The Tetley by @Wandapops

Everybody in Leeds has a Tetley story. Joshua Tetley’s brewery has a 200 year history with the city, employing thousands of people and filling our air with a malty smell that got me tipsy about living here. When it closed in 2011 there was a great deal of sadness amongst beer lovers who had campaigned to save it. There was even a wake. The nearby River Aire was filled with bitter tears of the brewery workers and we wondered what was to become of the space.

I initially hoped for a water park, replacing water with beer. Or a crazy golf course made entirely of barrels and bottles that we’d play polo-style, riding former Tetley dray horses. Alas, my ideas were ignored and the brewery was demolished in 2012. The beautiful art deco Tetley HQ building was saved however, then thankfully taken over by Project Space Leeds, who have helped to transform this heritage building into a contemporary art gallery, set to open on Friday.

I had a very exciting sneaky preview of the venue thanks to The Culture Vulture last week. Here are some of the tweets from the night:

We saw some of the giant original signage letters inherited by The Tetley, which are being kept in an archive on site. Part of the first exhibition A New Reality will be about encouraging artists, local communities and the general public to respond to these pieces, sharing their thoughts and memories about The Tetley through heritage-focused projects.

I particularly loved this way of thinking. The budget has been spent mainly on the stunning Atrium and Canvas Wall which will tie in all the gallery spaces. Money has been saved on ‘finishes’ for things which are fine as they are. Radiators may need a lick of paint but they work so wouldn’t you rather the money was spent on things you’ll notice, such as free Wi-Fi? (YES!).

The mix of restored and raw provides a great contrast don’t you think? A reminder that the building has history and is once again having life breathed into it.

A fantastic addition to the gallery is the Bar and Kitchen, open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Acclaimed local chef Anthony Flinn Jnr is responsible for the Yorkshire inspired menu, which has plenty of delicious treats, beers (obviously!) and children’s sized portions too (not of the beer). The whole gallery is family friendly, offering activities for kids and a relaxed welcoming attitude.

The accessibility stretches to adults too, getting rid of ‘art speak’ jargon and the hushed environments that can seem intimidating. The gallery will have a late night opening until 8pm on Thursdays which makes it worker friendly too. It may be south of the river, but it’s a mere 5 minutes walk from the city centre and train station. The Tetley will be working with their local South Leeds communities including Holbeck and Hunslet, as well as their neighbours Leeds City College who are soon opening their new campus nearby.

It all sounds like great news for Leeds, who are currently having a run of exciting openings and events – about time too. There is a fantastic team behind the project led by Co-Directors Pippa Hale and Kerry Harker and as Emma Bearman – @culturevultures said herself on the night

“We need to be proud of and get behind people who stick their neck out do stuff in Leeds”

Hear Hear. So onto the soundtrack! I am really looking forward to visiting The Tetley when it opens this weekend. Fingers crossed for a future ‘scent installation’ where they pipe that malty smell back into the building. Failing that, I’ll just have to inhale a pint or two. Which is probably a wonderful serving suggestion for these tunes…


  1. Dolly Parton – Joshua
  2. The Herbaliser – Tea & Beer
  3. Matthew Dear – You Put A Smell On Me
  4. Tiny Dragons – Canvas
  5. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
  6. Sleeping States – Gardens Of The South
  7. Mesita – Living/Breathing
  8. Gotye – State Of The Art
  9. dingo jr – New Reality
  10. Soundfield Orchestra – Brewery of Ideas

You can visit The Tetley from 11.29am on Friday 29th November. Entry is a very Yorkshire friendly price – free!

Visit follow @The_Tetley and like them at

One thought on “The Tetley by @Wandapops

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