Edible Leeds – Heritage Open Days 2021

This week Senior Librarian, Louise Birch, takes us through some exciting new developments concerning this years Heritage Open Days Festival.

As the summer recedes and changing leaves signify autumns approach it can mean only one thing, September is upon us and with it the annual Heritage Open Days Festival.  Established in 1994 the festival has grown from a one-day event to a weeklong community heritage festival.  While 2020 prevented us throwing open our doors, the unlocking of 2021 means we are back with events and activities.

In 2019 we launched our first Heritage Open Day themed walk around the city centre – the Power & Protest tour takes you around the city showing sites of importance. In 2020 we created a new tour, this time themed around Hidden Nature, a walk through the city centre taking in green spaces and havens to nature.  This year we’re back again, this time with Edible Leeds, our take on the Edible England theme.

Black and white photograph showing Youngman's Fish Restaurant in centre of row of shops on New Briggate.
Youngman’s Fish Restaurant, New Briggate, 1944

Our tour, which will soon be hosted on our Secret Library Leeds blog, takes you around 27 sites of culinary interest in Leeds.  The best part is you can do the walk alone or with friends completely at your leisure, or if you’re unable to get out and about keep an eye on our blog where we’ll post more information about the individual sites.

We will also be relaunching our Local History in-person talks. On Friday 10th September, to kick off the festival, we will deliver a talk covering the highlights of our Edible Leeds trail. Find out about the early espresso bars of Leeds, a Victorian Vegetarian establishment and all about that time Leeds built an arch out of bread. Tickets are free but booking is essential.

Edible Leeds Talk – Friday 10th September, 1pm – Leeds Central Library – Tickets here

Throughout the week we will be delivering guided tours of our Grade II*listed, Victorian Central Library. This masterpiece building in the historic heart of Leeds features Pott’s clocks, grinning stone dogs and you will have the chance to wander through the back corridors and staircases of one of the city’s most amazing public buildings.

Heritage tours usually feature a charge however for Heritage Open Days they are completely free, although booking is essential.

Leeds Central Library heritage tour – various dates – Tickets here

Empty Tiled Hall Cafe with columns on either side of the room and tiled ceiling and walls visible.
Tiled Hall Café area of Leeds Central Library, 2007

Our final in-person event will be a local history talk that delves into the culinary collections of Leeds Libraries.  Discover the Victorian catering ledger and the secrets of an A-list Victorian banquet at the Leeds Town Hall, hear all about Britain’s first craft beer house originating right here in our city.  And delve into the secrets of the Henderson Relish patents. Again tickets are free but booking is essential.

Edible Leeds Libraries – Thursday 16th September, 1pm – Leeds Central Library – Tickets here

We’d love for you to join us at our events, or if you chose to follow the Edible Leeds trail then please let us know if you enjoyed it.

Heritage Open Days runs from 10- 19th September 2021. More Leeds events can be found on their website.

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