Heritage Open days at Leeds Minster - & remembering Dr Hook

Leeds Minster is celebrating Heritage Open Days with a full programme of events (8-10 September) culminating in the unveiling of a newly-conserved portrait of church-builder, the Revd Dr Walter Farquhar Hook, whose transformation of the life and work of the Anglican Church in Victorian Leeds was copied across the country.

On Friday 8 September (12.30pm), Dr Christopher Newton will give an organ recital of music with an English theme. Light refreshments available.

On Saturday 11 September Leeds Minster Society of Change Ringers attempt an ambitious full peal of 12 bells. This challenging sequence of ringing starts at 10.30am and will continue throughout the morning.

There will be guided tours of the Minster Church on Thursday at 11am & 2pm, on Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 3.30pm.

The weekend will also see the first public display of a striking portrait of the celebrated Vicar of Leeds, Dr Hook.

Richard Butterfield, Director of Operations & Development at Leeds Minster, says, "For many years the painting hung in the parish office, but time had taken its toll and the canvass had become dirty and discoloured. Refurbishment of the office and donations from parishioners enabled the painting to be cleaned and conserved by Harrogate conservator Francis Downing, ready for it to be re-hung on public display at Leeds Minster. 

"Hook arrived in Leeds180 years ago, so it's fitting that his portrait will be unveiled this year. The unveiling ceremony – organised with Leeds Civic Trust - will take place on Sunday 10 September at 6.30pm. It follows a special evensong service at 5.30pm lead by Rector Designate of Leeds Canon Sam Corley (right) with the Minster Choir. Special guests include Hook’s great-great-granddaughters Caroline Pepler and Anne Beesley. They have a tremendous affection and pride in their illustrious ancestor and they have kindly agreed to unveil the picture itself."

Leeds historian, Dr Kevin Grady, will give a short talk. He said,Dr Walter Farquhar Hook was a charismatic and dynamic ‘High Churchman’ who transformed the life and work of the Anglican Church in Victorian Leeds when it was being overwhelmed by the town’s transformation into a large industrial city.

"Not only did he rebuild the Parish Church but he brought new churches, schools and mission work aplenty to the working class masses and provided a model of parish life and worship which was copied across the country."  

Leeds Minster on Kirkgate will be open from 10am-3pm each day. All activities are offered free of charge with donations welcome.

For more information see: http://www.leedsminster.org/ and www.heritageopendays.org.uk

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