We are Bramley: Saturday Social at Bramley Lawn

Map of Bramley and Stanningley 

On image is images that refer to the project we are bramley and small acts of defiance theme. A wall with the word love on. As well as a picture of people at bramley shopping centre  with a sign saying we'd like our seat back and bramley needs benches



So ‘We are Bramley’ project arranged a meet up on saturday 11th december 2021 at Bramley Lawn. Bramley Lawn is on the Rossefields off Stanningly rd near the Daisy pub. Its a vibrant building, with a spacious open-plan main room with kitchen, various seated areas, opening out to a community garden. It belongs to Bramley Elderley Action and lots of different activities take place here from ukuleles to the mens group.

Before the meeting we also popped in to the ‘A Place to Sit’ saturday sit in at Bramley Shopping Centre, then we popped in to the Christmas Fair at the Community Centre. We chatted with local people and asked some questions we had prepared, to find out more about what people think and want.

We created a series of questions to ask people in Bramley about Bramley and creativity/ culture. Here are some of the answers we got.

Where in Bramley is special to you?


The park. I love the park – it’s a great place to walk around and they have those long social benches that they put up over lockdown so people can sit and chat and still be distanced. Its such a big park and there is room for so much to happen there.

Stocks Hill where the Unicorn Pub is – its got a blue plaque and it’s what is left of old bramley town. I love the old stone work.

Bramley Baths, the view up Broad lane, the area around Catherines Mill


What do you love to do for fun?

Reading – I read a lot for work and try to make a distinction between what I read for fun/ relaxation as opposed to work ( academic books). I love creative writing.

Crafting – I used to love crafting.

What would you like/ love to see happen or do in Bramley?

A Bramley Museum – bramley has so much history & i’d love to see a place it could be housed.

Loved that Bramley Baths exhibited the work of a local artist recently – it’d be great if there was a space to exhibit art here in Bramley’

My partner takes photographs for fun of the area – I’d love to see those photographs in an exhibition. Maybe the shopping centre’s empty shop units could be used to display artwork -like putting images on the shop windows – would brighten up the shopping centre & add a sense of friendliness/ community.

I’d love there to be a creative/ arts centre – lots of other smaller areas of Leeds like Farsley for instance have their own arts/ crafts hubs or centre – so why not Bramley?

Love to see an arts trail here in Bramley.

Love the idea of researching the different areas (wards) within bramley and their individual distinct characters. Relating these characters to the different architectural building eras that each area has – a sense of celebrating these council housing that was built – some of the houses around broad lane (broad leas/ fairfields) were built for the workers around St Catherine Mill. Some were built for the managers but most for the mill workers. Interesting to see the difference in those two builds.

There are certain houses that were built all over the city of Leeds that are exactly the same layout inside – they are exact replicas of one another – sort of the house that ‘everyone has been in’ (and knows the layout of). Same with a number of the community centres

re-enacting the very original carnival called the Bramley Clash ( 17th century) As one of the oldest carnivals in Leeds, the Bramley Clash saw rival music floats travelling along town street until they met then playing each other out – battle of the loudest sound. Seems like even then there was a sense of rebellion in small acts of defiance.

bring back the bed races!

What three words would you use to describe Bramley?

Community. Connection. Passion.


Hilly. Windy. Green

Spread out ( geographically).Homely. A sense of belonging.

Is there a particular bit of history of a person or event in Bramley that you love?

The original stone left from the original town street. There is so much history to collected and mileage in exploring that original town street. Its very significant and meaningful to a certain age group and there is rarely a day that goes by that they don’t mention the old town street in one way or another

There’s a blue plaque for Mary Eleanor Gawthorpe. Love to see alternative plaques through Bramley to raise up the ordinary ( & also extraordinary) people. The brilliant people in each smaller community in Bramley that get stuff done and the amazing things they have done being celebrated. That would be so great.

What should we do moving forward?

Looking at mapping / walking routes to and around Bramley, what are the stories to be told, who are the local character/ characters? What is special about each area? Broadleas/ Snowdens/ … feeling cut off from the city,

The Republic of Bramley!

The defiant ones:
Filming the routes
Alternative Blue Plaques tour (lucy did this before with Light Night)
Celebrating local people and characters (telling real stories)
Photography
House blueprints & layouts/designs used all over Leeds
Looking at different identities, Identity and attachment to areas
Mental boundaries & Physical Boundaries
Community art gallery /museum
Could empty shops be used? With vinyls stuck in the window so people could look from the outside
Art trail, mapping, having an arts centre…but where? Very little unused buildings in Bramley.
Are there any old mills? (like Sunnybank in Farsley)

We are Bramley: Small Acts of Defiance is part of the Leeds 2023 #MyWorldMyCityMyNeighbourhood project and we are working to co create what meeting culture loose is in Bramley. So what creative stuff and culture do different people and communities of Bramley want more of. Check out #wearebramley #leeds2023 #whatson



Supported by Leeds 2023 
My World My City My Neighbourhood 
Arts Council England 
the Mohn Westlake Foundation and
Leeds Community Foundation Partnership

Meet some of the people at ‘A Place to Sit’

A Place to Sit is a campaign standing up for anyone who needs a place to sit at Bramley Shopping Centre. Bring back 22 benches!

The site removed the 22 benches spread across the centre. And have since reinstated 8, but its not enough and the benches are of poor quality and not very sturdy. According to Leeds City Council – the benches that lined this walkway should be restored. If they’re not restored, some people will not be able to shop on their own as usual, without places to stop and rest. Not everyone can walk this far that easily. Walking is good. Having your independence is good.

So we popped along with our tea trolley to chat with people standing up for their right to sit. Here’s what they had to say.

What surprises you most about people?

Their generosity. People give little kindnesses all the time, generosity to others. Yet we dont notice these kindnesses, we are more likely to notice the impacts of actions – especially negative impacts. So often those everyday acts of generosity go unnoticed.

What inspires you?

This does. People coming out of their houses to stand up for something they believe in. Something that is important. Saying what they want. Singing what they want even. Yes it’s very inspiring what we are doing here.

I’ve got time off from caring for a loved one (they are on respite for three weeks ), i’m excited. I get to be the ‘elf on the shelf’ and mischievous and naughty. I used to love walking. I was in all sorts of walking groups. Oh yes I loved walking. I don’t really get the opportunity these days.

Rev Paul Green – all his energy and rallying, enthusiasm, leading us in singing and chants about bringing back the seating to Bram-ley…

In what ways are we similar?

We all breathe, eat, sleep. We all bleed the same colour.

I guess things about our appearance are similar and different.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Flying

Teleport – you know click my fingers and be there in an instant.

Sex would be my super power ( laughs).

What do you think will happen to our beautiful planet in your lifetime? 

We’ll be gone won’t we. It’s a mess. Lots of things we could do differently but we dont.

Too many cars on the road and people driving singly in cars. Not enough done about flooding and saving energy. There are loads of system changes that other countries make but we don’t seem to learn from them.

What stops you in your tracks?

The sound of this small person’s scream – sounded loud enough to be a car alarm!

What makes you happy?

Drawing and art. I love painting. At the moment I’m making a viking house – original materials used to make them were mud, manure,wood,  twigs, straw….i’m making mine with tissue paper.

You could email or write to LCP and let them know what you think. Or you could let the shops you visit know that we need 22 benches back please! You can follow A Place to sit page or join the group to find out more, or get involved.

Photos by Phillip Mc Connell

Talking @MorleyArtsFestival

This weekend we have been visiting @MorleyArtsFestival with our tea trolley.

This friendly local festival was based along Queen Street and down towards the park filled with free public art, performances and family activities.

We talked with lots of people over the weekend, both Morley locals and visitors. The visitors that had travelled furthest was a couple from Hong Kong, who were in Morley visiting their daughter and grandchildren.

Here’s a slice of some of the things we talked about over the weekend…

If you had a special talent, what would it be?

Very popular was teleportation from many Morley folk. I mean, why not? We talked about lunch in New York, a seaside trip to a thailand beach and no impact/ pollution on the environment. One Morley resident said that it was a question their child had often asked them growing up , and the the answer they had always given was teleportation and time travel.

What do you love to do?

A few answers…

Knitting.

Learning about local history ( especially gruesome events).

I love playing volleyball – especially working out the plays that the other teams are doing. Some players can be quite sneaky… you have to watch what their feet and shoulders to see how they are going to hit. You know its like at school when you played rounders and there was always that one kid that was left handed but held the bat in the right hand until the last minute then caught you off guard.

Swimming. I love swimming. We journey from Middleton every Saturday to Morley Leisure Centre to swim. Being able to swim is so important and Morley has such a lovely pool.

Climb – I love climbing. Its really good fun & fitness, and a bit scary. You have to trust your partner literally with your life, which is incredible if you really think about it’s.

What is most important?

My health. I mean, Im 72, my health matters to me.

What is normal?

Normal? Well one person’s normal is different to another’s. Stuff like kindness and respect were just givens but I guess different folks have different beliefs. I was brought up a christian. I am not practising now but that doesn’t mean I cant respect my families beliefs. So many people and cultures and different ways we’ve been brought up. So many different norm’s – i’m sad about Afghanistan situation currently…and I would have hoped it was a norm to be educated to be treated equally and live without fear because of your gender. Yeah a lot of norms all over the world that I do not like.

Where is your favourite place?

I love being at home best.

Portugal is fantastic

We love Morley. We arrive quite early in the morning very saturday and are usually still here in the afternoon. the market is great.

Krakow in Poland, I thought, was an amazing place. I mean Auschwitz is intense and takes a whole day to really see it, but you know its really important to see the extent of what happened in the concentration camps. Also the beer in the bars is so cheap andI think vodka is cheaper than a cup of tea. Its really surprising.

Are you a risk taker?

About some things. I mean I travelled to Australia by myself (from South Africa) and I came to England by myself when I was 21. I like travelling on my own.

Where do you draw the line?

I draw the line at the time I say the car ( lift) is leaving the house. If you are not ready at that time then I am leaving without you. And where should I draw the line re. Bette Midler films – how many is the number where I draw the line? She likes Bette Midler films, I like more sport or action related. We take it in turns and watch them together. But how many Bette Midler films is too many?

What stops you in your tracks?

When I was volunteering the other week, a man living on the street didn’t want a sandwich, and that really made me re-think my assumptions, as I had thought a person living on street would really want a sandwich. Also, he was given a coat which looked really warm and fitted hime perfectly, but he brought it back a little while after because it was a woman’s coat. That really stopped me in my tracks.

What are you ready for?

Im ready for things to get back to normal – like say Christmas. Last year we spent Christmas in the park so that we could be with elder family members safely. I’m really hoping we can have a proper Christmas this year and/ or it isn’t cold.

What would you do if you had no fear?

Travel the world – you know there are some places I cant go ( the way I look) without a lot of planning and thought.

I would get a tattoo or rollerblade (my family see these things as stuff only bad girls do).

I would start my own business….yep I’d change career.

I’d walk the high wire.

I’d play with lions and snakes.

I would let my children play without worry. I broke some ribs snowboarding the other year, and since then I’ve been too scared to go up the mountain. The children still snowboard but I don’t go up with them because I’m scared. I’d like to have no fear about them taking those kinds of risks.

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A teapot made of pewter in Sheffield 158 years ago! The shape reminds us of a butternut squash!

International Women’s Day Chats | Keighley

Well we arrived at Keighley Airedale Centre for this International Women’s Day Event. International Women’s Day is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The focus of the event in Keighley was equality. We were invited by Keighley Highfield Community Association

So, we arrived, and found our space in and amongst the other activities, stalls and information. There was a quirky photo-booth near one of the entrances. Getaway Girls run this booth and it raises money for their project. People could choose props for their four photos and then have them digitally printed for you right there on the spot! We were based quite nearby, next to the question of the day.

What does equality mean to you?

This provoked a range of answers which artist Tom Bailey represented in drawings and words. Equality is being able to do traditional men’s jobs as a woman, and vice versa. Equality is being providing people with the things they need so that we get the same things. This could be access to education, ability to earn a good living. For others its being bale to wear whatever clothes make them feel good, or giving confidence to their children to know that they can do anything.

We asked many other questions. Here’s a few of them…

What makes you feel good?

What this makes me think of is cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Sitting there, with nothin to worry about, a blue sky, sunshine with some good music playing.

Who is the enemy?

Simple. It’s our government. I’m a carer. The government have just chosen to call me and other really skilled workers unskilled. I object. I mean its not unskilled to be a chef or a midwife and sorry no, its not unskilled to be in the caring profession. For me it is and has always been a calling. It is what I was born to do. How dare they call what I do unskilled! I mean I think that it’s those bankers at fault. What do they do of real value? Trouble is we as a country look at what someone earns as the key value in their worth.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Best advice I can give is relaxant breathe deeply. If I see a bus coming and I might miss it, I don’t worry. I just think relax, another will be along in a short time. Mine would be not to judge other people and be kind to them, because you don’t know what’s going on in their lives. I would say that you can’t always look for similarities and what makes us the same to unite people. We have to celebrate our differences and allow ourselves and others to disagree.

If you could have a superpower, what super power would you have?

Invisibility coat. Ooh I’d love to freeze time. Teleportation so I’d never have to wait for a bus again. I’d like to read minds and know what other people think and feel.

Want to know more about the Being Human Game? Click here.