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Waterfront between Crown Point Bridge and Knight Bridge

Heroes of Leeds Trail

Ged Walker

Leeds /  Heroes of Leeds Trail   Leeds /  Heroes of Leeds Trail


Eight large-scale laser-cut steel portraits mounted onto an empty fence and wall area, depicting portraits of significant people from the Leeds’s past and present. It celebrates the achievements of and contributions made by Heroes from Leeds. The eight panels focus each on a different theme and linked hero. The themes are health, social activism, waterways, education, nature, creativity, innovation and sport. The work aims ‘to make a real visual impact to enrich the visual and educational experience’ of commuters, families, workers and visitors using the route from the Leeds Dock area into Brewery Wharf and Leeds city centre.
Unveiled at the Leeds Waterfront Festival, 29 and 30 June 2019.

Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
john smeaton

John Smeaton is often regarded as the
father of civil engineering, and was an
English civil engineer responsible for the
design of bridges, canals (including the
Calder & Hebble Navigation), harbours
and lighthouses.

John Smeaton (Austhorpe, Leeds 1724 - Austhorpe 1792), English civil engineer (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
We want you to help fill this space. If you
know a Leeds resident, past or present, who
has shaped the way we learn today we want
you to nominate them by emailing
You could see their face appearing here soon...
UPDATE: In July 2020 the face is filled in. See below.
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
leonora cohen

Leonora Cohen was a British suffragette
and trade unionist. Known as the "Tower
Suffragette" (after smashing a display case
in the Tower of London) she also acted as a
bodygard for Emmeline Pankhurst.
She lived to the age of 105 and contributed to
the second wave of feminism in the 1970s.

Leonora Cohen (born Leonora Throp, Leeds 1873 - Colwyn Bay 1978), British suffragette and trade unionist (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
john barran

John Barran was fundamental to the public
ownership (including the re-mortgaging of)
his own home) of Roundhay Park in Leeds, in
recognition of the benefits of public green
space at a time when he recognised that
Leeds was a smoky, heavily industrialised city.

Sir John Barran, 1st Baronet (Wandsworth, London 1821 - 1905), British clothing manufacturer and Liberal Party politician; Mayor of Leeds 1870-71 (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
charles turner thackrah

A meticulous documenter of illness across
people who undertook a wide range of work,
Charles Turner Thackrah's suggestions on how
health could be improved through various
adjustments helped to develop the field of
occupational medicine. He was also one of the
founders of Leeds School of Medicine.

Charles Thackrah (Leeds 1795 - 1833), English surgeon; pioneer in the field of occupational medicine (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
Photo sent by Tim and provided by one of his colleagues at Leeds City Council.
joseph aspdin

Hunslet-born Joseph Aspdin was the
inventor of Portland Cement, which has
been fundamental to progress within the
construction industry, and has shaped
the way we live today.

Joseph Aspdin (Leeds 1778 - Wakefield 1855), English cement manufacturer who obtained the patent for Portland cement on 21 October 1824 (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
yona knight-wisdom

Educated in the city, Yona Knight-Wisdom
has competed at the Olympics for Jamaice.
He says of himself "I am a 190cm tall, 90kg
heavy, black diver... Watch a diving event and
that is not something you will see very often."

Yona Knight-Wisdom (Leeds 1995), Jamaican diver (Wikipedia).
Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
ivy benson

Ivy Benson was a trail blazing saxophonist
and bandleader, and a pioneer of equal pay
and recognition for female musicians in the
musci industry. 'Ivy Benson and Her All Girls
Band' were international headliners and
the house-band at the BBC, in the 1940s
despite facing misogyny and sabotage.

Ivy Benson (Holbeck, Leeds 1913 - Clacton-on-Sea 1993), English musician and bandleader, who led an all-female swing band (Wikipedia).


Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail
Photo sent by Tim and provided by one of his colleagues at Leeds City Council
gertrude paul

Gertrude Paul was the first black headteacher
in Leeds, and one of the founders of Leeds
West Indian Carnival. She was a co-founder
and President of the United Caribbean
Association in Leeds, and also served on the
Commission for Racial Equality
6 September 1934 - 7 January 1992

Gertrude Maretta Paul (Parson's Ground Village, St. Kitts 1934 - St. Kitts 1992), teacher and advocate for the British Caribbean community in Yorkshire (Wikipedia).

Leeds - Heroes of Leeds Trail


Sources & Information


  • Benson, Ivy
  • Cohen, Leonora
  • Diver
  • Engineer
  • Feminist
  • Knight-Wisdom, Yona
  • Manufacturer
  • Mayor
  • Musician
  • Paul, Gertrude
  • Politician/Statesman
  • Smeaton, John
  • Sportsman
  • Surgeon
  • Teacher
  • Thackrah, Charles
  • Walker, Ged
  • Locatie (N 53°47'35" - W 1°32'4") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

    Item Code: gbyh137; Photograph: 28 July 2019  / updated: 27 September 2020
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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