One of the city’s very first chippies is among the fascinating tales featured in a new exhibition exploring the people and places that helped forge a Leeds community.

Hardisty’s Fisheries became one of the earliest places for locals to grab a tasty chippy tea when it opened its doors on Kirkstall Lane in the early 1900s.

A fabulous family photo capturing the team behind the venture features in Kirkstall Lives, a new exhibition at Abbey House Museum which looks at how the Kirkstall community has been shaped over the centuries.

The fascinating image, taken in the early 1920s, shows couple Ada and John Hardisty alongside their children Ivy and Cyril, accompanied by their faithful dog, whose name is sadly unknown.

The family business is just one of the enthralling local stories visitors can discover in the exhibition, which focuses on people who played their own unique part in the story of Kirkstall and some of the key moments and events in the area’s long history.

The people of Kirkstall have also got involved by sharing their own stories and loaning objects and museum staff have worked alongside a group of enthusiastic volunteers to research and develop the exhibition.

Other stories include an image dating from around 1970, believed to feature a group of workers at Kirkstall Forge, which has been part of the Kirkstall community for centuries. The forge was established in the early 12th century and is the country’s oldest of its kind. It remained a working forge until 1995 and today has been extensively redeveloped.

Also featuring is a souvenir brochure from the old Kirkstall power station, produced to mark 50 years of municipal ownership. The huge coal-powered station opened in the 1930s but closed in the 1970s before being demolished in 1979.

Among the other local institutions past and present which feature in Kirkstall Lives are the well-known Kirkstall Brewery and the Abbey Picture House, which first welcomed film-lovers in September 1913 with screenings of The Web and The Ne’er to Return Road.

Also included are the still popular Kirkstall Festival along with memorabilia from a number of local sports clubs and societies.

Kirkstall Lives is at Abbey House Museum until December. For more information, please visit:

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