Saturday, 26 December 2015

Visit to Leeds - Tailored Exhibition and Kirkgate Market

David and I cancelled our trip to Cologne with our oldest daughter and her family because I was ill,  but we were able to travel south to Cambridge for Christmas with them, as planned. Our younger two daughters were also there. I have a few related posts to make, later. I'm posting this as is in case anyone is interested in visiting the exhibition before it closes on 3rd January. 

We hadn't been able to cancel our airport hotel so decided to use it on Wednesday night as on Thursday,  Christmas Eve, we were due to visit Helen's fiance's parents for lunch and they live significantly closer to Stansted.

We decided to travel down leisurely on Wednesday. The Tailored Exhibition at Leeds City Museum I'd planned to visit some time ago with my friend from the Leeds area was still on but coming to an end so I requested we make a small detour off the A1 to visit that and Kirkgate Market (specifically fabric shops,  B&M Fabrics in particular).

17 July 2015 – 3 January 2016 at Leeds City Museum 

‘Tailored: A Very British Fashion’ celebrates the art and heritage of tailoring from the eighteenth century to the present day. This unique exhibition at Leeds City Museum brings together a wide range of examples of British tailoring and explores the development of tailoring as a renowned British skill from Savile Row in London to the Leeds' tailoring industry.  

Highlights include a jacket worn by Ringo Starr, made by Leeds-trained tailor to the stars Dougie Millings on loan from the V&A, and a specially commissioned suit, made by acclaimed Leeds-born Savile Row tailor, Kathryn Sargent.  The suit is further complimented with work by contemporary fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Roger Saul for Mulberry. 

The exhibition was entirely appropriate given Leeds’ links to tailoring. I hadn't realised that the Leeds tailor Hepworths had become Next. I was allowed to take photos as long as I didn't use flash apart from two displays but it was rather dark so many didn't come out and I haven't attempted to recreate here.  Mainly displays of garments and not much about construction. I was rather taken by a riding outfit but unfortunately as it was black it didn't photograph. The model had such a tiny waist! It's impossible to imagine that nowadays. Overall, you might say the exhibition was small but perfectly formed; each display had interesting information. There were also two interactive exhibits - styling your own suit and trying on different styles. We were finished much more quickly than we anticipated as the exhibition was rather small, though it was free entry, so I was glad that we hadn't travelled to Leeds specially.

We walked through Leeds to the Kirkgate Market. I have been to Leeds before but not for a while now. Some of the shops were the usual suspects of many town centres. One area has lots of high class shops - Harvey Nicks and the Victoria Quarter with lots of higher end high street shops. I had a quick look but that's not why I'd gone to Leeds.

Kirkgate Market currently has work going on and is therefore a little smaller than usual,  apparently. What amazed me is that it reminded me so much of Grainger Market in Newcastle, though Grainger Market only has one, rather disappointing,  fabric stall. I reckon the haberdashery stall/shop was so similar they could be branches of the same parent (Habiknit?) - I didn't check. We walked around. There was a helpful information area where I got directions to B&M Fabrics,  shop and stall. I was specifically seeking the fabric made up by The Crafty Creek; I realised they might not have any,  of course. They didn't. However, the shop offered to post when it came back in. I bought fabric (oh my!  But only 2.5 metres of textured turquoise slightly stretch fabric) from their stall. I found them very helpful in both.

We went back to the museum cafe for a late light lunch but hadn't checked the times and were only able to get drinks and cakes. Unfortunately, we were really too late to travel to Lotherton Hall for their 50s dress display. We decided just to travel on.

My middle daughter is currently managing a pub and we decided to go there for our evening meal. This was 3 hours or so drive, plus a comfort stop in Boundary Mills,  so we got to the pub about 7pm, perfect. Nice meal. We had planned to drop off our presents with our oldest daughter as otherwise there was a risk of theft (as of course there had been in Leeds) however their flight was late and we ended up travelling to our hotel at Stansted without seeing them.

I was so glad I hadn't tried to go to Cologne - it would have been too much and risked spoiling Christmas. We had a lovely Christmas. 


  1. Some years back I regularly went to Leeds for work one day most weeks and tried to get out at lunchtime to walk to the market for the fabric stalls. There was one which had great knit fabrics.

    1. They were certainly great fabric stalls. I didn't want to add to my stash for the sake of it, though! I nearly managed. Sadly, all this rain we've been having had taken its toll in Leeds (and elsewhere in Yorkshire and Lancashire) and many streets in the city centre are under water, I saw on the News last night. I certainly saw flooding in the fields beside the A1(M) on the way home yesterday evening but we weren't personally affected. I need to contact my friends in the area today. A nearby neighbour has flooding which was an issue a few years ago until some work was done but I guess the volume of rain has overcome that too. We don't have very much defence against nature!

  2. Sounds so lovely Anne. Are you well now?

    1. Thank you, Mary. I'm better than I was but I have an autoimmune disorder which is chronic and not currently under control (but not too bad, fortunately). It's nice to be back home now! I'm thinking of everyone in Leeds and York area because of the massive flooding there, now. Areas I visited are under water. And of course it's not over in Cumbria where they suffered massively. Climate change is real.


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