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History-lovers knitting pretty as wool fest returns


A popular celebration of the city’s centuries of textile heritage will return to Leeds Industrial Museum this weekend.

The fifth annual Leeds Wool Festival will take over the historic site this Saturday, June 2, when the museum will welcome a huge programme of stalls, entertainment and activities.

Stallholders in attendance will include The Knitting Goddess, Baa Ram Ewe, Natural Born Dyers, Bradford Guild of Spinners and Weavers and Riverside Spinning.

Visitors will also have the chance to take alpacas for a walk, sample a mobile gin palace and see living history demonstrations featuring Luddites and mill workers.

And this year, festival-goers can also take in two inspiring exhibitions exploring some of the textile industry’s most fascinating figures.

The stunning Queens of Industry exhibition celebrates the women who represented some of the UK’s most prominent industrial powerhouses.

Featuring historic photos, films and exhibits, the exhibition looks at the stories of women elected to be the nation’s Cotton Queens, Wool Queens and Railways Queens, representing the industries at glamorous occasions both at home and abroad.

Also on display is Wool Stories: The Felted Mill, which features the artistic efforts of local members of the International Feltmakers Association (IFA) who were inspired by the museum’s huge collection.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The Leeds Wool Festival is a fabulous tribute to our city’s long and esteemed industrial heritage and it’s fitting that it is held in a place which played such an important role in establishing Leeds as an industrial powerhouse.

“Combined with these two superb exhibitions, I’m sure it will be a memorable celebration of the triumphs of the past and the innovation of those still working within the textile trade today.”

Housed in a mill built in 1805 by noted industrialist Benjamin Gott, Leeds Industrial Museum was once the world’s largest woollen factory.

Production ended in 1969 but the mill was reborn as Leeds Industrial Museum in 1982. Today it is home to traditional looms and a spectacular array of vintage textile equipment, some of which is still operational.

Taking place on June 2 from 10 am until 5 pm, Leeds Wool festival costs £4 for adults or £3.20 concessions which includes museum admission.

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