Below you can read about the latest news and activities from the 365 Leeds Stories project. Click on a headline to read the full post.

Published on 01/04/2014

What lies at the heart of the city of Leeds?

A Labyrinth full of stories – stories of the past, the present and the future. Since September 2013, Leeds-based artists Matthew Bellwood and Alison Andrews have been working together with a range of people who live, work or seek residence in Leeds on the creation of a series of maps of the city; maps that tell stories and make connections between the people who live here. The maps depict the city in a myriad of ways. Leeds has been recorded » Read more…

Published on 30/03/2014

The Olde Boy – The Craft

He was as if a living memento of yesterday – the Master Tailor of Great George Street, who passed on over the festive period of Christmas 2013/2014. He’d given me his card on first meeting when I’d happened to drop by once. A friendly voice with a sing-song lilt, crafted in a previous decade; the archetypal manner of a master in the tailoring guild; a translation of a shop-keeper: John Hurt or the likes from Harry Potter’s buying adventures in » Read more…

Published on 27/03/2014

Street Pigeon

Cracks running wild on this concrete footbridge Under a winter’s grip that does not give Cracks in the walls of the deep red façade Like inky veins, seeping above so far Cracks in his hands, he shares this bridge with me, With whispered words, he soothes me tenderly Cracks in the air from the passing ladies’ soles And the traffic below that moans and rolls Cracks of sunlight seep from grey scattered skies Stir the mood of the street as » Read more…

Published on 07/01/2014

Remembering the Way

‘The way we were’ is a romantic idea. It is also the title of a song by Bergman, Bergman and Hamlisch, most notably sung by Barbra Streisand. The lyrics treat of the bitter sweetness of looking back, nostalgia, regret, ironic acceptance that times past will not come our way again – even as the details of specific events, and the overall arc of our life experience can often be described with precision. The process of remembering summons the past into » Read more…

Published on 29/11/2013

A Musical Mystery Tour (or Around the City in Eight Ditties)

Let me take you on a tour of the city of Leeds. We’ll start at the railway station near City Square. It’s one of the biggest stations in the North of England with about 25 million people passing through it every year. Let’s stand for a moment by the information boards and watch the people sitting on the ranks of grey metal chairs by Boots the Chemist.

Leeds Station

A thousand boys and girls are sitting
Friday night at the station
You and I we grasp each other’s hands
We keep our heads down
from The Queens Hotel to The Headrow
I am home, Leeds Station, I am home

That’s a quote from the song Leeds Station by the 80s group The Parachute Men. It was released as a single in 1989 and appeared on an NME compilation video in aid of the CND. It’s a gem of a song and it makes the Station sound a hell of a lot more romantic than it is in actuality. » Read more…

Published on 20/11/2013

Boat Workshop Photographs

During October 2013, we led a series of workshops for local school children at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, on a canal barge and in the classroom that allowed students to explore the docklands area of Leeds. Through investigating an area so crucial to the city’s past, the children were encouraged to share their ideas about what Leeds might look like, and be like to live in for future generations to come.

Photos: Betty Lawless

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» Read more…

Published on 20/11/2013

Join the 365 Leeds Stories Choir

Do you live in Leeds? Do you like singing? In the bath, in the street, or has it never crossed your mind, but you’d like to give it a go? How about taking part in a new choir project?

With composer James Redwood, 365 Leeds Stories is organizing two Saturday workshops, where we’ll have the opportunity to create some new songs about Leeds. No experience is needed to take part in one or both workshops which are taking place at:

Leeds Central Library Exhibition Space, on The Headrow
30 November 11 am – 3 pm
7 December, 11 am – 3 pm

Refreshments will be provided.

The aim is to create songs which are a picture of the city as seen by the people who live here. What do you see on the way to work? Where do you hang out and socialise? Where are the places you’d never dream of going? What makes the city feel special to you? What should a song about the city have to say?

This is part of a year long project, taking a look at the city from a range of views. You can find out more about the different strands of the project here.

Following these sessions we’ll be inviting workshop participants and the wider public to join a choir in January, working with our musical director Caroline Challis to polish and rehearse the songs we create ready for a performance on 3rd May 2014, in Leeds Central Library.

If you’re interested in taking part, please get in touch with Peter Reed on 07806786497 or by emailing » Read more…

Published on 11/11/2013

The Salmon Ladder

We are on a boat on the Aire and Calder Navigation. Autumn is here and it is cold. We – year 3 pupils from an inner city primary school, my colleague Matthew and I, and several teachers – are on a trip. We are exploring future visions of the city, from the perspective of an eight year old. To do this we want to start by looking at some of the ways in which the city has changed over the past few hundred years. The docklands area, with its recent redevelopment, seems an ideal place to begin…

We have spent the last half hour exploring Clarence Dock and looking at maps of the area from the early 20th century – trying to imagine what daily life was like here. What were the jobs that people did? What was it like to live beside the river? Would there have been an enormous Indian restaurant here back then? Were the numerous cannon around the dock a part of the work that happened here? » Read more…

Published on 05/11/2013

St Mary’s Church, Quarry Hill

“I met my husband at St Mary’s Church, which is now demolished. St Mary’s Church, Quarry Hill. It was a big church and it had a big square tower with a clock on and I know I went one Sunday morning and he was home on leave – shore leave. And he said to somebody, “who’s this?” because he didn’t know me. And after, that following week, he had leave, some leave and we went to – they had a good youth club there and we went there and also we went to the Astoria, dancing and he walked me home. And he was going away actually. He were on his embarkation leave and he asked me if I’d write to him. And I wrote to him for three years. About three years and nine months. And we were married fifty-eight years. He was in the Durham Light Infantry. Yes. And was very proud to be in the Durhams.” » Read more…

Published on 04/11/2013

Hillcrest Cinema, Harehills #2

“I met my husband in a cinema. Because the girl that I went to the cinema with, she was chatting to him all night long and I were playing pop with her for flirting with him and showing me up, you know. And he sort of kept turning round and grinning and talking and what have you and that’s where I met him. » Read more…

Published on 03/11/2013

Vinery Avenue/Vinery Mount

“You know where t’ Irish Centre is? Well it were there. Them were t’ houses we lived on there. Again’ t’Irish Centre. Like they were old houses you know? Small houses. Not like now. And we lived there and we were overcrowded so we’d to come out of there … we ha’n’t enough bedrooms and what have you. And we got one of t’ first houses in Vinery Avenue, it wa’. I remember t’ number. Vinery Avenue it wa’. They’d a garden and everything. We’d not got anything there you see so it were different. And I were only a kid and I’d two brothers, they used to go round selling ice-cream – you know Granelli? They used to – for a bit o’money, my brother, eldest one, other one wa’n’t allowed to do it, but he helped. He wasn’t allowed to do it officially. (Laughs). But he died at fifteen. He were born wi’ a bad what is it – heart. They couldn’t do ault for him, from being baby. He were the bonniest lad. Yeah and he used to make crystal sets. He were brainy. He were brainy. To pass his time on in t’house he’d do that! Cos he wa’n’t allowed to go to work because he wa’n’t fit but he went and got himself a job, I’ll tell you this, and he went in’t pit and me mam had to take him out, cos she said “you can’t do that job! It’d kill him!” Well he did die, d’you know what I mean? My man worked at Burton’s, she were a forewoman at Burtons and she got him in at Burtons, just at – they all walked at his funeral did all Burton’s – oh they did! – up to St – up to t’hospital – Killingbeck – from St Patricks.” » Read more…

Published on 02/11/2013

Temple Newsam

“Well we lived near each other and, well, you know how you are when you’re – well we used to have all t’lads and lasses mixed then – and that’s how I went started going with him. And he just lived – I worked in t’ street, and that street, it were in t’ street were Plant’s, J.W. Plant and he lived in t’ next street. And I lived in t’ Bertha’s. You wouldn’t know t’ Berthas. Richmond Hill. You don’t know there, so you wouldn’t know it. No. They used to sing, you know, that song, Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill. (Laughs). And we knew each other from being working, not from being young, from working. Yeah. From … started courting, you know how you are? Right young when we started courting. Going out. We used to walk up to Temple Newsam. We didn’t have a car or ault like that. For walking, you had to walk to go everywhere. Well, it were good. Yeah, we used to walk up Red Road, you know where Red Road is? It took you right up to Temple Newsam and through the cou – instead of having to go on – you’d no transport anyway but we used to walk it. We were about sixteen when we started going, yeah, about that, sixteen year old, yeah.” » Read more…

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365 Leeds Stories originated as a storytelling project on the social media outlet, Twitter. Over the course of a year, Matthew Bellwood set himself the challenge of writing a tiny story about the city everyday. This account and cache of stories still exists @365LeedsStories. The material found there has been used as a starting point for several strands of the 365 Leeds Stories project.

secret fossils