Thursday, 10 March 2011

Explore the hidden Leeds Town Hall

Visitors to Leeds Town Hall will be able to unlock some of the secrets of the most famous building in the city by viewing a new exhibition which starts this week.

Running from Friday 11 March, the exhibition is based around three different strands of artworks which examine the Cuthbert Brodrick-designed building and how people relate to its history. Since first opening in 1858, Leeds Town Hall has enjoyed a rich and varied history including being home to a police station with its Victorian cells, a working courtroom and during the war being used as an air-raid shelter.

Now it is used for weddings, music concerts, comedy shows and even for registering births, and the exhibition is designed to celebrate this history as well as opening up more of the less well-known parts of the building to the public.

The first part of the exhibition is the Postcard Project. Postcards have been distributed round the city for people to fill in with their stories and memories of the Town Hall and post back. A few of the stories received so far include; dancing on the stage, getting married, being on the jury for a murder trial, attending Light Night and graduation ceremonies.

A local artist and creative writer have been holding workshops with community groups to produce detailed postcards using a range of creative writing and visual art techniques.

Postcards have been completed by people ranging from age five to 70. Some of the completed cards can be seen on the project’s flickr site:

'Prepare to Cheer' by Amelia Crouch is the second strand of the exhibition and is an artwork relating to different functions of the Town Hall. Presented as a series of six brass plaques, the artwork refers to both past and present, symbolic and functional uses of the Town Hall.

The third strand of the exhibition will be a series of photographs taken by David Lindsay who spent a day at the Town Hall exploring and creating images of the spaces that the public don’t have access to, to try and tell a story of the history and character of the building.

Leeds City Council arts and venues manager Matthew Sims said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for people in Leeds to celebrate the rich history of Leeds Town Hall and to be part of an exhibition in one of Leeds’ iconic buildings. We are pleased to also be able to showcase work by Leeds artists David Lindsay and Amelia Crouch.”

The exhibition project is coordinated by Leeds City Council’s arts & regeneration unit and can be seen during normal Leeds Town Hall opening hours until Saturday 11 June.

For media enquiries please contact
Arts & regeneration, Leeds City Council, on 0113 2476419