Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Thwaite Mills to shed light on a piece of history…

Caption: A key piece of the historic Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum will be reopened for public view this weekend

A piece of industrial history will be opened in Leeds this weekend as Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum in Leeds celebrates the successful restoration of its famous drying shed.

A celebration event to be held from 2pm on Saturday 17th July at the museum in Stourton will see the opening of one of the few remaining industrial drying sheds of its kind in the world following a £200,000 restoration carried out by Leeds City Council.

The project, supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund and the Thwaite Mills Society, has seen the combined drying shed and warehouse restored to it former glory to allow visitors to see its unique underground heating system which was used to dry and store the mill’s putty and ground chalk in the 19th century.

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Media are invited to the opening of the drying shed and warehouse at Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum at 2pm on Saturday 17th July which will include a full tour and interview opportunities with those involved in the restoration.
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As part of the restoration, which began in September 2009, part of the drying shed and warehouse has also been turned into three gallery and exhibition spaces where permanent and temporary exhibits can be put on display to tell the story of the history of the mill and the wider industrial heritage of the area.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We are excited to be opening up this drying shed and warehouse which is of such important significance to industrial heritage not just in the UK but the world.

“A huge amount of hard work has gone into this project and we are very grateful for the efforts and support of everyone involved and hope as many people as possible can come along and see the end product for themselves.”

President of the Thwaite Mills Society Hilary Benn MP said:

“I am delighted to see another stage completed so successfully in the development of the Thwaite Mills Watermill complex, which is an extremely important recreational and educational facility for south Leeds.”

The opening celebration coincides with a day of activities to be held at Thwaite Mills as part of the Waterfront Festival 2010. From 11am to 5pm, the free family event will see a range of arts and crafts stalls as well as boat rides, live music and dance as well as children’s activities.

Chair of the Thwaite Mills Society Dr Margaret L Faull OBE said:

“The opening of the magnificently-restored warehouse/drying shed at Thwaite Mills Watermill is the final stage in the work that the Thwaite Mills Society set out to achieve some thirty years ago in preserving a major part of Leeds’ industrial heritage.”

For further information on Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum, visit the website at or call 0113 276 2887.

Notes to editors:
Thwaite Mills Watermill Museum is one of the last remaining working examples of a water-powered mill in Britain located in tranquil surroundings on an island between the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation just two miles outside of Leeds city centre.
Dating back to 1641 it began life as a fulling mill, before it later became used for wood, oil, and corn-grinding and then for stone-crushing and making putty before being closed in 1976.

The Thwaite Mills Society was formed in 1978 to preserve the site and it reopened as a working museum in 1990 which is now managed by Leeds City Council.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

New book gives voice to the ‘village of youth’

A new book celebrating creative talent across the generations in north-west Leeds is to be launched later this week.

The book entitled ‘Voices from the Village of Youth’ has been produced as part of a writing project organised by Leeds City Council which saw young people from Cookridge Primary School and members of the Older Persons Action in the Locality (OPAL) charity come together to write about their childhood memories and short stories based on the local area.

The book will be officially launched with a celebration event for those who took part at Holt Park Library at 2pm on Friday 16th July, where the project was overseen by librarian Kit Lardner who edited the completed work.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*************************************
Media are invited to the launch at Holt Park Library at 2pm on Friday 16 June which will be attended by those who took part in creating the book.
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The project was carried out to help strengthen community ties in the area by bringing the generations together, and received funding from the council’s adult social care directorate to support the Leeds element of a national drive to improve intergenerational relations.

The book uses archive photos of the area to support childhood reminiscences as well as poems, real and fictional stories and letters from Cookridge past and present. The title is a reference to the marketing literature used in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the new Cookridge Village Estate was described as ‘Cookridge – Village of Youth’.

Project manager Kit Lardner said:

“This project has been a fantastic way of bringing local people together and has been so more successful than we could have a imagined. This book is a real celebration of the creative talents of local people across the ages and it is hugely exciting that it can be seen like this.”

‘Voices from the Village of Youth’ was not intended for widespread sale but will be available to order through Holt Park Library or by going to and is priced at £2.78 (not including postage costs).

For further information contact Kit Lardner at Holt Park Library on 0113 336 8189 or email


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Summer of free swimming for young people in Leeds

Caption: Free swimming is on offer at the new Armley Leisure Centre

Leeds City Council have today confirmed that free swimming for young people is to continue throughout the school summer holidays.

All council-managed swimming pools in Leeds have been offering free swimming for anyone aged 16 and under or 60 and over since April 2009 as part of the national drive to encourage more people to be more physically active in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The scheme which was fully funded by the Government through Sport England was due to end on 31st July following the decision by the new Government to end the free swimming programme as part of their economic savings, but Leeds City Council have now confirmed that the programme will be extended across the city for those 16 and under until 31st August.

In the first year of free swimming in Leeds there were over 247,000 free swimming sessions enjoyed by those 16 and under, an increase of 43 per cent on the previous year.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We are very pleased to be able to say that young people in Leeds will be able to go swimming for free throughout the summer holidays. We are disappointed that the free swimming programme nationally is being ended as it has been very successful, but we hope people of all ages across the city will continue to see the benefits of following a healthy lifestyle.”

Free swimming sessions are available at all 17 council-managed pools, including those at the new Armley and Morley leisure centres which both feature state-of-the-art 25-metre swimming pools and 10m learner pools among the wide range of facilities on offer.

Swimming for under-5s is unchanged and will continue to be available for free in all council-managed pools. For more information on free swimming in Leeds visit and search for ‘free swimming’.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Plans for the regeneration of Leeds south bank and a new city centre park move a step closer

Council chiefs will meet next week to discuss the sustainable redevelopment of the southern part of Leeds city centre, in a scheme that could provide over 20,000 new jobs and create a new city centre park.

As part of Leeds’ role as a regional capital the council has been working with key landowners to develop a long term vision for the area to the south of the river, which is an important ‘gateway’ to the city centre and a prime location for regeneration, business investment and job creation.

A report will go before Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 21July, to inform members of the creation of a draft planning statement for the Leeds south bank. This will mean that any future development proposals for the area, from Victoria Road to Crown Point Road, contribute to the land assembly for a new city centre park.

If agreed by the council’s executive board next week, the Leeds South Bank Draft Planning Statement will form the basis of a three-month public consultation exercise to get the views of the public and all other interested parties before the final planning statement is agreed later this year.

The council has long had an ambition, along with other interested parties, businesses and city centre residents, to provide new green spaces in the city centre, particularly given the huge rise over the past five years in city centre dwellers. It is also recognised that a new park will further improve the attractiveness of the city centre to visitors and new and existing residents, encourage business and retail investment in that part of the city and take the city up a league internationally.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“We have an aspiration for that part of Leeds which is to promote a city centre park both as a destination in its own right and as a catalyst for the reconnection of the South Bank to the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods.

“It is expected that this area of the city centre is likely to change significantly in the next few years. This draft planning statement is the starting point to ensure that any change will provide a long-lasting legacy for the south bank of the city and be a spur to the long-term regeneration of that part of the city.

“We are facing massive cuts from the Government – but this should not stop us having aspirations and plans for the future.”

If the report is approved on 21 July, work will continue to ensure that the regeneration of this area makes it a more vibrant and attractive environment to live, work and visit.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

City's arts ambassadors meet Prince Charles in France

Ten young people from Leeds are set to take part in a prestigious cultural exchange in France which will include a presentation of artwork to Prince Charles.

Their contribution will be part of a ceremony to commemorate Commonwealth soldiers who died during the First World War. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor James McKenna, will also participate in this high profile international event in Leeds’s partner city of Lille.

The Leeds group, aged 14-17, are from the Burley, Seacroft, Beeston and Morley areas. They have been developing a role as arts ambassadors for the city, supported by Youth Point at the Cardigan Centre as part of the Find Your Talent programme. They meet regularly to visit arts and culture venues in the city such as galleries, cinemas, and theatres.

Thanks to a special invitation from Lille, the arts ambassadors will be representing the UK in France for two weeks from July 17th. Their artwork will pay tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the trenches during the battle. Comprising poems, photographs and drawings the collage will be combined with work by other young participants in the exchange programme from Italy and France.

The cultural exchange will be led by Youth Point’s Andrina Dawson and takes place in Lille. Activities will include daily workshops on dance, DJing, slam poetry and museum/gallery visits. The workshops will culminate in a final performance produced alongside the other European exchange students. Many of those participating from Leeds had not had access to cultural opportunities before their involvement with Find Your Talent.

Cllr Adam Ogilvie, executive member for leisure, said:
“This exciting opportunity for young people in Leeds is showing how important culture is in gaining confidence, personal skills and engaging young people with new experiences. It also gives a great sense of pride to the city knowing that young people from Leeds will be representing Britain at this major commemorative event.”

Cllr Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services, said:

“It’s so positive to see young people from Leeds taking part in such a significant event and giving them this opportunity in Europe. Having the chance to create their own work, learn about history and mix with young people from across Europe will give these young people an unforgettable experience.”

For further details contact Adelle Stripe, Find Your Talent communications, 0113 3950876

Additional Information:

Find Your Talent is a national programme aiming to discover how all children and young people can be helped to identify and develop their creative talents through access to regular, high quality cultural opportunities.

Leeds is one of ten Find Your Talent pathfinder areas in England and was selected from over 140 initial applications. It aims to develop new partnerships between the arts, education, heritage, voluntary and youth sectors and to provide opportunities for young people aged 0-19 across the city.

For information on the Find Your Talent pathfinder visit


Lille is one of Leeds’ longest standing partner cities. Leeds City Council has worked in partnership with the city of Lille since 1968. Cooperation ranges from culture, education and youth links to informal exchange of good practice in a variety of fields.

For information on the links between Leeds and Lille, visit