With big capital developments happening on this street, the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) programme is all about bringing people together to explore the culture and heritage of New Briggate, so that it’s history is not lost, it’s users can still connect with it, and people’s stories are told.
New Briggate is the gateway to the city centre of Leeds – the start of the busy and bustling commercial and cultural High Street. With the oldest Church in Leeds, Saint John’s, bordering the High Street, New Briggate was a development of Briggate and became the home of Leeds Grand Theatre in 1878. Since then it has housed other world renowned cultural organisations such as Opera North and The Howard Assembly Room, as well as a fascinating mix of shops, bars, infamous nightclubs, takeaways, cinemas, afro-hairdressers, trams and buses.
What makes this street special is the range of people who use it each day. It is home to a transient community. People using the frequent bus services, the night owls using the taxi ranks after an evening enjoying the independent bars, clubs, karaoke and take-aways, sex workers, lovers of live
theatre, opera and music, and people seeking shelter in St John’s Churchyard. All of this brings together a unique mix of people (often conflicting with one another) that you won’t find on any other street in Leeds.
We have commissioned two artists, Yaku Stapleton and Harry Clayton-Wright, for our project Hidden High Street Histories of New Briggate. This is part of Historic England’s national High Street Heritage Action Zone programme; a 3 year Heritage, Cultural and Engagement Programme exploring the past, present and future of our high streets. Read more about their work here.