By Sean Gannon
One year on from the most devastating floods in Leeds since records began, a new exhibition has opened to commemorate the local community’s response to the crisis.
Residents from Kirkstall and Armley have joined forces with the Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills to co-curate the new Flood Response exhibit to mark the event that ravaged the area last year.
Chris Sharp, assistant community curator at the museum, was quick to point out that none of this would not be possible without the contributions of the people of Leeds.
He said: “About three months ago, we put a call out to the community in Leeds that we wanted to do something to commemorate the December 2015 floods. We had a massive response of generally quite positive stories about the flood”
Mr Sharp went on to say that the majority of the photographs, objects and stories on display had been donated by the residents of Leeds, including a large collection of stained glass panes that had messages from local schoolchildren written on them.
Speaking of the floods themselves, he added: “People were adversely affected. Over 3,000 homes were impacted and nearly 670 properties were flooded. However, it also brought together the community, who showed great spirit in the face of adversity.”
The 2015 floods had been caused by stormy weather, saturated ground and high water levels across the area, particularly along the River Aire.
The last time the area had faced this type of disaster was in 1866, during the historical ‘Great Flood of Leeds’, and even that paled in comparison to the devastation that occurred last Christmas.
Despite the hard work and community spirit, the area has still yet to fully recover; while the museum was able to open a mere 3 months after the floods, its locomotive gallery remains closed.
Some local shops have only recently reopened and one, the Sheesh Mahal Indian restaurant, has had its doors shut since the event while they are undergo renovations.
The exhibition, which opened last Friday, will be open to the public until June next year.