Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Growing up in Leeds in the past

Life could be very different for children growing up in Leeds in the past.

Before electricity and digital games, children often made their own fun with toys, music and mischief.

Below are a number of different people’s experiences drawn from a different time periods. Use the stories individually to give context and relevance for historical topics, or as a set to look at childhood through the ages. We only know the stories that have been recorded over time. Although these are different people’s experiences they are not entirely representative of our diverse city now or in the past. Who’s stories are missing? Who’s voices do we hear? Why do you think we have gaps? What can you do to address the gaps? If you have new information to add, we would love to hear from you. 

Leeds Museums and Galleries collection of toys:

At Abbey House Museum and Leeds Discovery Centre, we hold our collections of toys from the past and the present. In this 2015 film, Nicola Pullan, our Asst Curator of Social History, talks about some of the toys in the collection with members of the Leeds community.