0
Hello, I’m Matt Edgar and I work in product
strategy and design management for a major
telco. But I’m here in a personal c...
This is an owl. This city’s coat of arms has
three of them. In Greek mythology the owl is
linked with Athena, the Goddess ...
Bubbles! Joseph Priestley lived near a brewery
on Meadow Lane. He studied the gas in vats of
beer and he invented a proces...
A mint leaf! Priestley discovered that plants
could restore the bad air created by burning a
flame in a jar. This led to t...
A coffee cup! Priestley met new people and
shared ideas in coffee houses. He was friends
with Benjamin Franklin, Josiah We...
Another kind of network: canals. Leeds’ links
by water enabled import and export. The rain
that filled the canals also con...
Spinning! I work in Marshall’s Mill, which was a
flax spinning mill. John Marshall employed
Matthew Murray, who didn’t hav...
Murray built the Round Foundry. It was
probably the world’s first engineering works. No
one knows why it was round, but th...
Murray built the engine for the world’s first
commercial steam railway at Middleton Colliery
in South Leeds. Murray’s riva...
Back to our flax spinner John Marshall. He built
Temple Works, a huge single storey factory
modelled on the Egyptian Templ...
Unfortunately, the roof currently looks like this,
because Temple Works has been neglected,
and few months ago, part of th...
Three towers. Colonel Thomas Harding
modelled the chimneys for his factory on
belltowers in Florence and Verona. He though...
Pins! Not dressmakers pins, but gill pins used
in the textile industry. On a £20 note under
Adam Smith it says “division o...
A flat iron. There’s a building shaped like this
on Meadow Lane. There’s a bigger one in New
York, considered to be the wo...
A lens. Louis le Prince was a Frenchman living
in Leeds who shot the world’s first moving
pictures – a street scene of peo...
Traffic lights! Were invented in Cleveland USA
by an African American named Garrett
Morgan. But the first traffic lights i...
The amber light means it’s nearly time to stop.
These are just some of my favourite stories
about why this is such an exci...
I’d encourage you to look around the city, read
the blue plaques put up and maintained by
Leeds Civic Trust. The Trust has...
Read Steven Johnson’s excellent new book
about Joseph Priestley, called the Invention of
air. Visit some of the places I’v...
And if you like you can find more of my
ramblings on my blog at matt.me63.com.
Thanks!




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19: Leeds Industrial Heritage (Matt Edgar)

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Sadly, we couldn't include Matt's talk without bumping someone else from the schedule, but it was so good, we had to include it in the online set!

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  • No problem Matt - how was it received?
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  • Hi Imran,

    Thanks for including the slides here. I presented them to GeekUp Leeds on Wednesday, and have now written up my notes with links on my blog.

    Regards,
    Matt
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Transcript of "19: Leeds Industrial Heritage (Matt Edgar)"

  1. 1. Hello, I’m Matt Edgar and I work in product strategy and design management for a major telco. But I’m here in a personal capacity to talk about Leeds, it’s industrial heritage and why I find it so inspiring. 1
  2. 2. This is an owl. This city’s coat of arms has three of them. In Greek mythology the owl is linked with Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. Native Americans thought an owl was a curious creature. Leeds has a history of people who asked “what if?” 2
  3. 3. Bubbles! Joseph Priestley lived near a brewery on Meadow Lane. He studied the gas in vats of beer and he invented a process for carbonating water. Fizzy pop! Priestley open-sourced the method, and a chap called Johann Schweppe cleaned up. 3
  4. 4. A mint leaf! Priestley discovered that plants could restore the bad air created by burning a flame in a jar. This led to the discoveries of oxygen, photosynthesis, and the interdependence of plants and animals on our planet. 4
  5. 5. A coffee cup! Priestley met new people and shared ideas in coffee houses. He was friends with Benjamin Franklin, Josiah Wedgwood and many others. Their social network spanned the UK, France and the USA. 5
  6. 6. Another kind of network: canals. Leeds’ links by water enabled import and export. The rain that filled the canals also contributed to our damp Yorkshire climate which was ideal for spinning and weaving cloth. 6
  7. 7. Spinning! I work in Marshall’s Mill, which was a flax spinning mill. John Marshall employed Matthew Murray, who didn’t have much education, but did have a knack for fixing and improving machines. Murray was so much in demand that he set up on his own. 7
  8. 8. Murray built the Round Foundry. It was probably the world’s first engineering works. No one knows why it was round, but the fact that later ones weren’t suggests Murray was experimenting with the form, and round didn’t work so well after all. 8
  9. 9. Murray built the engine for the world’s first commercial steam railway at Middleton Colliery in South Leeds. Murray’s rival was James Watt of Birmingham, who even bought land next to the Round Foundry to stop Murray expanding his business. 9
  10. 10. Back to our flax spinner John Marshall. He built Temple Works, a huge single storey factory modelled on the Egyptian Temple of Edfu. This is an aerial view showing the circular roof lights. When it was built it was the biggest room in he world. 10
  11. 11. Unfortunately, the roof currently looks like this, because Temple Works has been neglected, and few months ago, part of the roof and Egyptian façade collapsed. This makes me very angry. We should look after our industrial heritage. 11
  12. 12. Three towers. Colonel Thomas Harding modelled the chimneys for his factory on belltowers in Florence and Verona. He thought Leeds in the Industrial Revolution should be equal to the Italian cities in the Rennaissance. But what did he make in his factory? 12
  13. 13. Pins! Not dressmakers pins, but gill pins used in the textile industry. On a £20 note under Adam Smith it says “division of labour in pin manufacturing.” Colonel Harding’s factory was a textbook example. The international classification standard for pin sizes was called the Harding Gauge. 13
  14. 14. A flat iron. There’s a building shaped like this on Meadow Lane. There’s a bigger one in New York, considered to be the world’s first skyscraper. Those New York skyscrapers depended on metal-framed construction that was pioneered in the mill buildings of Yorkshire. 14
  15. 15. A lens. Louis le Prince was a Frenchman living in Leeds who shot the world’s first moving pictures – a street scene of people and carts crossing Leeds Bridge. quot;Roundhay Garden Scenequot; is in the Guinness Book of Records as the earliest surviving motion picture. 15
  16. 16. Traffic lights! Were invented in Cleveland USA by an African American named Garrett Morgan. But the first traffic lights in the United Kingdom were in Park Row in Leeds. 16
  17. 17. The amber light means it’s nearly time to stop. These are just some of my favourite stories about why this is such an exciting city to live and work in if like me you’re a history graduate working in the technology sector. 17
  18. 18. I’d encourage you to look around the city, read the blue plaques put up and maintained by Leeds Civic Trust. The Trust has a bookshop on Wharf Street where you can find out lots more. They also run Heritage Open Days across the city in September. 18
  19. 19. Read Steven Johnson’s excellent new book about Joseph Priestley, called the Invention of air. Visit some of the places I’ve mentioned. Take a ride on the Middleton Colliery Railway which is now maintained by volunteers. 19
  20. 20. And if you like you can find more of my ramblings on my blog at matt.me63.com. Thanks! 20
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