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)
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