respect following the death of this great statesman.
Address: MILLENIUM SQUARE
The biggest LEGO advent calendar in the world was opened in Leeds today. Each day a different door 1 - 24 will be opened to reveal a lego model inside. the event was celebrated with fun and music for the hoards of shoppers visiting Trininty shopping centre.
Address: TRINITY LEEDS
Tonight was my first visit to Leeds arena (I have another two visits booked)I loved it. tonights visit was to see WWE Live. Even though we were sat in the nosebleed seats (333 row c) we could still see the action in the ring clearly. The atmosphere was amazing and the action non-stop. The best part of the evening was coming out and only having a short 72 bus ride home instead of a long journey from another city...looking forward to my next visit already.
A full programme of events is taking place at the arena from Tinie Temper to Dolly Parton. Check out the website for all the acts that are booked in the coming year.
Address: Arena Way, Leeds, LS2 8BY
Directions: The Arena is in the city centre just behind Morrisons.
Phone: 0844 248 1585
Leeds Christmas market is back for the 12th year running. This year there are more food outlets (Frankfurters and Gluhwein) as well as the usual craft stalls.
At the centre of the market as usual is the Bierkeller, with nightly German entertainment and delicious food and drink...I can't wait.
Address: MILLENNIUM SQUARE
A new “walk it leaflet” to appear at the Leeds visitor centre is Potts Clocks Heritage Trail. After starting to look into Potts Clocks, I didn’t realise how popular these mainly public clocks were in their heyday. There are over 1,600 public Potts clocks in the UK and across the world, including Newcastle Cathedral and Train station, Bradford wool exchange, Cardiff Pierhead, Sheffield Town Hall, St Mary’s church Whitby and Huddersfield Train station. British Leyland also commissioned Potts to install clocks for them as part of an advertisement campaign in the 1930’s. Most, if not all, of the public clocks in Leeds were supplied by Potts.
The company have made over 1,600 public clocks.
Robert Potts was born on a farm near Stockton on Tees in 1776. He started an apprenticeship at the age of 16 with James Thompson of Darlington. After his wife died in 1814 he moved to Keighley and started work at William Smith and sons, who made spindles and parts for spinning machines. William Smith also made and repaired clocks in the evening. It was here that Robert would make clocks in his spare time.
William, Robert’s son learned how to make clocks from his father. William left school at 12 and he went to work with his father. In 1830 William went to Darlington to work as an apprentice for Samuel Thompson(who was the son of James Thompson, who taught Robert). When William finished his apprenticeship in 1833 he moved to Pudsey where he made house clocks to sell in local shops. His father, Robert helped him until his death in 1839.
In 1862 the company moved from Pudsey to the vastly expanding Leeds. The company set up a factory on Guildford Street which is now part of the Headrow. In 1872 they expanded the business due to increasing demand. Three of Williams sons joined the business. Thomas (known as Robert), James and Joseph. The company now traded as William Potts and sons.
In 1875 Potts installed a time ball in the Guildford Street shop window. At 1pm each day a telegraphic message was sent from Greenwich and a ball was dropped which let people know it was 1pm. Another timeball was later installed on the front of Dyson’s Jewellers. This timeball is still in place although it no longer works.
William died in 1887 and the company moved the business into Cookridge Street.
Just after the turn of the century the demand for turret clocks fell into decline. In 1906 the company became a limited company but, due to poor sales and mismanagement of the company, two members of the board were sacked. William’s grandson, Thomas and his son Robert were both asked to leave the company.
In 1927 premises were opened in Commercial Street and a new factory was opened in Burley on the outskirts of the city centre. The factory in Burley started to mass produce small clocks.
In 1930 Leyland motors designed a number of clocks for advertising, one of these clocks was installed on the summit of Shap, near Kendal. The clock would stop during severe weather so Potts developed a mechanism that would withstand the high winds and snow.
In 1934 the business was sold to John Smith and sons of Derby.
Roberts son Charles had set up his own company under his own name in 1930. This business was sold to the Synchronome company after Charles death in 1957, the last clock was installed in1962.
Names were not allowed on public clocks in Victorian times. So clockmakers such as Potts would register the shape of the clock hands. The shape of these hands were named and numbered. The hands on the clock of the Old Post Office in City Square are “Potts standard no. 1” with the dial being pattern no.6.
THE GRIFFIN HOTEL (picture no.1)
This clock was installed in 1877 on the Griffin Hotel. The street had recently been widened to create a shopping street. The clock was designed with the name “GRIFFIN HOTEL” replacing the usual roman numerals on the dial. The Griffin hotel, a grade II listed building, closed down, it then became a pub but is now also closed.
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH CLOCK (picture no.2)
The Potts clock at Holy Trinity Church was installed in 1902. It replaced the original clock by Morgan Lowry, which was installed when the church was built in 1727. The clock was converted to autowind in 1973.
Directions: LEAFLETS ARE AVAILABLE AT LEEDS VISITOR CENTRE AT THE TRAIN STATION
Light night is an annual fixture in the Leeds calendar. It usually takes place on a friday night in early October. Everything is free and is mostly provided by the local council and various art organisations.
Various events take place in the city centre and around the university. A popular event is “ghost stories” at the Brotherton university library.
Town hall clock tours are free on Light Night, this has become so popular that it is now possible to climb the 203 steps to the bell tower at the top of the Victorian town hall all year round for a fee of £4.
Other light night events in 2013 include a trip to Narnia (Trinity shopping centre), Carriageworks young theatre makers (Carriageworks), music and art (Victorian courtroom and cells, Town hall) and dance at the Yorkshire dance and West Yorkshire playhouse.
With over 50 free art events being held there isn’t enough time to see everything so a programme is essential. Programmes are put out at Leeds museum, Leeds art gallery, Libraries and Gateway Yorkshire (train station) usually about two weeks before the event.
The highlight of the evening for me was a tribute to Potts clocks (most of the public clocks in Leeds were made by this firm} a brilliant light projection onto the Civic hall (Millennium Square) by the artists "Illuminos"
I have included a video of part of this projection on the Leeds page.
LIGHT NIGHT VIDEO
LIGHT NIGHT VIDEO 2
Address: ALL OVER CITY CENTRE
Tropical World is one of my favourite places to visit in Leeds. I have been here twice, once in 2008 and the second in 2013. Tropical World houses tropical plants and animals in an arrangements of different 'locations' like Australasia, The Amazon etc. There are tropical butterflies, a nocturnal bat cave, birds, spiders and tropical fish. One of the newest attractions is the Meerkats that weren't there on my last visit.
The first section of the attraction is located in the Amazon and is very humid and warm. I would suggest taking a small cloth to wipe your camera lens because the lenses fog up quite quickly in that section. The whole attraction is quite warm so I wouldn't wear anything too thick.
Tropical World is really good value and only costs around £3.40 for an adult ticket. You can buy your tickets at the gift shop as you walk in to the building. It is usually open between 10am-6pm in the summer and 10am-4pm in the winter. Parking is available in the park free of charge.
Address: Princes' Avenue, Roundhay Park, Leeds,LS8 1DF
Directions: Tropical World is located in Roundhay Park opposite the Roundhay Fox pub.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
The water fountain at Kirkstall reads “drink and be grateful”. Built in 1865 it was a valuable source of fresh water for the people of the area in the days when only the rich had their own source of drinking water. The drinking fountains built in Victorian times were very ornate.
Even up to 60 years ago 20% of all homes in Britain had no water supply in their homes
Address: ABBEY ROAD