In 2013, we worked with three groups of older people in different locations around the city, chatting, listening, eating biscuits and gathering people’s memories and reflections about their lives in Leeds. It was a privilege to hear these stories – some funny, some sad, some nostalgic. As we listened, a map emerged of a different Leeds, one that perhaps no longer exists any more. Many of the people who lived there are no longer with us; many of the places and buildings it contained have been knocked down. And yet this other Leeds has not quite gone for good. It has simply shifted its location, existing now in memories, old photographs and stories.
In September 2013 we took some of the stories we had gathered and shared them with others: members of Bramley Craft Club and the Yorkshire Branch of The Embroiderers’ Guild; Buns and Roses, the local Women’s Institute and various artists and makers from the Twitterverse. Together with Thread Artist Hayley Mills-Styles, we met in Veritas Ale & Wine Bar on Great George Street to create a set of embroidered maps, based on 1930s Ordnance Surveys of Leeds. Each map showed the location of one of the stories that we had been told. We wanted to reinscribe these stories in the fabric of the city and accord a new importance to these half-forgotten places. You can see some of the maps we made below.
214) 2nd August
Propping up a dustbin on the Headrow, two old ladies swap stories & chat about nothing. Throwaway conversation; precious as the sun.