Leeds is a city in the county of Yorkshire and has lots history, but The Store Room Leeds team have put together a list of facts that you may not have heard about!


Bear Pit Entrance

Photo Credit: Headingley

Leeds Zoo

Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens opened in 1840 but was never very successful. The collection of animals ended up being a racoon, a pair of swans, monkeys, tortoises, an alligator, guinea pigs, an owl, a peacock, and two parrots. The main attraction located at the centre of the park was a brown bear. While the Zoo closed in 1858, you can still see the empty bear bit on Cardigan Lane!


Sooty and Sweep

Harry Corbett, the creator of the children’s TV program Sooty and Sweep, originally comes form Leeds. It started when Harry bought his son a puppet from Blackpool in 1948 and four years later the Sooty and Sweep show aired for the first time. Sooty was originally called teddy but when the show aired Corbett wanted to make sure the puppet stood out on black and white televisions, and so marked him with black dust or ‘soot’ on his ears – this prompted him to change the name from ‘Teddy’ to ‘Sooty’, and so Sooty and Sweep were born. At The Store Room, one of our employees even named their fish after Sooty and Sweep!


NASA Jelly Tots

Jelly Tots were created in Leeds by Brian Boffey who worked for Rowntree’s. Brian was experimenting with different ways to make powdered jelly, and accidently created Jelly Tots. Rowntree’s were later approached by NASA to help with the process of freeze-drying food for the Apollo Space Program, and Brian joined the team to work for NASA. Who would have thought that Jelly Tots and NASA were connected?!


Historic Hippopotamus Skull

Photo credit: Leeds Museum and Galleries

The Lost Hippo

Continuing with the theme of animals, Hippos once roamed the streets of Leeds!  In 1984, during construction of the Armley Gyratory junction, the remains of this hippo were found and are believed to date back around 130,000 years. You can see the now protected remains in Leeds City Museum today.


The Confused Castle

If you were hoping to see Leeds Castle during your visit to Leeds, you may want to rethink that idea. Leeds Castle is actually located in Kent – 4 hours away! This year Leeds Castle fooled many on April 1st, by ‘changing’ its name to ‘Kent Castle’! Embarrassingly, we at The Store Room, also fell for this prank!