Leeds Civic Trust Launches “The People’s Plaque” as part of the national Civic Day celebration

Leeds Civic Trust is marking Civic Day on Saturday 17th June, with a stall in the Merrion Centre in Leeds. The Trust will be present between 11am-3pm. Our stall will include:

• an exhibition of previously unpublished photographs of Leeds in the 1960s and 1970s
• activities for all ages to take home (including Leeds Owl Trail, colouring in, blue plaques trail, and guidebooks)
• a display of Leeds Civic Trust projects
• Information about our blue plaques scheme and blue plaques walks
• The launch of our People’s Plaque initiative

Launching “The People’s Plaque” – Benjamin Gott

The centrepiece of our celebration will be the launch of the people’s plaque, a celebration of the life of someone who made a significant contribution to the development of Leeds and its people. In our first year, this plaque will be awarded to the famous Leeds-born industrialist Benjamin Gott.

People will be able to sponsor the plaque on the day, and afterwards on a dedicated “just giving” page, for just a pound. In return, they will be listed in a special pamphlet to mark the occasion and will also be entered into a draw to be invited to the unveiling, which will take place in the autumn.

Commenting on the Civic Trust’s activities for Civic Day, Martin Hamilton, Civic Trust Director said:

“Leeds Civic Trust has awarded more than 160 Blue Plaques celebrating important Leeds events, people and buildings, and they are normally sponsored by businesses or other organisations. On this occasion, we wanted to offer Loiners the opportunity to be part of our Blue Plaques scheme by offering opportunity to chip in to sponsor a plaque.”

He continued “If this scheme is successful, we may ask members of the public to suggest people places or events that should be commemorated in this way.”

Notes to Editors

• Civic Day is a national day of celebration supported by Civic Voice, the national umbrella organisation for Civic Trusts and Societies. It is a day when communities across the country say “we care about where we live”

• Benjamin Gott (1762-1840), is one of the most important figures in the industrial revolution. Born in Calverley, he made his fortune in texiles, and was a great innovator – introducing innovations such as steam power to the weaving process. Within 10 years of completing his apprenticeship with Wormald and Fountaine, he was a senior partner in the business. He established a mill on the site of the former Yorkshire Evening Post building on Wellington Street which at the time was a meadow called Bean Ing. There he built the largest woollen factory in the West Riding. He also owned Armley Mills (now the museum) and by 1797 was employing more than 1200 workers – the mills had such a large capacity that they could provide whole armies with uniforms. His wealth enabled him to buy significant land for his family – the area known as Gott’s Park, and build a home for them (now used as the clubhouse for the golf course there). His large fortune also enabled him to improve the working conditions in his factories and build almshouses. He became Mayor of Leeds in 1799 and helped found the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, which still exists to this day.
Attachment : Photograph of Benjamin Gott

For further information, please contact Martin Hamilton, Director Leeds Civic Trust

Mobile. 07717 003685 Trust Office 0113 2439594

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