For many years I had a daily commute into Leeds city centre. I had a variety of different routes to choose from depending on whim and prevailing traffic conditions, but my consistent favourite from both a circulation and aesthetic perspective was that which took me through Mabgate, an olde-worlde street of late 19th century industrial charm oozing atmospheric pub frontages and intriguing gateways. Sliced off from the city by the A64 flyover at one end and squeezed between two other major traffic thoroughfares, it provides an authentic glimpse of a very much older Leeds.
However, in the usual paradoxical way of life, it was years before I got around to parking the car and actually walking around the area. Thanks to East Street Arts (Patrick Studios are just off Mabgate) I have now had plenty of opportunity to explore the surroundings, and Mabgate today has clearly succeeded in not only retaining a unique ambiance but in becoming the hub of an increasingly varied and interesting arts community.
And this weekend has hopefully introduced the charms of this area to a much wider audience.
10.12.11-Come And Find Us was an open area event facilitated through Facebook which set out to celebrate the creative diversity in Mabgate and Sheepscar. Armed with an excellent little map, I was able to begin with the East Street Arts artists’ salon and open studios, move on down to the Map Christmas Market, and do some drawing at Enjoy. A large number of watering holes figured on the map, but there was no shortage of great food and refreshments at every checkpoint.
I didn’t manage to get around everything, but I’m holding onto the leaflet and have every intention of nosing into all the attractions in due course. And if you’ve never stopped off in Mabgate, do take the time to do so. Parking is easy (though the traffic wardens are particularly ferocious) and it’s an interesting alternative side to Leeds.