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Talking Heads 2024 - Episode Three: Kully Thiarai

In this final episode of our Annual Talking Heads Series, Leeds Civic Trust Director, Martin Hamilton, interviews Kully Thiarai, CEO of Leeds 2023.

Kully Tharai led the city’s year of culture in 2023, bringing together tens of thousands of people from across the city to experience and create culture in its widest sense. We will ask, did the year of culture meet Kully’s expectations, what is its legacy and impact and how will this be measured and what does the future hold for culture in the city of Leeds?

Talking Heads 2024 - Episode Two: Councillor James Lewis

James Lewis is Councillor for Kippax and Methley and has been leader of Leeds City Council since 2021.

As leader of the second largest local authority in the country, Cllr Lewis has responsibility for a massive budget and workforce.  We will be discussing his hopes for the city in the future, and will be touching on issues such as mass transit and transport, planning and development and inward investment, how the city compares with its peers and how and where we can improve.

Talking Heads 2024 - Episode One: Dr David Hopes

In our Annual Talking Heads Series Trust Director, Martin Hamilton, is joined by distinguished guests to discuss topics of interest to Leeds Civic Trust, including the City of Leeds development and transport, heritage and history, economic development, culture and much more.

Our first episode of 2024 features Dr David Hopes. Dr Hopes is the city’s Head of Museums and Galleries having worked for the National Trust for Scotland before taking up his current post.

Leeds has a vast collection of paintings and artefacts, housed in some of the city’s most iconic buildings. But as Councils continue to feel the squeeze, how is the city’s offer adapting to an environment where core funding is less plentiful. Our museums and galleries often tell the story of the city’s past but in a present day context. What is their role in the future?

Inspirations for Creativity in Leeds, Learning from the Past - Dr Rachael Unsworth

This richly illustrated presentation explores the role of creativity in the evolution of a major city. We consider enduring principles and fresh ideas, historic legacy, recent changes and transient novelties, the different ways of applying imagination to working with our heritage and pushing the boundaries of future possibilities to make an appealing and more sustainable intensity of scenes and activities. It’s a colourful carousel showing off so many inspiring dimensions of Leeds.

Dr Rachael Unsworth is an urban geographer fascinated by the long-term evolution of cities, including prospects for the future.

Smeaton of Austhorpe

Jacki and Bob Lawrence of the East Leeds History & Archaeology Society present an online presentation looking at the personal and professional life of local man John Smeaton, the Father of Civil Engineering.

Slung Low's Alan Lane In Conversation.

Join innovative theater maker, Alan Lane, as we find out more about his new book.

HODs 2022 Online Talks:

A picture is worth a thousand words- Astounding developments in printing.

For Heritage Open Days 2022 we were joined by Jane Abramsom's. Her talk references Leeds as she covers the history of printed images and the development of photography.

HODs 2022 Online Talks:

Cotton's Hidden Voices: A talk from Bethan Bide. 

For Heritage Open Days 2022 we were joined by Bethan Bide this online talk explores the hidden histories of cotton that connect West Yorkshire to a global network of cotton traders, farmers, makers and designers.

HODs 2022 Online Talks:

Berenblum and the Bari Bombs a talk with Andy Wilson. 

This Heritage Open Days 2022 we were joined by Andy Wilson.  For the story of how tragic incidents in both World Wars and the work of researcher Isaac Berenblum, contributed to the discovery of Chemo.

HODs 2022 Online Talks:

The history of the artificial eye with Dr Emma Storr 

For Heritage Open Days 2022 Dr Emma Storr discusses the history of artficial eyes and how their manufacture has changed over the centuries.

Webinar 1: Retro - "Fit for the Future"?

RRR: The Action Gap:

Older buildings were built in a myriad of different ways and RRR can prepare them for an equally long future. This introductory session introduces a range of building typologies through case studies presented by a specialist builder, a project developer and an architect.

WEBINAR 2: Myths and Realities

RRR: Action the Gap, a series of webinars

If properly maintained and repaired, some old buildings may be a lot more thermally efficient than previously thought. This will be discussed by a building physics expert, a structural engineer and an architect through case studies.

WEBINAR 3: Technicalities and Expertise

RRR: Action the Gap, a series of webinars

Upgrades require more labour input, at conception and at construction stage, with a wider range of specialist experts - on the drawing board and on site. This will be discussed through a conservation expert, an expert in Post WWII buildings, and a services engineer.

The First White Cloth Hall - revealing the hidden gem

Rushbond PLC talk about how they restore and re-invent heritage buildings, focusing in particular on the First White Cloth Hall. Jenna Strover, who chairs the Trust's Heritage Watch Group, is in conversation with Rushbond founder and MD Jonathan Maud and Development Director Mark Finch, and former Trust Director, Dr Kevin Grady, as they take us through the fascinating story behind the restoration of this important landmark.

The Changing Face of Cinema in Leeds - A Virtual Walk

Join us for a virtual walk round Leeds City Centre, showcasing the fascinating history of cinema in Leeds with guide Garance Rawinsky. Our tour will take in the sites of eleven old cinemas, reflecting on their change of use and how our cinema-going experience has evolved from cosy early news theatres to massive auditoria for a night out with all the bells and whistles.

Brutal North: An Exploration of Brutalist Buildings in the North of England

Join acclaimed photographer Simon Phipps and speakers from Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield as we discuss and debate images from his new book Brutal North: Post-War Modernist Architecture in the North of England. These buildings, many of them now unloved and under-appreciated, tell a story of civic ambition and drive in the sixties and seventies. With a particular focus on Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, we will consider what the future holds for these buildings. What makes these buildings so special and which ones should be saved? Should we care?

Heritage & Nature Along the Aire & Calder Navigation – A Virtual Walk

Roderic Parker guides us along this historic waterway which provided a vital trading link to the North Sea and beyond, observing interesting historical and contemporary landmarks and the abundance of nature (often in artistic form) that can be found along the way. The walk took place in May 2021

Kirkstall Forge – a fascinating past, an exciting future

Kirkstall Forge has been of industrial importance since the 12th century, contributing significantly to Leeds reputation. With close ties to the Monks at Kirkstall Abbey, this was the longest continually used industrial site in the UK until it closed its doors in 2003. Join Lucinda Yeadon of CEG and Howard Metcalf to discover the history of this unique place and its people. They will share photos, artifacts and stories from the Kirkstall Forge archive as well as giving you a glimpse of what it will look like in the future.

Temple Works: The Future of an Icon

Temple Works is perhaps the least well known of a trinity of 19th Century Grade 1 Listed buildings in Leeds City Centre. The building, commissioned by flax magnate John Marshall, in a distinctive Egyptian style including 60 roof lights and a grassed roof complete with grazing sheep – said to be the largest room in the world at the time – pushed the boundaries of engineering and design and has been a landmark building in Holbeck since its construction in 1840. It has had a chequered history since its closure as a mill, but the announcement of a £25 million government grant heralds the real possibility of the building’s rebirth as “British Library North”. Join us for a discussion as we consider how this landmark building fits into the wider story of the city’s emerging south bank and owner CEG’s masterplan for the area, and how the British Library proposal could once again bring this important building to life in the next decade.

Kirkstall Abbey – a Photographic Tour

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the country’s finest monastic ruins. It became an important abbey in Yorkshire and undoubtedly played a significant role in the development of Leeds in the Middle Ages through the wool trade. This lecture take syou on a guided tour round the abbey, looking at how it was developed and how the monks lived, worked and prayed for almost 400 years before the dissolution in 1539.

‘The Age of Flamboyance’: Edwardian Leeds

The Edwardian period in Leeds stands out as a brief Indian Summer at the close of a century of British political and economic pre-eminence in the world before the First World War. In this final lecture in our ‘Leeds in Your Lunch Hour’ series, Dr Kevin Grady will describe the character of the booming city between 1901 and 1910 – its industry, its transport, the housing of the working and middle classes, education, leisure and entertainment, the notable events, and its new flamboyant architecture.

‘The Grandest Street in Victorian Leeds’: The History of Boar Lane

Because of it spectacularly rapid growth in the first half of the nineteenth century, the streetscape of central Leeds developed in a very haphazard fashion. Historically Boar Lane was perhaps the town’s most exclusive street, but it too lacked a coherent façade. Dr Kevin Grady's third ‘Leeds in Your Lunch Hour’ lecture traces the evolution of Boar Lane from the Middle Ages and its transformation in the 1860s into the town’s grandest street.

‘Grand Emporium’ – The Market Halls and Exchanges of Victorian Leeds

In the nineteenth-century Leeds became a great Victorian city and a diversified centre of commerce and industry requiring specialist buildings for the sale of produce, commodities and trading in stocks and shares. These included retail and wholesale market halls, bazaars, cloth halls, corn exchanges, a Stock Market, two merchant exchanges, a leather market, and a wholesale meat market. In the second in our 2021 'Leeds in your lunch hour' lecture series, Dr Kevin Grady describes these fine Victorian buildings which almost all sadly have been long since demolished.

‘Invention, Acumen and Espionage’: The Industrial Revolution in Leeds, 1780-1845

Leeds Historian, Dr Kevin Grady, presents the first in our 2021 ‘Leeds in Your Lunch Hour’ lecture series – hosted jointly with Leeds Minster. In the heady days of the Industrial Revolution in Leeds, people stopped at nothing to steal the secrets of the industrial processes which were generating great wealth. This lecture focuses on the creation of Leeds’s three most famous early factories: Benjamin Gott’s Park Mills; Matthew Murray’s Round Foundry and John Marshall’s Temple Mill.

Leeds Looks Back...Windows on a Modern World - Fringe Event

To coincide with the recently launched Leeds Modernists’ ‘Windows on a Modern World’ city centre drum-poster trail and exhibition, we are delighted to invite you to this special fringe event. During this informal panel discussion hear from special guest speakers, including ‘Concretopia’ author and social historian, John Grindrod; and architectural historian and specialist in post-Second World War English architecture, Elain Harwood, as they highlight some of the rare and striking images of a city on the cusp of change. Through these images we'll consider the societal, economic and architectural legacies which continue to impact on us today. For details of the city centre drum-poster trail and exhibition, see our friends, Leeds Modernists' website https://modernist-society.org/projects#/leeds1970s/

The remarkable story of Leeds suffragette Leonora Cohen – Jacki & Bob Lawrence

Hunger striker, Trades Unionist, feminist and magistrate – discover suffragette Leonora Cohen's inspirational story. Known as the “Tower Suffragette” after smashing a display case in the Tower of London – not the first act of defiance to land her in prison. She was to become a Trade Unionist and, ironically, a Magistrate. Her long life (she lived to 105) even enabled her to witness the “second wave” of feminism in the 70s. Leonora Cohen is one of several campaigners to feature in our new publication about Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaques in Leeds.

Leeds Learns – Creating Active Travel Neighbourhoods

Switching local journeys to active travel brings lots of benefits both to individuals and our neighbourhoods, such as improved health and air quality, increased road safety, better street life, and reduced carbon emissions. Active Travel Neighbourhoods (ATNs) encourage local active travel by providing safer walking and cycling environments while keeping levels of traffic low. But ATNs can be controversial initially as they seek to restrict car use. Experience across the country shows that once established local communities value them. This webinar explores factors that underpin that success.

Sax Appeal: Ivy Benson & Her All-Girls Band – with Janet Tennant

This online talk will look at the influences on Benson’s life that made her the most successful female bandleader of her generation, including her Yorkshire roots, the war and male chauvinism. Was she an instigator of ‘girl power’ as some believe, or an astute business woman with a keen eye for an opportunity?

Hollybush Conservation Centre - A Virtual Tour

John Preston presents a fascinating "online tour" of the Hollybush Conservation Centre – home to The Conservation Volunteers for more than 40 years. The Centre is a Grade 2 listed farmhouse, dating from at least 1700, by the river bridge in Kirkstall. John was in effect custodian of the building for the last 30 years. Discover more about the history of the building, the new timber buildings, their context in Kirkstall and the work of TCV.

Blue Plaques of Leeds: The Next Collection - Dr Kevin Grady

Co-author Dr Kevin Grady introduces some of the fascinating people, places and events that are included in our new book about the Trust's Leeds Blue Plaques scheme. Figures such as celebrated fantasy novelist JRR Tolkien, fearless suffragette Leonora Cohen and our city’s first black head teacher Gertrude Paul all feature in the volume, as do landmarks such as the Corn Exchange, Roundhay Park Mansion and Whitelocks – the famous city centre watering hole. In all, 98 blue plaques are covered in this 160 page volume, click here to order your copy!

111 Places in Leeds that you Shouldn't Miss - Nature on your Doorstep with author Kim Revill

Author, Kim Revill takes us on a relaxing 'virtual' journey around Leeds as she reads extracts from her new book; '111 Places in Leeds that you Shouldn't Miss'. With a focus on our wonderful green spaces and abundance of urban nature, Kim celebrates the green lungs of Leeds. Find a comfy chair, pour a fresh cup of Yorkshire Tea and settle in for this gentle stroll around our city.

An Armley Odyssey

If a book could talk - what might have happened over the years to a library book that is more than 100 years overdue?

A Time To Stand and Stare - The Arts in Lockdown with Trio Literati

Join Leeds performers Trio Literati as the explore the arts in lockdown with the help of local poets and writers.

Trio Literati are Maggie Mash, Jane Oakshott and Richard Rastall.

We are very grateful to all the poets who contributed to this programme.

Lydia Kennaway , Linda Marshall, James Nash, Doug Sandle,  Peter Spafford and Neli Shine.

More details about the performers and poets can be found on our website www.trioliterati.org.uk

Adel Quaker Meeting House - A Story of Community

Discover more about the tranquil corner of LS16 and find out the fascinating journey of the Quakers from Leeds city centre to a thriving community throughout the city.

End of an Era - Mining History in Leeds with Michael Meadowcroft

Michael Meadowcroft's illustrated talk traces the chequered history of an industry that was once so crucial to the development of the city. In 1935 almost 4,000 Leeds men were employed in mining; today it is just a handful. The city has a long history of coal mining but the last deep mine, Allerton Bywater, closed in March 1992.

Get Your Bampton Hands Ready...It's Briggate Morris!

Get up and throw a few shapes with Briggate Morris who dance North West style morris. All dancers and musicians welcome, interested https://www.facebook.com/briggatemorris/

There are two clips to choose:
Briggate Morris 1
Briggate Morris 2

Blue Plaques - City Centre Self Guided Walk

Leeds Civic Trust has been proud to install over 170 blue plaques throughout our city for the last 30 years. Enjoy a selection of the city centres plaques on this self-guided trail. Feel free to pop into the alleyways, yards and arcades on your way - you'll no doubt spot a few extra plaques on your travels too!

Changes in the Morley Landscape - the Twentieth Century and beyond with Dr Clive McManus

Join Dr Clive McManus, President of Morley Local History Society, for an online illustrated talk which will look at the various factors that have changed the Morley landscape over the years.

Factories and Fevers: Child Health in the 19th Century – Dr Emma Storr

Dr Emma Storr explores the dangers to child health in 19th Century Leeds & the campaigns for reform by physicians, poets & politicians that led to slow improvements in child health, remembering that child labour still exists in many parts of the world today.

Leeds in Sculpture: a Virtual Tour

Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton takes a virtual tour of the city of Leeds through its sculpture, statues and monuments: the city's representation in physical form  – reflecting on who and what we represent in sculptural form and consider why these choices are made.

Lost and Found - The Leeds Cross in its Historical Context with Prof. Joyce Hill

Professor Joyce Hill, an international authority on the transmission of Christian culture in early medieval Europe - presents an online talk about one of the city’s greatest treasures, the 10th-Century Leeds Cross which stands proudly in Leeds Minster.

M&S on Film

Take a nostalgic trip back in time as the M&S Company Archives throws open it's doors for Heritage Open Days. From 60's fashions to panty girldes, teryline to nylon there's something for everyone.

Heritage & Nature Along the Aire & Calder Navigation

Join Roderic Parker for an illustrated virtual walk along the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation - the mighty waterways of Leeds.

Hidden by Nature - The Lost Ice House in Middleton Park

Leeds Young Archaeologists Club enthusiastically share their excitement of discovering and sharing the history on their doorstep.

Hidden by Nature - The Lost Lake at Parlington

Local historian Brian Hull describes how perhaps almost seven generations ago in the first half of the nineteenth century an ambitious wealthy mine owner took it upon himself to create a fantasy sceptered lake and isle at Parlington Hollins.

Hidden by Nature - The Magic of Parkinson's Park

Discover the history, ecology, flora and fauna of this hidden gem in the centre of Guiseley.

Leeds Festival Chorus

With all their summer concerts cancelled due to coronavirus, the Chorus presents this unique opportunity for Heritage Open Days audiences to hear two beautiful works online.

Opera North - Marching on Together

As we celebrate Leeds United's return to the Premier League, the orchestra of Opera North (who were recently able to play together again, socially-distanced, for the first time since UK lockdown) tackle one of the club's anthems - Marching On Together.

Preserving Memories with the Methley Archive

Start your journey and uncover the layers of history contained within the Methley Archive.

The 1152 Club Presents a Potted History of Kirkstall Abbey

Join Dr Patrick Bourne for a concise history of one of the city's best known landmarks.


The British Library at Boston Spa

Go behind the scenes at the British Library with these two short films (click on each heading for the films);

'The Journey of a Collection Item' and 'Riding the Robots'

The 1152 Club Presents a Potted History of Kirkstall Abbey

Join Dr Patrick Bourne for a concise history of one of the city's best known landmarks.

The Commoners Choir in Lockdown

Leeds based Commoners Choir presents a song written about being a community while being kept separate. The song was recorded by over 50 members in their homes during lockdown.

The Changing Face of Bramley

Join local Historian and Author Anthony Silson on a journey back through time to the pastures and farmlands of Bramley.

The Leeds Silver Sparrows - Bare Necessities

Enjoy the Band playing 'Bare Necessities' at several Leeds venues.

Let the steel pan transport you to warmer climbs!

The Oldest Churches in Leeds – Prof. Joyce Hill

Discover the fascinating story of the city’s oldest places of worship, their history and how they served, and continue to serve, their congregations, with Professor Joyce Hill is an international authority on the transmission of Christian culture in early medieval Europe.

Lockdown Lowdown

As a response to the COVID-19 restrictions, Leeds Civic Trust transferred its operations online. During the Lockdown, the Trust introduced a series of online interviews with prominent Leeds figures, reflecting on how the city will change and adapt as a result of COVID-19.

Councillor Judith Blake CBE

Trust Director Martin Hamilton is in conversation with Cllr Judith Blake CBE, discussing how the city will change and adapt following the pandemic. The first female leader of Leeds City Council, she has been on Leeds City Council for more than two decades, currently representing Middleton Park Ward. She currently holds the portfolio for inclusive growth and culture, and chairs the “core cities” group of the largest local authorities.

Rachel Reeves MP

As we emerge from the current emergency, Rachel Reeves reflects on how the economy will develop and what needs to be done differently, and the role of government at a local and national level. An economist by background, she has been MP for Leeds West since 2010 and was the chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee before taking up her current role as shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, shadowing Michael Gove.

How can we #buildbackbetter Post-COVID?

How does Leeds come out of the current emergency as a fairer, more sustainable and inclusive city? Representatives from Our Future Leeds (Paul Chatterton), Youth Strike (Shannon Jackson, Robbie Strathdee) and The Clean Air Alliance (Ruth Gelletlie) debate what the current crisis means for our environment, air quality, transport, local economy, social justice and more.

Stuart Andrew MP

Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew discusses his vision for Leeds following COVID-19.

Anglesey-born Stuart Andrew has been the Conservative MP for Pudsey since 2010 and is currently the Government's Deputy Chief Whip.

Leeds BID's Andrew Cooper

Leeds Business Improvement District is the largest outside of London, with an annual budget of £2.4 million and a key role in delivering improvements additional to those funded by the local authority. Andrew Cooper, Leeds BID's Chief Executive, reflects on the city's commercial & economic prospects following COVID-19.

Prospects for Development in a Post-COVID Leeds

Mark Finch, Director of Real Estate at Leeds-based Rushbond PLC, considers the impact of COVID-19 on the world of development and property. How will the city's built environment adapt after COVID-19 in a world of social distancing, home working, more cycling and walking and the need for more open spaces?

Kully Thiarai – Creative Director of Leeds 2023

Kully Thiarai, Creative Director of Leeds 2023Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton is in conversation with Leeds 2023 Creative Director Kully Thiarai – finding out how she, her team and her board are addressing the new challenges in delivering a truly special cultural festival for Leeds.

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