Hidden Histories of New Briggate Walking Tours

Join local experts from all walks of life for a special series of talks and tours uncovering the hidden histories of one of Leeds’ most fascinating high streets, New Briggate…

Join us this summer for a specially created series of tours as we dig deeper into the Hidden Histories of New Briggate, and regeneration of the street progresses as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Each tour will be led by a local expert exploring the street’s rich history, bringing the stories of those who have lived, worked or spent time on the street to life. We’ll explore jazz, food, architecture, nightlife, lost cinemas and Jewish histories, the theatre and much more. We will also introduce you to some of the renewal and regeneration projects taking place in the street, as well as the people working on them.

Tours are free to attend and will be running throughout the summer. We have announced the first of these events which you can book below. We will be announcing further events throughout the summer via our social media channels and our newsletter, so watch this space!

The tours and talks are part of the Hidden Histories of New Briggate and the New Briggate High Street Heritage Action Zone Project, brought to you by East Street Arts, Leeds City Council and Historic England.

Schedule of walking tours

Book your place below, spaces are limited so be quick! Access information for each event is available via the Eventbrite booking forms or email Alice.bb@esamail.org.uk with any questions.

Backstage at The Grand
Tuesday 31 May, 1-2pm

This event is now fully booked. You can join the waitlist via Eventbrite below.

Leeds Grand Theatre has stood at the top of New Briggate for over 140 years. Join us on a tour of the theatre and find out about some of the people and events that have shaped the history of ‘The Grand Old Lady of Leeds’.
Access information: Leeds Grand Theatre is accessible by several sets of stairs as well as step-free access. Backstage the tour will use a route with both steps and a lift, however parts of the backstage are only accessible using steps (See Eventbrite form for more information).

Protest and The Plaza
9 June, 1pm – 2pm

Join performance artist Harry Clayton-Wright as they share their research journey for an upcoming and exciting project, offering an alternative history of New Briggate involving stories of protest, cult films and from The Plaza cinema.
Access Information: Inside the Howard Assembly Rooms there are both stairs and a lift. Outside there will not be opportunities to sit down, inside the Howard Assembly Rooms there is seating in the auditorium (See Eventbrite form for more information).

Jewish Heritage of New Briggate
12 June, 1.30-2.30pm

Nigel Grizzard, Leeds Jewish historian, leads a tour focussing on the Jewish involvement in the area. The site of two synagogues and adjacent to the original Leeds Jewish quarter of the Leylands, New Briggate was a hub of Jewish life from the 1860s to the 1920s. Join Nigel for this hour-long walk to discover a fascinating past.

Access information: The tour will take place outside, moving from Merrion Way to New Briggate. The ground outside may be uneven. There are some building works taking place, which may create loud noises and there will be traffic, music from bars and restaurants and other sounds.

Step inside St. John’s Church
16 June, 1-2pm

St John’s church is packed with 17th-century pews to seat a large urban congregation. Join Dr Lucy Jessop to learn more about the pews and their significance, and how they have been changed and added to over time. Lucy is a Senior Architectural Investigator at Historic England, where she researches historic places and buildings across Yorkshire and the North East.
Access Information: St. John’s Church is accessed by a set of steps from New Briggate. The church advises wheelchair users to access the building using Merrion Gardens where level access is available (See Eventbrite form for more information).

Cinema Memories Walking Tour
25 June, 11-12pm

Hyde Park Picture House will be hosting a short walking tour to visit some of the many historical cinema locations in the city centre, culminating at the old cinemas of New Briggate. On this tour you are encouraged to share memories of visiting cinemas in Leeds.
Access Information: Access information: The tour will be at ground level throughout and will not involve any stairs or step access. The tour will be outside so the ground may be uneven (See Eventbrite form for more information).

Other things!