Children’s Day crown set to arrive at Leeds museum as part of new exhibition


A new display at a Leeds museum celebrating Children’s Day, one of the biggest festivals for children staged anywhere in Britain, has been given a seal of approval by the arrival of a civic crown.

‘The Crown of the Queen of Children’s Day’, which was presented to the city in 1986 and has been on display in the cabinets of Leeds Civic Hall outside the Lord Mayor’s office, will take pride of place when it arrives at Abbey House Museum this week completing the display which highlights the history of ‘Children’s Day’ in the city over many years.

This exhibition, produced in partnership with Bramley Elderly Action, the Bramley Reminiscence Group and the Bramley History Society, will be the first display to be showcased in the new Community Gallery at Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall.

As part of the display, there will be the opportunity for people to see a scrap book made by Pamela White, Queen of Leeds Children’s Day 1963, a photograph album from Leeds Children’s Day 1952 and a painting of Dorothy Beatrice May Smith, Queen of Leeds Children’s Day 1930 which was hidden in a drawer for many years by Dorothy’s family, who didn’t want the fame to go to her head. These will sit alongside footage from the Yorkshire Film Archive and oral history interviews with members of the reminiscence group, which will be available to listen to on touch-screen kiosks. Those who remember Children’s day are being invited to share their stories and memories in a comment book when visiting the display.

Members of Bramley Elderly Action singing group will also be performing on March 25 at Abbey House a song they have written around their experiences as children.

Visitors are asked to note that the Children’s Day crown will only be available to view at Abbey House until the end of March 2014, before returning to its permanent home at the Civic Hall in early April of this year. The remainder of the Children’s Day display will be open until the end of June 2014.

Also open to the public is the newly refurbished community space at Leeds City Museum. Called ‘Leeds Today’, the stories and objects from diverse communities across the city will be showcased as part of a rolling programme, which will focus specifically on a range of exciting themes and topics about contemporary life in Leeds.

On until early September, the opening display showcases contemporary objects collected by young people over the past four years and focuses on the 2012 Olympics, Leeds Festival, high street fashion and Love & War. Community groups have worked with the team at the museum to co-curate the displays, which also includes loaned items alongside the newly acquired objects from Leeds Museums and Galleries’ collection.

Anyone wishing to get involved in the changing community display programme at Leeds City Museum is invited to get in contact with the Community History Team at
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:
“We are really looking forward to the arrival of the city’s children’s crown at Abbey House Museum, which is the final piece to the jigsaw in this wonderful little display celebrating the magic of childhood in Leeds.

“The memories of childhood live with us forever, and it is lovely that we will now be able to experience people’s own individual recollections of this wonderful time through the display at Abbey House Museum, along with footage from the Yorkshire Film Archive and oral history interviews from that time.

“I would also urge local communities to get in touch and contribute to our newly refurbished community display area at Leeds City Museum, which is a fantastic opportunity for people to get involved and showcase all the different elements that make up the fabric of our fantastic city today.”

Kitty Ross, Curator of Leeds History and Social History at Leeds Museums and Galleries said:

“We hope that this display will stir up memories for those who took part in Leeds Children’s Day events and will be the first of many community displays here at Abbey House.

“It has been a privilege to work with the members of Bramley Elderly Action and the Bramley History Society and to help tell their stories.”

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