New Project! A Garden through Time

Published on Wednesday, 22 July 2020, 9:25pm

Thanks to a grant from Leeds Inspired, we are about to embark on a brand new project. Together with audio producer Rosie Parsons, we will produce an audio walk that will follow the boundary of the Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens, which existed in Headingley between 1840 and 1858.

The Gardens opened to the public in 1840 but were underfunded from the start and were dogged throughout their short existence by monetary troubles. Despite being taken into private ownership in 1848 and run on a more determinedly commercial footing, the gardens closed their gates for good, just ten years later.


Today, the Gardens are long gone but their existence has not been forgotten. There are traces of them to be found in the archives at Leeds Central Library; records of the minutes of the Gardens committee, adverts like the one you have just heard, newspaper articles concerning special events and gala days and printed letters from a variety of correspondents offering their opinions on the proper running and management of the attraction. There are also physical traces that have been left behind, such as the remains of the bear pit on Cardigan Road.

We will work with local artists Alison Andrews, Pauline Mayers, Oscar Stafford and Joe Williams, who will create their own responses to the Gardens and their history. We will also invite members of the Headingley community to help shape the walk and its content.

We aim to launch ‘A Garden through Time’ in September 2020 and it should be available for download from this site. Watch this space!

Matthew and Alison, July 2020

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