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Search Aspect (LGBT )
Location - Leeds & District

Briggate, LNER Bridge (City Centre)
Black & White image11th June 1933. View looking from the junction of Briggate with Call Lane (right) and Swinegate (left) through the London and North Eastern Railway bridge on Lower Briggate. The Golden Lion Hotel can be seen on the left with Fred Verity and Son, Ironmongers on the right. In February 2017, this bridge was repainted in rainbow colours. The LGBT campaigner, Ross McCusker called the bridge, ‘Freedom Bridge’. The name was inspired by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker's Freedom Flag.
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Carriageworks, Millennium Square (City Centre)
Colour image2nd August 2019. Jordan Small, pictured here at the Carriageworks on 2nd August 2019, is an event organiser who has been creating social spaces for QTIPoC (Queer/Trans/Intersex People of Colour) communities in Leeds since 2016. His brand, Be LGBTQ, holds events ranging from discussion to fashion shows and clubbing (under the banner ‘R’n’B with Edges’) in recognition that existing queer venues cater to an often exclusively white crowd. Other QTIPoC spaces in the city include a society at the University of Leeds begun in 2019 and various events at CLAY (formerly Live Art Bistro) on Regent Street, such as ‘Queer Migrant Takeover’ in 2018, and workshops at Leeds’ Alternative Pride in 2018 and 2019. The Leeds Queer Film Festival, established in 2005, also shows QTIPoC cinema from around the world. (Photograph by Geoff Brokate.) Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/belgbtq/full-interview
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City Square, looking east (City Centre)
Colour image20th April 1990. Colour photograph looking east across City Square towards Boar Lane and Bishopgate Street. The statues of Joseph Priestley and the Black Prince can be seen. The tall building on the left is Royal Exchange House; in the centre with the domed roof is the Observatory wine bar, formerly the Midland Bank. On the right is the Queen's Hotel. Two trucks are parked in the square. The early 1990s were the most active years of the AIDS awareness pressure group, Act Up Leeds, who mounted often elaborate demonstrations to highlight inequalities in scientific and health funding, as well as discriminatory treatment towards gay men resulting from fears around HIV. In 1990, the same year that this photo was taken, Act Up Leeds marked World AIDS Day with a protest based around the Black Prince statue, seen behind the trees to the left of the image. While they didn’t meet their aim of wrapping it entirely in clingfilm (the monument was much larger than the group anticipated!) they still managed to ensure coverage for their cause in the local press. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/world-aids-day-1990/full-interview
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City Square, looking west (City Centre)
Colour image30th April 2007. View looking west across City Square, showing fountains in the centre and left and the statue of the Black Prince on the right. In the background are Mill Hill Chapel, left, and the Park Plaza Hotel, formerly Royal Exchange House, right. Behind these is a new office development, City Exchange, which is advertising offices to let. This building was formerly known as Albion Tower and is situated above Leeds Shopping Plaza. In 2013 Mill Hill Chapel became one of the first places in Leeds to perform same-sex marriages within a religious context.
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Dee Adams paints a pillar box in honour of her daughter's Olympic Gold (City Centre)
Colour image10th August, 2012. Image shows Dee Adams, the proud mother of Olympic Gold Medallist (2012), Nicola Adams, as she gives a formerly red pillar box in Cookridge Street a lick of gold paint. The two pillar boxes, adjacent to the art gallery, are being given the gold treatment in honour of Nicola's outstanding achievement. She won through to the woman's flyweight 51 kg final at the London 2012 Olympic Games where she beat Ren Cancan from China, 16-7. Nicola Adams, who is from Burmantofts, was the first woman boxer to represent England when she was only 18. She went on to win a European Boxing Medal in 2007 and since 2009 has received sponsorship from the International Olympic Committee. Royal Mail has honoured each Team GB Gold Medallist with a gold pillar box in their home town. It has also issued special stamps to commemorate the success of each Gold Medal winner. Born in Burmantofts, Leeds, in 1982, she came out to her family as bisexual as a teenager and went on to top the Independent on Sunday’s ‘Pink List’ in 2012. Photograph by Ian Nipper.
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Dock Green Inn, Ashley Road (Harehills) (2 comments)
Black & White imagec1976-81. View shows the Dock Green public house at the corner of Ashley Road (left) and Stanley Road (right), so called because the premises were formerly the local police station (Dixon of Dock Green was a 1960s TV police drama). Women-only discos organised by local lesbians were held at the Dock Green Inn, Harehills, throughout the 1980s. At their peak, they took place every other Wednesday from 8.30 to 11.00 p.m., alternating with similar nights at the Woodpecker Inn in Burmantofts. At the Dock Green, amateur DJs brought their own records to play on the pub’s sound system in a hired room on the first floor, with customers using a side entrance to bypass the main bar and go straight upstairs, where the staff were all female. Despite the segregation, the events saw no trouble; neither were they attended exclusively by lesbians, being popular with feminist groups and members of organisations such as the Miners’ Wives, whom lesbians had publicly supported. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/dungarees-and-docs/jo-full-interview
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Headrow, Guildford Hotel (City Centre) (5 comments)
Black & White imageUndated. The Guildford Hotel was built in 1900 and was originally situated at number 6 Guildford Street, hence the name. Guildford Street became part of The Headrow after road widening took place in the 1930s. The pub later became known as Oxygen and was noted as the first non-smoking bar in Leeds city centre, before the tobacco ban came into place. It is now (2013) the Northern Monkey. On the left edge is the entrance to Green Dragon Yard. On 15th March 1974 it hosted a reception and coffee evening for attendees of the UK’s first national conference on trans issues, ‘Transvestism and Transsexualism in Modern Society’. Delegates and guests socialised at the hotel from 7.30 to 10.30 p.m. in a safe and friendly atmosphere, while some were also interviewed by the Yorkshire Post. The conference itself was held at the University of Leeds over the following two days, and included lectures, workshops, films and a disco, largely aimed at an audience of trans women. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/the-uks-first-national-trans-conference
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Leeds Pride 2019 (City Centre)
Colour image4th August 2019. This photograph, taken from the main stage of Leeds Pride on 4th August 2019, shows event organiser, Ali, in front of a Lower Briggate packed with revellers. The first Leeds Pride took place on 6th August 2006, when 300 people met on the steps of the Civic Hall before marching along the Headrow with rainbow flags. Since then, the event has grown into a day-long festival attracting over 40,000 people each year, including a parade made up of hundreds of different LGBT+ groups, from community associations to local company staff. Their route begins around Millennium Square and leads down to The Calls, where the bars around Lower Briggate then become the focal point for music and celebration. (Photograph by Geoff Brokate.) Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/leeds-pride/full-interview
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Lower Briggate, looking south (City Centre) (6 comments)
Black & White imagec1967 View of Lower Briggate looking south towards the railway bridge, seen on the right. Shops on the left include Jacksons Stores Ltd., household suppliers, at no.160 Briggate, then the Royal Hotel at no.161 and Halford Cycle and Motor Accessories at 162. In the 1960s, the Royal Hotel was known as a gay-friendly venue.
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Meadow Lane, Old Red Lion (City Centre) (1 comment)
Colour imagec1998. View of Meadow Lane showing the Old Red Lion public house in the centre, with cars parked in front. Dating from the late Georgian period, it is said to be the oldest pub left around the city centre and is now a listed building. In the 1980s it was known as a gay-friendly pub. In the background are Water Lane on the left and Bridge End on the right.
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Mitre Hotel, interior (City Centre) (1 comment)
Black & White imagec1900. View of the luncheon bar at the Mitre Hotel. On the left can be seen equipment for making tea and coffee, and in the centre is a stand full of pies, with the sign "hot and cold pies", and a long case clock. On the right are barrels, beer pumps, and glasses. Above is the ornate ceiling and decorative lamps. The Mitre Hotel, was located at 46 Commercial Street, between Commercial Street and Turk’s Head Yard, near the junction with Briggate. It was previously known as the Horse and Jockey, with a history dating back to 1774. It was bought in 1888 by Henry Child, who rebuilt it as The Mitre. There were several alterations between 1888 and 1907, including the bar moving to the basement, accessed by steps at street level. Henry Child’s eldest son, Harry, owed the business until 1947, when he sold it to Joshua Tetley and Son. The Mitre remained mostly unchanged for 50 years, and was said to be the nearest equivalent in Leeds to a London chop-house. It was also well known for the head waiter, Ettore Martelli, who worked there for 40 years until his retirement in 1950. The hotel closed in 1961 after expiry of the lease on the property, which was owned by the Great Universal Stores group. Although pictured here circa 1900, the bar of the Mitre Hotel, Commercial Street, would have looked much the same in the 1950s, when its discreet, below-street location made it a popular meeting place for gay men in the evenings. Privacy was enhanced by its ornate booths (where lunches were sold to business clientele during the day), large pillars and, according to customers’ memories, a sympathetic attitude from the local police. Many of the men who socialised there would have worn suede shoes and a cravat, both signals of a gay aesthetic in an era when suits and ties were the norm. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/cravats-and-suede-shoes/barry-full-interview
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New Market Street (City Centre) (3 comments)
Black & White image20th March 1949. View looking south east at corner of New Market Street and Kirkgate. To the left are the Midland Bank and the Regent public house. In 1843 Thomas Sykes and Edward Rayner were sentenced to death after committing homosexual acts in the toilets at The Regent. This was later reduced to life imprisonment. On the right in the distance is the dome of the Corn Exchange. Tram lines can be seen.
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Park Square looking north-east (City Centre)
Colour image26th May 2006 View looking north-east across Park Square in the springtime. Park Square was developed between 1788 and 1810 and there are many renovated Georgian buildings to be seen including these in Park Square, north. This side of the square has some of the finest examples, most of which are now offices. The dome of the Town Hall is also in view. Since 2017, Park Square has been the location of an annual candlelit vigil on 20th November to mark the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorating the lives of people killed as a result of transphobia. Members of the trans community join together to grieve, speak out, and share solidarity, while singers from the Yorkshire Trans Choir have also performed songs of sorrow and protest. The choir was founded by Claye Bowler, a member of Non-Binary Leeds, in 2018 to provide a space for trans voices, which do not always easily fit the ‘soprano, alto, tenor and bass’ model of existing choirs. They meet and practise weekly at the University of Leeds. Photograph courtesy of James W. Bell. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/a-song-for-tdor/full-interview-copy
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Solidarity March, The Headrow (City Centre)
Black & White image5th February 1972. Image shows many people, some with banners, gathered in the Headrow as part of a protest march to show solidarity with the people of Northern Ireland several days after the Bloody Sunday killings of the 30th January 1972. Thirteen men were shot dead on that day, and a fourteenth victim was to die several weeks later of his injuries, when members of the British army opened fire during a march through the Bogside area of Derry. The Leeds march was organised by the Northern Ireland Steering Committee and included many representatives of groups and associations. In the background a banner is being carried in support of the Irish people by representatives of Leeds Gay Liberation Front. Another banner reads 'Civil Rights for N.I.' People look on from the top decks of two double decker buses in The Headrow. The Leeds branch of the GLF was established in the early 1970s to promote equality and organise fundraising and social events for gay people. The group met at the University of Leeds student union on Friday nights, followed by drinks at the Fenton pub on Woodhouse Lane, just a few doors down from their campaign headquarters, which opened in December 1973. The GLF were active until 1974-75 when they merged with the university’s student-run Gay Society. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/discovering-the-gay-liberation-front/full-interview
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Swarthmore Education Centre (Woodhouse) (2 comments)
Colour image13th October 1999 View of Swarthmore Education Centre in Woodhouse Square. It moved initially to number 4 in 1919 but now occupies numbers 2 to 7. No. 6 Woodhouse Square was home to wealthy philanthropist Ellen Heaton, her blue plaque reads - '(1816-94) Lived in 6 Woodhouse Square from 1859-94. She was an influential Pre-Raphaelite art patron and an active campaigner for women's rights, education, health, environmental issues and anti-vivisection. Her friend, the poet Christina Rossetti, stayed here'. Swarthmore Education Centre has welcomed LGBT+ groups for decades. Between 1973 and 1994, it was the meeting place of the Leeds branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, whose activities involved lobbying MPs and supporting protest work. A mixed group, with male and female members, they also held discos at Swarthmore. It’s this social side that has kept the group going to the present day, when they still meet, as of 2020, under the name Leeds Gay Community at the premises of Yorkshire MESMAC. Swarthmore is also the rehearsal space of Gay Abandon, one of the country’s longest-running LGBT choirs, founded in 1999. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/friend-a-1970s-telephone-helpline-in-leeds/full-interview
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The Adelphi (City Centre) (3 comments)
Colour image6th October 1999 View of Adelphi Hotel on corner of Dock Street with Hunslet Road on Leeds Bridge. The Adelphi dates back to 1839 although the present inn dates from the turn of the 20th century by architect Thomas Winn (died 1908). Alfred Bellhouse bought the inn in 1889 and stayed there till 1920. From 1989 to 1993, the Adelphi Hotel was the meeting place of the Leeds Bisexual Group, founded by four friends who met at 1988’s BiCon (Bisexual Convention/Conference) in London. Discussions, parties, walks and travel to other events were all organised by its members, who felt misunderstood by the gay community and even faced hostility from some straight people who erroneously blamed bisexual behaviour for the spread of AIDS. The group eventually disbanded in the mid-nineties but, since 2014, there has been another active Leeds Bi Group, who meet at Yorkshire MESMAC, organise events and march in Leeds Pride. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/setting-up-a-yorkshire-bi-group/full-interview
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Travelodge (City Centre)
Colour image17th September 1999.Travelodge, Blayds Court, Blayds Yard, Off Swinegate. A modern glass and brick building. Cars in the carpark. In the 1930s Blayds Yard was home to the Pelican Social Club and was frequented by men, some of whom came dressed in women’s clothing.
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University Road, Leeds University (Woodhouse)
Colour image20th February 1975. View shows buildings of the University of Leeds on University Road. These are some of the oldest parts of the university which were initially part of the Yorkshire College. In the centre is the Edward Baines Memorial Wing, opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on 5th July 1885. Adjoining it to the right is the electrical engineering wing, opened by Edward VII after he became King, on 7th July 1908. In March 1974, the University of Leeds hosted Britain’s first national conference for transvestite and transsexual people. The event was called Transvestism and Transsexualism in Modern Society. Over 100 people attended, and the event featured several talks, as well as a screening of the 1968 documentary The Queen, filmed on New York's underground drag scene. In January 2017, female students at the University of Leeds organised a "women-centric queer dance party" called Scissors, which was held in the University’s Students Union. Their aim was to provide LGBT+ people with a safe space where they could dance and express themselves without fear of prejudice.
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Warehouse, Somers Street (City Centre)
Colour image2019. Suzy Mason is one of Leeds’ most influential club promoters, having cofounded the queer-friendly club nights, Vague and SpeedQueen, at The Warehouse on Somers Street, where this photograph was taken in 2019. Vague (1993-1996) was the first Leeds event to operate on a late licence until 4 a.m., after Suzy successfully argued in court that its largely LGBT+ clientele needed protection from the crowds of other clubbers spilling out of mainstream clubs at 2 a.m. The subsequent SpeedQueen (1996-present), with its emphasis on diversity, spectacle and the celebration of queerness, became a cult sensation and still holds a place on the national club scene. (Photograph by Geoff Brokate.) Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/speedqueen/suzy-full-interview
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Wharf Street (City Centre) (1 comment)
Colour image26th September 1999.View of Wharf Street. Wharf House in which Wharf Hosiery is located is on the right of the image. Several cars are parked on the street which is paved stones. By 2005, the hosiery business pictured here in 1999 had closed and 23-25 Wharf Street stood empty. A grassroots political group, Leeds Action for Radical Change, received funding to turn it into The Common Place, a venue for meetings, workshops and entertainment events, many of which attracted a queer following. After refurbishment in 2011, the venue became Wharf Chambers, a cooperatively owned members’ club with an LGBT-friendly bar that offered an alternative to the more commercial, gay male-dominated venues of Lower Briggate. It has since become particularly popular with young trans and non-binary people. On 31st March 2018, Leeds’ Trans Pride, the first of its kind in the North of England, set off from Victoria Gardens, marched along the Headrow, and led to an after-party here. Link to full story with transcript on WYQS: https://wyqs.co.uk/stories/a-tour-of-cruising-sites-in-leeds/pat-mccusker-full-interview
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