On this walk, I'll take you back to 1852 - the year Queen Victoria came to Leeds to open the historic Town Hall. Built by the famous architect with the best Victorian name - Cuthbert Broderick - our town hall was a statement on the wealth and ambition of one of the first powerhouse cities of industrial Britain. We'll move on to Leeds Art Gallery to meet some of Leeds' most famous Victorian citizens and their impressive collection of 19th-century painting and the beautiful Tiled Hall Café. From there, we promenade through the recently restored and wonderfully opulent shopping arcades where commerce, leisure and pleasure all mixed in the 1890s. I'll tell you the story of why Robin Hood tells Leeds the time! Our penultimate stop is another of Broderick's designs - the Corn Exchange. Once a centre for agricultural trade, it is now one of only three Corn Exchanges still operating businesses today. We'll look at the amazing sculptural designs on the outside of the building and its iron and glass dome interior. Finally, we'll finish at Kirkgate Market, another historical site still enjoyed and used by the people of Leeds today. We'll pass by some of the beautiful produce stalls, including the first Marks and Spencers store! I'll drop you off in the Food Court where you can sample some of the best independent street food in the North.
I'm an art historian and tour guide who's been living and learning in the heart of Yorkshire for ten years. I got my PhD in History of Art last year and I've lectured all over the world on my favourite subject - the Victorians! I'd love to show you what makes this historical city so special and different from London. There are so many interesting stories from Leeds' past!
Our walking tour will cover the most famous and beloved sites in Leeds including the Town Hall, Leeds Art Gallery, the shopping arcades, the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate Market. Walking through these spaces you'll discover the motivations and messages that made Leeds such a wealthy and powerful city in the nineteenth century. My tour encourages you to look up and around and I'll reveal the hidden histories of these sites.
The walking on the tour is moderate, over flat urban pavement and we will be on our feet for the duration (2.5 hours). Please wear comfortable shoes and appropriate outwear in case of inclement weather. Each location is picturesque and there will be plenty of time to stop for photos!
Victorian Leeds with an Art Historian