March 2011

During a short stay in Wakefield in 2011 we took the very short trip up the M1 to visit Leeds for a few hours. We didn’t really know what it held of interest to the average tourist other than seeing some signs for an armoury that seemed like it would be our sort of thing. As it turned out we couldn’t find the armoury because the signs to it just sort of disappeared as we were following them so we made do with finding a car park and wandering into the city, camera in hand. The first thing we spotted were lots of statues. Leeds like its statues.

We popped into the Leeds Gallery next, mainly because one of us needed to pee. This gave us the opportunity for a bit of a look around (no photos though) and a quick stop to hydrate and grab a snack in the café. We were quite impressed with the tilework and general decorations of it.

We followed that up with a visit to the very good Leeds Museum (in a separate post) and with our cultural quotient filled we proceeded to explore the Yorkshire city on foot. As with a lot of big, old cities up north, away from much of the flattening that took place during World War 2, the architecture was fabulous and on a grand scale. Leeds city centre looked to be a quite well-to-do place, full of interesting shops and plenty of indoor shopping arcades.

One section of the pedestrianised shopping precinct in Leeds seemed to be popular with street entertainers including a Morris dancing side. We’ve got a soft spot for the traditions of the Morris so we stayed and watched for a little while, enjoying the interactions with other people.

Religious buildings were dotted around the city, as you’d expect.

Our walk back to the car park after we’d finished with nosing around some of the shops and stopping for a drink took us through more rundown, more modern streets and styles of architecture. There were still some gems among the bland buildings and even a few pieces of sculpture to punctuate that there was still some pride in these more industrialised areas.

A highlight of the trip was getting spotted with my camera by a local guy who then proceeded to pose and asked me to take a photo of him showing off his muscles. A little bit of street portraiture is absolutely fine with me so I was happy to oblige with a shot of this Leeds chap, whoever he was.

Leeds, Muscly Yorkshireman

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