Friday, 3 February 2012

Bedtime stories with a difference as Leeds prepares for ancient Egypt exhibition

Caption: Objects on show in the exhibition will be (MANDATORY CREDIT all images copyright © the Trustees of the British Museum - from top):

- Wooden bed with gold and silver decoration

1126 - 1069 BC, Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses IX, Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt
- Bronze figurine of a royal consort

1069 - 656 BC, Egypt
- Papyrus with hieratic writing from the Teaching of Amenemhat

A 3,000-year-old bed and the account of an early royal assassination are just two of the standout objects from a major new exhibition on ancient Egypt which will be on display at Leeds City Museum from next week.

The touring exhibition entitled ‘Pharaoh: King of Egypt’ featuring over 130 objects from the British Museum will be on show from Saturday 11 February to Sunday 17 June 2012 at the museum off Millennium Square with admission being free.

The display will explore the lives of the Pharaohs and their role as head of state, chief priest and commander of the army. Themes to be examined include the realities of ruling a complex society and dealing with issues such as international diplomacy, tomb-robbing, civil war and foreigners on the throne.

And among the items sure to catch the eye of visitors will be a wooden bed dated 1126- 1069BC from the Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses IX found in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. Originally thought to be the remains of a royal throne when they were first presented to the British Museum in 1887, they were correctly reassembled as a bed complete with fine, darkwood legs carved into a bovine form while the intricate design also includes cobras made of gold sheet metal and ebony as well as silver rings.

For those more of a murder-mystery slant, there is also a text from 1295-1186BC which tells the chilling tale of how Pharaoh Amenemhat met his demise. Known as 'The Teaching of Amenemhat', the story is the king's account of how he was attacked in the palace as he slept when his son the crown prince Sesostris was not with him. The text, which was regarded as such a classic in ancient Egypt it was still being copied over seven-and-a-half centuries later, was seen as a warning from the dead king to his successor to trust no-one to ensure he would not suffer the same fate.

Fashionistas are also catered for with an example of how royalty dressed in Egypt in 1069-656BC. A bronze figurine of a royal consort or queen wears a traditional tight-fitting dress, and possibly a beaded overskirt. The woman's long wig is studded with tiny strips of metal, which represent gold or silver rings, threaded on the tresses. On her wig is a cap in the form of a vulture with wings outspread beside her face. Unfortunately the queen’s face which was likely to have been covered with sheet gold has been all but lost due to damage, presumed to be when the gold was pried off by thieves eager to sell the metal.

Developed by the British Museum in partnership with the Great North Museum, the exhibition shows objects and artefacts spanning over 3,000 years of history including stunning palace decorations, sculpture, jewellery and papyri.

The exhibition will be free to enter and will feature audio-visual displays, interactives and family trails. It will also be the first major special exhibition of its type to be on display in the museum’s central Leeds Arena.

The exhibition will also complement the famous ‘Leeds Mummy’ Nesyamun, who is on permanent display in the ‘Ancient Worlds’ section of the museum.

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

“We are all getting really excited now as the days tick down to this fantastic exhibition opening in Leeds City Museum. The items to be on display are amazing and each one has its own unique and fascinating story attached so we look forward to seeing people flock to see them for themselves from next week.”

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor said:

“Leeds City Museum is the home of some fantastic treasures, including a wonderful collection from the ancient world. We are delighted that this wonderful exhibition exploring the lives of the pharaohs will be shown at the heart of the museum. The exhibition has attracted huge crowds at its first two venues and I’m sure the same will happen in Leeds.”

For the latest information visit or to find out more about Leeds City Museum, visit the website at

Notes to editors:

• Pharaoh: King of Egypt is supported through the generosity of the Dorset Foundation.
• The tour is organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK scheme. Partnership UK is the strategic framework for the British Museum’s programme of engagement with audiences throughout the country.
• The British Museum recently worked with Leeds Museums at Lotherton Hall with the exhibition ‘Warriors of the Plains’ in summer 2011.
• As well as Leeds City Museum, the exhibition is also visiting: Great North Museum: Hancock, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
• The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum houses the largest collection of Egyptian objects outside Egypt, which illustrate every aspect of the cultures of the Nile Valley, from the Neolithic period (about 10,000 BC) until the twelfth century AD.

For further information on the British Museum please contact:
Esme Wilson - or call 020 7323 8394.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Major market investment planned

Council chiefs will be asked to agree to start work on developing plans for major investment in Kirkgate Market at a meeting next week.

Kirkgate Market has had a number of successes in recent months winning two awards, increasing footfall and attracting new tenants. Now there is a real opportunity to build on this success and invest in the market to make the market even better.

At a meeting of executive board on Friday 10 February, members will be asked to agree to commence feasibility work on the refurbishment of the Market. Plans are to proceed with a feasibility study into a modern extension to replace the 1976,1981 and George Street shops, for further refurbishment of the 1904 and 1875 halls and maintaining the outdoor market next to the indoor market. Proposals will be developed based on the Market being approximately 25% smaller than it is today.

As a contribution to the potential costs of redevelopment and refurbishment, it has been suggested that half a million pounds of the annual markets surplus is earmarked which will be used to finance feasibility work and additional borrowing.

Council officers are recommending that feasibility work is undertaken to explore a range of refurbishment and redevelopment propositions at a variety of cost levels.

Councillor Gerry Harper, Leeds City Council markets champion said:

“We want to ensure that we take the opportunity to make the market the best is can possibly be, but we know this means a large amount of investment.

“One of the things we are looking at is to reduce the size of the market to enable us to work towards one of our goals of ensuring 100% lettings.

“There are a number of options we still need to look into, but we want to ensure that we are able to improve conditions at the market for both tenants and customers so as we can attract more customers and tenants to the market.

“There have been a number of rumours going around about market traders being made to wear uniforms in the future and I would like to stress that this is not the case – we are at the early stages of our research into ensuring a sustainable future for the market, and there are a number of options feeding into our research – but uniforms for traders is not one of them.

The council published the report from markets specialist Quarterbridge in January 2012, and has since received a number of comments. The report was also presented to the council’s regeneration scrutiny board in January 2012.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Great start to the new year for family in east Leeds

As part of an adaptations project in east Leeds a number of extensions have been made to a family’s house which will give their daughter much better movement around the home.

Miss Claire Asquith lives with her mother Anne Procter who cares for her full time. Claire suffers from Lennox Gastaute (a severe form of children’s epilepsy) and suffers seizures on a daily basis. The property needed to be adapted to suit her needs.

The project has provided Claire with wheelchair access to the property and an extended lounge to incorporate a dinning table, which means the family can sit and have meals together. A large bedroom extension with a specialist bathroom has also been fitted.

******** Media opportunity ********

All media are invited to 14 West End house, Boston Spa, on Monday 6 February at 10:00am to view the new improvements. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

******** Media opportunity ********

The council signed a £1m contract with Care and Repair (Leeds), a local charity who provide services for older people and disabled people in Leeds, earlier last year. The types of adaptations undertaken across Leeds include installing wet floor showers, showers over baths, ramps to homes and extensions to houses.

East North East Homes Leeds have worked in conjunction with Care and Repair to make this specific adaptation possible.

Claire’s family are very excited with the new additions to the house and said:

“The new adaptations to the house will make a huge difference to our lives, and makes things a lot easier.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for neighborhoods and housing said:

“The work that has been done on the property looks fantastic, and will no doubt make living in the house a lot easier for Claire and her family.

“The project has undertaken a number of adaptations over the last few months, which have made profound difference to the tenants living arrangements.

“It is important that we continue this good work and make sure houses are up to a high standard with the appropriate disabled access.”

Bill Rollinson MBE, Director of Care & Repair Leeds said:

"We are really pleased that Claire will now be able to live safely and happily in her own home. This work illustrates the difference that can be made to the lives of disabled people by carrying out adaptations to their homes and the advantages that can be achieved by our organisation working in partnership with Leeds City Council and East North East Homes. "

Notes to editors:

About Care and Repair

Care & Repair has a contract with the ALMOs in Leeds to carry out disabled adaptations, and these range from minor adaptations, ramps, bathroom conversions through to large house extensions.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450