The Society makes grants both to individuals and to organisations in support of cultural and scientific activities which increase innovation, outreach and diversity in Leeds and its immediate area. It also supports local museums and galleries and publications relating to the city.

About the Society

The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819, is a charity that promotes interest in science, literature and the arts – in the city of Leeds and beyond. We have meetings, lectures, entertainments, publications and visits.

150th Anniversary of Leeds Bridge – a walking tour

Exactly 150 years after the opening of Victorian Leeds Bridge, learn how the waterways & crossing points relate to the long story of Leeds – with Rachael Unsworth

The River Aire was a vital resource in the establishment and flourishing of a settlement at this spot in Yorkshire. It is also a barrier. The crossing point here in the middle of Leeds has been in use for centuries.

In the mid-Victorian era, with serious congestion becoming intolerable, the Medieval stone bridge – for centuries the only road bridge in Leeds – was at last replaced with a modern metal bridge.

Learn about the changing economic and water environment, the harnessing of the river, the investment in channels, weirs, wharfs, flood defences and the all-important bridges.

Exact location:

Finishes at Granary Wharf at about 16:30.

Please note that there are some unlevel sections and some steps.

Members of LPLS only. You are welcome to become a member (£25 a year. Free for anyone under 25). A public tour is scheduled for 11:00 on the same day – booking here.

Your guide Rachael Unsworth beside the plaque commemorating the opening of Leeds Bridge on 9 July 1873

Rachael first crossed Leeds Bridge when visiting the city in 1988, just as the waterfront was starting to be rediscovered. She didn’t know then that by the mid-1990s she would be a part-time lecturer at the University of Leeds and starting to draw on the city as an example in teaching about long-term urban development. Since the turn of the millennium she has researched and written about topics relating to the city’s past, present and future as well as being involved in a range of organisations and initiatives.

After 19 years as a lecturer, she left to become freelance. She worked with local historian Steve Burt on ‘Leeds – Cradle of Innovation’ (published 2018) and started Leeds City Walking Tours later that year.

Other events you might be interested in...

Explore more