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Culture of Leeds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leeds is known for its culture in the fields of art, architecture, music, sport, film and television. As the largest city in Yorkshire, Leeds is a centre of Yorkshire's contemporary culture and is the base for Yorkshire's television (both BBC and ITV) and regional newspapers.

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Leeds has one art gallery, Leeds Art Gallery, situated on The Headrow in the city centre. The gallery opened in 1888 and houses a collection of works of various ages. The gallery is owned and operated by Leeds City Council and is free to members of the public. Attached to it is the Henry Moore Institute.

Art is taught in Leeds at Leeds College of Art which has alumni including Henry Moore and Damien Hirst.

Leeds city centre has a variety of statues and sculptures on public display.


Leeds has a variety of architectural styles, including a great deal of Victorian architecture, which developed during Leeds' rapid growth through the industrial revolution. Notable architecture from this era includes the town hall and the Corn Exchange. Leeds has little in the way of architecture that predates this era; however, examples include St John the Evangelist's church and the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey.

Leeds also has several examples of notable twentieth-century architecture. This includes the art-deco Queens Hotel and the brutalist Roger Stevens Building at the University of Leeds and formerly the Leeds International Swimming Pool. In recent years Leeds has seen the development of numerous high-rise development with notable developments including Bridgewater Place, Opal Tower and the Skyplaza.


Leeds hosts the Leeds West Indian Carnival in its Chapeltown district, which is home to a sizable West Indian community. This takes place each August and is the longest running West Indian carnival in Europe, having taken place since 1967. The 2009 event attracted an estimated 150,000 visitors.[1]


Several notable writers and poets have hailed from Leeds. These included poets Alfred Austin, Tony Harrison and Barry Tebb. Writers from Leeds include Helen Fielding, famous for Bridget Jones's Diary, and Keith Waterhouse, famous for the novel Billy Liar. Tony Harrison described his relationship with the city in his infamous poem "V".


Leeds has several museums, including one national museum, the Royal Armouries.[2] Other museums include the Leeds City Museum, the Thackray Medical Museum, Armley Mills Museum and the Abbey House Museum.

There are also local museums in Horsforth and Otley displaying exhibits of local historical interest.


A busker on Briggate
A busker on Briggate

Leeds is home to Opera North, Northern Ballet and The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD).

The Leeds International Pianoforte Competition is held every year at Leeds Town Hall and the Great Hall at the University of Leeds.

Leeds also has a symphony orchestra.

Leeds has a notable musical scene, and has produced many bands and artists. Bands from Leeds include Chumbawumba, Kaiser Chiefs, the Pigeon Detectives and Soft Cell. Musical artists from Leeds include Corrine Bailey Rae and Mel B.

Leeds has several music venues, including the O2 Academy, the City Varieties, and the 13,500 capacity, entertainment focused Leeds Arena. Leeds Town Hall and the Leeds University Students' Union host concerts, and a smaller venue is also in operation at Leeds Met Students' Union.

Music festivals

Leeds has been home to several music festivals throughout the years; these include Party in the Park and Leeds Festival. Leeds Festival has run at Temple Newsham and Bramham Park since 1999. The Leeds Classical Music Festival ran from 1858 until 1985.


Leeds has teams representing all the major national sports. Leeds United A.F.C. is the city's main football club. Leeds Rhinos (Rugby league), Leeds Carnegie (Rugby Union) and Yorkshire County Cricket Club are also based in the city.


Elland Road, the city's main football stadium
Elland Road, the city's main football stadium

Leeds United are the only professional side in the city since Farsley Celtic folded in 2010. Other notable teams include Garforth Town and Guiseley A.F.C.

Rugby League

Leeds has two professional Rugby League teams, these being Leeds Rhinos and Hunslet. There are many other professional Rugby League teams in areas surrounding Leeds.

Rugby Union

There are two professional Rugby Union teams in Leeds, these being Leeds Tykes, and, lying just outside the city sprawl but within the Metropolitan District, Otley R.U.F.C..


Yorkshire County Cricket Club's main ground is the Headingley Carnegie Stadium in the city.


Leeds has a large Olympic swimming pool situated at the John Charles Centre for Sport, which replaced earlier facilities at the Leeds International Swimming Pool.

Film and television

Leeds is home to both BBC Yorkshire and ITV Yorkshire (formerly Yorkshire Television). Many television series have been set in Leeds, including At Home with the Braithwaites, The Beiderbecke Trilogy, Fat Friends and Married Single Other. Several films have also been set in the city, such as The Damned United and Mischief Night.


Leeds city centre has three theatres, these being the Carriageworks, the Grand Theatre and the large modern West Yorkshire Playhouse. Neighbouring Bradford has the Alhambra which attracts many large performances.

Playwright Alan Bennett hails from the city and many of his plays including his televised Talking Heads were set in Leeds or areas surrounding the city.


External links

This page was last edited on 13 December 2018, at 12:19
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