Remarkable 125-year-old image shows huge archway made of bread built to welcome Duke of York on visit to Leeds

A remarkable image showing a huge archway made out of bread by residents in Leeds to welcome a visit from the Duke of York is one of many revealed as part of the city's newly launched archive.

The image of the bread archway is available on

The image is just one of thousands of weird and wonderful stories which feature in the Leodis photo archive, which is managed by the Leeds Libraries service.

Taken more than 125 years ago in 1894, the photo shows the enormous arch in Commercial Street, which was built using 1,500 loaves of bread.

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Residents built the arch to welcome George V, then Duke of York, to the city and a day later the stale loaves were distributed to the poor.

The picture has been pulled from Leeds Libraries’ online photo archive There are more than 62,000 images dating from 1866, including many donated by the public, which have been preserved by Leeds Libraries and other local organisations.

Since Louis Le Prince filmed the first ever moving pictures on Leeds Bridge in 1888, local people have been capturing unique images of their daily lives, many of which are still available to view on Leodis.

Searching by keyword or date, users can research their family history or learn more about the city’s past through a huge range of photographs showing everything from historic streets to local communities.

Thousands of pictures include faces from the past, from WW1 female factory workers at the Barnbow No 1 National Filling Factory, to rare snapshots of the gypsy and traveller community, and residents captured in photographs of ‘slum’ clearances taken by the City Engineers from the 1890s to 1960s.

Once filed away by card index, the images are now available to people across the world, and prints can be ordered from £11.67.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “Leodis is far more than an archive, it’s a powerful living record of day to day life in Leeds.

"As we emerge from Covid-19, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the city we live in, and if you’re not already online please take up the extensive digital skills training offered by Leeds Libraries. We hope residents will continue to be inspired by the website and share images or memories.”

Leodis brings together local collections originally held by local libraries, as well as hosting collections from other organisations, including Leeds Civic Trust, the Thoresby Society, Leeds Museums and Galleries and West Yorkshire Archive Service.

Visitors can access the new improved website from March 31.

Visit for more information.