Monday, 10 January 2011

Get ready to Spice up your life!

Caption: Collector Liz West holding the Union Jack boots worn by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell

Visitors to Leeds City Museum will be able to add a touch of Spice to their lives when a new special exhibition begins later this month.

Running from Friday 28 January until July, ‘Spiceworld: The exhibition’ will celebrate the most successful girl band of all time – the Spice Girls – as well as examining what it takes to be a modern celebrity.

The basis for the exhibition is the extraordinary collection of Yorkshire’s Liz West, who is the foremost collector of official Spice Girls memorabilia and merchandise in the country with almost 4,000 items of all kinds devoted to the band.

Liz started her collection by buying two copies of the band’s single ‘Spice Up Your Life’ at the age of 12 in 1997, by which time Leeds’ own Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell and Victoria Adams were being referred to all over the globe by the nicknames ‘Scary’, ‘Baby’, ‘Sporty’, ‘Ginger’ and ‘Posh’.

So began an obsession which over the last 14 years has seen Liz collect a huge range of Spice Girls items including outfits worn by the band, accessories, platinum discs, books, magazines and dolls sourced from all over the world.

The exhibition at Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square will be the first time Liz’s collection has ever been on display in its entirety in public.

Among the items on show will be the iconic Union Jack boots worn by Geri Halliwell in the group’s first-ever live concert in Istanbul, Emma Bunton’s blue sequin dress from the band’s memorable performance at the 1997 Brit Awards (where Geri made her show-stealing appearance in the Union Jack dress) and Mel B’s trademark giraffe print catsuit complete with ‘Mel B’ crystal-studded belt.

Other items include outfits worn by Emma, Geri and Mel B on their ‘Spiceworld’ tour, a gold and diamond-studded Chopard watch worn by Victoria, the director’s script from ‘Spiceworld: The Movie’ and the multi-platinum CD the band were awarded for selling over four million copies of the album ‘Spice’ in America in 1997.

Spice Girls memorabilia collector Liz West said:

"I am very excited about the Spice Girls exhibition taking place at Leeds City Museum. I was always extremely keen for this museum to play host to my collection, mainly because of the impressive nature of the venue but also because Leeds is Mel B's hometown.

"I am looking forward to seeing the public's reaction to the exhibition, it will be a great experience for all the family - there will be something to appeal to everyone."

Following the impact of debut single ‘Wannabe’ which topped the charts in 31 countries in 1996, the Spice Girls enjoyed phenomenal success selling over 80 million records worldwide, having nine UK number one singles, starring in their own feature film and creating the ‘girl power’ mantra which is credited with inspiring a generation of girls and women to achieve.

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:

“The Spiceworld exhibition will be a really fun way to start the new year and we are excited about it coming to Leeds City Museum. Whether you are a Spice Girls fan or not this free exhibition is sure to trigger lots of memories from their heyday when you couldn’t move for seeing and hearing them seemingly everywhere.

“This will be the first time this amazing collection has been seen together in its entirety anywhere in the world so we are really looking forward to it.”

Spiceworld: The exhibition will run at Leeds City Museum from Friday 28 January to Sunday 3 July. Admission will be free.

For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at


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Leeds City Region appoints Chair for its local enterprise partnership

Following a competitive selection process, the Leeds City Region Partnership has appointed Neil McLean as Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Board.

Neil is the Managing Partner of DLA Piper Leeds, one of the largest law firms in the world and a key employer in the region. He has served on the Leeds Skills Board, is a director of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and is Chairman of the Board of Governors of Leeds City College. Neil has also been a keen supporter of economic growth and has been involved in various regeneration and redevelopment projects across the region.

Through these roles Neil has acquired a wealth of experience in successfully leading and understanding businesses, and gained a great insight into the challenges and issues around skills provision and delivery.

Councillor Steve Houghton, Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said:
“I am delighted to welcome Neil on board. Neil will bring along years of experience working in the private sector and great expertise in economic regeneration and commerce.
“Neil has a clear understanding of the needs of our economy and will be a valuable asset in the transition to the new partnership and in developing the future direction of the LEP.”

Gary Williamson, Chief Executive of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“This announcement is great news for the city region business community.
“Neil’s background and extensive experience will help the partnership to better understand the needs of our businesses and provide an insight into the challenges they face.
“I am confident that Neil’s approach to tackling challenges and creating opportunities will play an important role in helping the board and the partnership achieve their goals of economic prosperity across the city region.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, Chair of the Leeds City Region Housing Panel and Leader of the City of York Council, said:
“This is a brand new start and the partnership will have an essential role in creating the conditions for employment generation and seeding new businesses in emerging industries right across the city region.
“With Neil's considerable experience across a wide range of companies and sectors we will be able set out the policies linking the business community and the eleven local authorities of the LCR to make this city region more competitive and world class."

John Anderson, chair of the Leeds City Region Employment and Skills Board and BT regional director for Yorkshire and Humber, said:
“Neil has an excellent record of working with businesses and his expertise and business acumen will be a great asset to the partnership and the city region.”

Tom Riordan, Chief Officer of the Leeds City Region Partnership, said:
“Neil is a distinguished member of the business community with a great background both on small and large business environments and with all round expertise that can help the Partnership support private sector recovery efficiently and effectively.
“We are very happy to have Neil on board and looking forward to working together to develop our business case and move into the delivery our programmes of support.”

Councillor Mark Crane, Leader of Selby District Council, said:
“Working side by side with businesses is very important if we are to make a real difference in the future development of our city region economy. I am confident that Neil will play an important role in the successful delivery and the future direction of the new partnership.”

Andrew Palmer, CBI Yorkshire & Humber Director, said:
“The CBI is happy to see the Leeds City Region LEP appoint a business leader to chair its board. This is the beginning of a long process in the forming of LEPs and securing significant, long term business engagement will play an important role in their success.”

Neil McLean, Managing Partner of DLA Piper Leeds and Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The new partnership will bring along the opportunity to prove the difference private and public sector collaboration can really make to our economies at these difficult times. I am very happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to represent the private sector as the Chair of the Board and I am looking forward to contribute to the development of the new partnership”.

The chair of the LEP board will now lead the recruitment of the board members. The board will be responsible for developing the business case for the local enterprise partnership, deliver the partnership’s proposals and oversee the process to a fully operational status.

It is anticipated that the board will be in place in the next few weeks and will be fully operational by April 2011.

Notes to editors:
1. The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council) with businesses and partners to support economic growth across the city region.
2. The Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area is the largest city region economy and financial centre in the country outside London. With a £51billion economy representing 5% of the overall UK economy, over 100,000 businesses and a 3 million population, the city region will continue to be at the forefront in both driving the economy of the North and accelerating national economic prosperity.
3. The Leeds City Region LEP will be based on strong collaboration with the private sector in order to continue to deliver programmes on the following areas of work: sustainable and affordable housing, better connected transport system, skills and training that reflect the needs of city region employers, creating the environment for businesses to innovate and supporting low carbon, sustainable communities.
4. For more information on the Leeds City Region Partnership and the LEP please visit

For press/media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Press and Media Manager
Leeds City Council Press Office Tel: 0113 22 43602