Written by Louise Birch, Senior Librarian at Leeds Libraries
As the summer recedes and changing leaves signify autumns approach it can mean only one thing, September is upon us and with it the annual Heritage Open Day Festival. Established in 1994 the festival has grown from a one-day event to a weeklong community heritage festival. While 2020 prevented us throwing open our doors, the unlocking of 2021 means we are back with events and activities.
In 2019 we launched our first Heritage Open Day themed walk around the city centre, the Power & Protest tour takes you around the city showing sites of importance. In 2020 we created a new tour, themed around Hidden Nature, a walk through the city centre taking in green spaces and haven to nature. This year we’re back again with Edible Leeds, our take on the Edible England theme.
Our tour, which will be hosted on our Secret Library Leeds blog, takes you around 27 sites of culinary interest in Leeds. The best part is you can do the walk alone or with friends completely at your leisure. If you’re unable to get out and about keep an eye on our blog where we’ll post more information about the individual sites.
We will be relaunching our Local History in-person talks also. On Friday 10th September, to kick off the festival, we will deliver a talk covering the highlights of our Edible Leeds trail. Find out about the early espresso bars of Leeds, a Victorian vegetarian establishment and all about that time Leeds built an arch out of bread.
Though out the week we will be delivering guided tours of our Grade II*listed, Victorian Central Library. This masterpiece building in the historic heart of Leeds features Pott’s clocks, grinning stone dogs and a wander through the back corridors and staircases of one of the city’s most amazing public buildings.
Heritage tours usually feature a charge however for the heritage Open Day they are completely free, booking is essential.
Our final in-person event will be a local history talk that delves into the culinary collections of Leeds Libraries. Discover the Town Hall catering ledger and the secrets of an A-list Victorian banquets at the Leeds Town Hall, hear all about Britain’s first craft beer house originating right her in our city. And delve into he secrets of the Henderson Relish patents.
We’d love for you to join us at our events, or if you chose to follow the Edible Leeds trail then please let us know if you enjoyed it.
You can also visit Thackray for this years Heritage Open Day, for our Gruel and Graft event!