On the heritage trail in Leeds

More edited highlights from the summer workload as part of an ongoing series.

This week I’m exploring heritage and urban regeneration in Leeds.

View of Leeds from Leeds City Museum

Designer labels

On a busy Saturday morning in the city’s Victoria Quarter, it is clear how Leeds has since been reborn: cappuccinos are frothed, designer labels displayed and shoppers enticed by the likes of Ted Baker and Vivienne Westwood.

The first Harvey Nichols to open outside London does brisk business. Crucially, the old heritage architecture of Frank Matcham’s flamboyant arcades and the sense of modern-urban style blend seamlessly.

Today, Leeds has recovered its civic pride and it’s not shy to flaunt it.

Dr Kevin Grady, Director of the Leeds Civic Trust, says: “I firmly believe if you stand at the top of Briggate and look down, you get the same sense as standing at the top of Las Ramblas in Barcelona.”

The heart of Leeds

With the tide of regeneration washing through the city, it’s easy to think of Leeds as a very organic city, but one history-rich little alleyway off Briggate remains virtually untouched by modernity.

Whitelocks, licence first granted in 1715

Whitelocks is the oldest pub in Leeds and it is listed on CAMRA’s national inventory as a pub of special merit. John Betjeman described it as “the very heart of Leeds”.

With its stained-glass windows, Art Deco ‘Luncheon Bar’ sign and Yorkshire’s Black Sheep ale on tap, it retains the ambiance of its Victorian heyday and offers an oasis of real ale and home-cooked food.

Long may it remain a little corner of the city that will be forever Leeds.

Read more

Check out the August issue of Heritage magazine for the full story.

Update: for bookings, see the website Citybreaks.co.uk.


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