Leeds Playhouse, Armley Mills and Kirkstall Abbey

A beautiful sunny day for a bus ride into Leeds and a walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal as far as Armley Mills – a city-owned museum partly of weaving, with lots of other stuff chucked in as well.  Its one of those places awaiting European money to turn rooms full of old kit into an effective educational resource.  I suppose under the present regime European money may be replaced by a newly super-rich, tax avoiding entreprenuer and hundreds of early-retired or job-seeking volunteers – the former to take the credit and the latter to do the work. 

Anyway it gave a taste of what Britain was like when it made things, mistreated workers and polluted rivers – so it was really nice .

Just one part of a wonderful display case of styles of nail made by one defunct Leeds factory

Jackie and I are thinking of signing up for a nail making day with a local blacksmith.  I have obtained some oak planks and want to make a new front door in a traditional manner using hand-made iron nails.

Outside, in a yard and awaiting interpretation, part of a gateway celebrating the plumbers craft

After sandwiches in the grounds of the museum we found a bus to carry us to Kirkstall Abbey ruins, also run by the city and having some of the same unlikely books in the gift shop as were in Armley Mills.  I bought a beautifully bound hardback volume on wine and beer making for just £3.99.  Of course monks did like their beer, and one explanation of this circular stonework in the kitchens is that its the base of a big beer fermenting vessel.

Jackie giving scale to the stone base of what may have been a giant beer fermenting vessel at Kirstall Abbey.

After Henry 8 took the church lands for himself Kirkstall became literally the gateway to Leeds, as the main road passed through the nave of the ruined church – marked here by the white gravel.

The Nave at Kirstall Abbey, once a gateway into Leeds.

Back in Leeds I had the chance to photograph one of my favourite naked ladies.  This one is ‘Morn’ and she used to bring light to the city square, I don’t know if she does anymore.

‘Morn’, one of several versions of Morn and Evening statues by Alfred Drury (1856 – 1944) decorating Leeds City Square.

You can see ‘Evening’ here.

Speaking of cast metal, we also walked through the City Market Hall, partly a grand Victorian cast iron edifice, where I snapped these red dragons supporting a mezzanine walkway.

I came up to Leeds many years ago for the Great British Beer Festival – and at that time there was talk of demolishing this market. Such stupidity.

We called at the glorious Victoria for a pint of Leeds Pale before dinner at the newer bar/cafe called Veritas where I drank a Magic Rock Rapture whilst Sue and Jackie sank a bottle of wine.  Then it was on to the Yorkshire Playhouse to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Great set and thoroughly engaging story, well-reviewed in the Guardian the next day.  Late bus home and another lazy day completed!

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