Map captures people's happiest memories in Leeds

A glass cylinder marks a spot on the map where something good, great or life-changing happened

Thousands of people's best memories of Leeds have been captured in a giant "happy map".

Three artists began a project last year to record memories of people from the city to create the interactive piece.

A glass cylinder marks a spot on the map where something good, great or life-changing happened. The higher the tube, the happier the memory.

One memory reads: "As the clock struck midnight on Millennium Square, 2010, it started to snow."

Bring the Happy is the brain child of a group of Leeds-based artists called Invisible Flock.

MEMORIES ON THE MAP

  • Getting married in the Park Road registry in the 60s. I wore a black mini dress. We were very poor so we didn't have a reception, we just went to the local cafe with the witnesses. There were no flowers, just a ring, a husband and a baby
  • In my boyfriend's house on Burchett Terrace. My boyfriend proposed to me in bed at 3am
  • June 5th, 1952. I came out of the station and saw the Black Prince because I had just finished in the Army and knew I would not have to fight. I was so happy. What a great sight
  • In the market. My mum, my wife, my sister, all having breakfast at Christmas time and my wife was literally at bursting point

In autumn 2010, a stall at Leeds Kirkgate Market, three shops, a travelling phone box and 10 city schools became the collection points for the project.

Artists Ben Eaton, Victoria Pratt and Richard Warburton said they had spoken to hundreds of people about their personal memories including babies, illicit sex, health scares and all clears, Greggs pasties, first loves, last loves, new hats and Jimmy Savile.

The cascade of memories revealed popular places for people's happy times.

Mr Eaton said: "The two happiest places that won by a long shot were the hospitals, Leeds General Infirmary and Jimmy's, which were because of the births.

"The market got a lot and places that don't exist anymore, so Quarry Hill flats got a lot and areas like Chapeltown got a lot because of a sense of community and a sense of happiness."

The memories have now been translated into a production with Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre, which will be shown at the Northern Ballet in Leeds.

The show recreates moments of happiness based on the memories told on the map.

Ms Pratt said: "Bring the Happy live is part celebration, part funeral for moments in life that were loved, lost and remembered, based on real stories by real people who met at Leeds Kirkgate Market.

"The memories shared with us were funny, beautiful and life-affirming and we're delighted to be able to relive many of these moments that took place right here in Leeds."

Part of the map is on display at the Northern Ballet in Leeds and can then be viewed online.

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