Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days

Leeds Minster Heritage Open Days

Leeds Minster is celebrating Heritage Open Days with a full programme of activities, culminating in the unveiling of a newly conserved portrait of church-builder Rev Dr Walter Farquhar Hook.

On Friday 8th September, Dr Christopher Newton will delight audiences with an organ recital concentrating on music with an English theme. The concert starts at 12.30pm and light refreshments will be available. More details are available at organrecitals.com

On Saturday 11th September, it is the turn of the bell-ringers, as the Leeds Minster Society of Change Ringers attempt an ambitious full peal of twelve bells. This arduous and challenging sequence of ringing starts at 10.30am and will continue throughout the morning.

There will be guided tours of the historic Minster Church on Thursday at 11am and 2pm and again on Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 3.30pm.

Dr Walter Farquhar Hook portraitThe weekend will also see the first public display of a striking portrait of the celebrated Vicar of Leeds Dr Hook. For many years the painting hung in the Parish Office, but time had taken its toll and the canvass had become dirty and discoloured. Refurbishment of the office and donations from parishioners provided the opportunity to have the painting cleaned and conserved by Harrogate conservator Francis Downing, ready for it to be re-hung on public display at Leeds Minster.

Hook arrived in Leeds a hundred and eighty years ago, so it is fitting that his portrait will be unveiled this year. The unveiling ceremony – organised with Leeds Civic Trust - will take place on Sunday 10th September at 6.30pm, immediately after a special evensong service lead by Rector Designate of Leeds Canon Sam Corley with the Minster Choir, which begins at 5.30pm to which all are invited. Special guests who will be in attendance include Hook’s great-great-granddaughters Caroline Pepler and Anne Beesley. They have a tremendous affection and pride in their illustrious ancestor and they have kindly agreed to unveil the picture itself.

Leeds historian, Dr Kevin Grady will also give a short talk about Hook. Commenting on his legacy, he said, ‘Dr Walter Farquhar Hook was the charismatic and dynamic ‘High Churchman’ who transformed the life and work of the Anglican Church in Victorian Leeds when it was being overwhelmed by the town’s transformation into a large industrial city. Not only did he rebuild the Parish Church but he brought new churches and schools and mission work aplenty to the working class masses and provided a model of parish life and worship which was copied across the country.’

The Minster Church on Kirkgate opens its doors from 10am to 3pm each day, and all activities are offered free of charge with donations welcome.