View our events online
Please note: To keep everyone as safe as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak, all Leeds Civic Trust events are now taking place online.
To celebrate this year's Heritage Open Days we bring together a collection of virtual talks, tours and events for you to discover at your leisure during the week long celebration (September 11 until 20). You can sign up for future events on Eventbrite but recordings of all our previous online events are available for you to view on this page.
Click on the heading or image to view the video.
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.
Leeds Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton is in conversation with Sinead Rocks, Managing Director of Nations and Regions at Channel 4, asking Sinead what Channel 4 hopes to achieve with their new Leeds location, her perspectives on the media and creative industries in our city more generally, what excites her about her new Leeds base, and how media businesses such as the one she works for can change the view that broadcast media in the UK tends to have a London-centric view of the rest of the country.
Join Leeds Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton for an interview with Leeds City Council Leader James Lewis. As the city emerges from the Covid pandemic, we will be asking James about his vision for the future of our city, discussing issues such as transport, the development of the city and how it will need to adapt to meet changes in working patterns, retail and leisure. This interview takes place after the election of the first Mayor for West Yorkshire. A key issue will be how he sees this new political relationship developing in the months and years to come.
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.
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?
With many of the city’s medieval past hidden from years of redevelopment, Professor Joyce Hill will bring the buildings, sites and streets of this fascinating period in the city's history to life. You will be led on this virtual 'walk' from the comfort of your own home. Sit back, pour yourself a glass of mead and let the sites of the city's medieval streets come alive.
The first in a series of conversations between Director of Leeds Civic Trust Martin Hamilton and a variety of prominent people who are based in or who have an interest in the city of Leeeds. This interview with Leeds MP and former cabinet minister Hilary Benn, focuses on the future of the city as it emerges from the covid pandemic covering issues such as transport, "levelling-up", planning and history and heritage and was recorded in May 2020.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
In this ‘Tardis-type tour through time’, using a profusion of contemporary illustrations Kevin Grady recreates Leeds and its buildings and streets in 1830. A visitor from London arrives in Leeds to gather information for a talk he is giving to his local Literary and Philosophical Society. During his stay he will meet some Leeds personalities and discuss the issues of the day...
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
Local Historian and Archivist Carlo Harrison started to interview people with an Aireborough connection in 2018 and has completed 72 spoken histories to date. You can listen to some of these fascinating audio interviews via the back-chat website.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Tracing his footsteps from improverished door to door hawker to creator of the world's largest clothing empire, Jacki and Bob Lawrence present an illustrated history of the life and times of the UK's most famous manufacturer and retailer of Mens Wholesale Clothing in the 20th century, Montague Burton.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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?
Civic 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.