3 Feb 2014

A brewery-turned-gallery: The Tetley in Leeds

The Tetley, Leeds

Called into The Tetley for the first time this weekend and was impressed. This is the old headquarters of the Tetley brewery, a building dating back to 1931, and it's great to be able to wander around and take a look inside. The grandness of it all is a real reminder of how successful a big family brewery like Tetley's must've been at the time, and also of how much things change. Tetley's has now all but left Leeds but loads of small breweries have popped up around the city at the same time. It's funny how industries change, social and drinking habits change and buildings, like people, evolve. It reminds me of a job I once had with the civil service in another part of Leeds in a big old mill that had been converted into offices: where once there had been the noisy and dirty click-click-click of industrial machinery years earlier, there was now a quieter flow of immigration casework passing through the building, a conveyor belt of sorts.

The location of The Tetley feels like a historic little patch of Leeds, with the Salem Chapel nearby and a blue plaque marking the formation of Leeds United; the great Adelphi pub is also a stone's throw away.

As a gallery and events space The Tetley has loads of potential, so fingers crossed it's a success. Leeds needs more stuff like this, both from a culture and family-friendly point of view. As a city it seems to have a less obvious culture than places like Manchester and Liverpool. It's debatable why that's the case: Manchester and Liverpool have proximity to ports and they also have a bigger Irish influence; Leeds and Yorkshire on the other hand have a more "look after the pennies" tradition that isn't necessarily conducive to a cultural hotbed. Maybe that's something to do with it. Either way, kudos to those behind The Tetley to get this up and running, as it'd be excellent if this could become something like a Leeds Salt's Mill. Also not forgetting this is primarily a drink and food blog, the cafe (set up with consultation from Anthony Flinn's company) looked and smelled good too.

Our kids really enjoyed the Springboard Saturdays session - basically a relaxed crafty area for them to draw, stick and create stuff to their hearts' content to a theme that changes each week, with friendly volunteer artists on hand.

And we enjoyed having a look in the grand boardroom, wondering about the people and conversations that have lived in there over the years.

I hope The Tetley is a success.


  1. A handpulled pint of Tetleys bitter is pretty hard to beat. Making use of the old brewery rather than knocking it down is a great idea and I hope it suceeds.

    1. Me and a couple of the guys enjoy draught tetleys every lunch, just off mill hill lane. Its good news the building is being put to good use :)