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New display at Leeds Industrial Museum celebrates cycling couture on the Tour de Yorkshire weekend

Threads for Treads will be available to see this Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 5pm.
Threads for Treads will be available to see this Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 5pm.

Coinciding with the Tour de Yorkshire weekend, a new display at Leeds Industrial Museum is celebrating Leeds’s impressive track record in regards to cycling couture. Threads for Treads will be available to see this Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 5pm.

Although the cycling attire worn years ago is now world's away from the sleek Lyra worn by competitors today, well-made woollen suits, knee breeches and sturdy straw hats were all the rage for Yorkshire cyclists.

Female cyclists would usually wear woollen suits, usually with a long skirt and jacket and wide brimmed or straw hat

Female cyclists would usually wear woollen suits, usually with a long skirt and jacket and wide brimmed or straw hat

As elite cyclists from around the globe gear up to take on this weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire, Leeds Industrial museum will be unveiling their new ‘Threads for Treads’ display.

This display will feature fantastic images, stories and exhibits illustrating more than a century of Leeds-made sportswear.

Leeds Museums and Galleries’ assistant community curator, Amy Jenkinson, said: “For more than a hundred years, sports like cycling have played an important role in inspiring clothing manufacturers to be more creative and come up with designs which help athletes to perform better and feel more comfortable”.

“Leeds has always been a standard-bearer for innovation in textiles and sportswear is no exception, with local brands and manufacturers constantly improving their fabrics and techniques to ensure their products stayed at the cutting edge of form and function and fashion”.

Part of this display looks at Victorian cyclists, who would usually wear tweed woollen jackets, knee breeches and a peaked cap. Female cyclists would wear woollen suits, usually with a long skirt and jacket and wide brimmed or straw hat.

After the Second World War, Leeds manufacturers introduced more sportswear into their ranges. This included Burtons, whose ‘The Laird’ tweeds were popular for both cycling and golf, and A. Whyman Ltd, who produced ‘StormGuard’ weatherproof cycling jackets until 1957.

To celebrate The Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France in Leeds, a special blue cloth was created in order to celebrate the region’s textile heritage called ‘the 40 mile fleece’.

The new museum display also looks at the city’s longstanding connection to cycling and some of its many sporting success stories.

Beryl Burton OBE, who dominated women’s cycling during the 1960’s, winning more than 90 domestic and seven world titles, was born and raised in Leeds.

Potternewton Cycling Club, the earliest recorded club in Leeds who competed in city and countrywide races when cycling was a sport popular with the upper classes, will also be celebrated.

Visitors can also see a special pop-up from The Friends of The National Railway Museum of Sierra Leone, with tours of the loco collection, a chance to meet the curator and a visit from Leeds Bike Mill who will give advice on repairs and maintenance.

For more details on Leeds Industrial Museum, visit:

https://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/armleymills