Steampunks descend on industrial museum

LEEDS Industrial Museum at Armley Mills provided the “perfect” backdrop for a Steampunk market this weekend.

Ryan Bodley, as a snow leopard, and Suzy Ellwand, as a fox. Picture James Hardisty.

Around 1,500 visitors, many in elaborate costume, headed to the museum for the market, which including around 50 different stalls, live entertainment - and even coffee jousting, which was won by a werewolf.

The first Leeds Steampunk Market was held at Armley Mills in October 2013, and it is now held twice a year. Steampunk is a science fiction sub-genre mixing Victoriana and modernity.

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Organiser Jo Burgoyne-Neal, who runs the market with her husband Si, who makes Steampunk medals and badges, said: “The museum is just perfect, with the machinery and the fully functioning mill engine on display. The event is a chance to visit the museum as well as shop at the market.”

Michelle Dolan, 47, from Bedale, North Yorkshire.

Steampunk events are held up and down the country, but the Leeds market is one of the most welcoming, Mrs Burgoyne-Neal said.

“People travelled from as far as London and the West Country to attend, but everyone is welcome,” she said. “Compared to some more established Steampunk events where you have to be dressed a certain way, we are much more relaxed and open to people from all walks of life, dressed however you want.”

The coffee jousting tournament - where biscuits are dunked in hot coffee - saw two people dressed as werewolves go head to head in the final. Entertainment included a display of Bartitsu, a form of Victorian self-defence using walking canes and parasols, and birds of prey.

Steven and Helena Wright.
Organiser Jo Burgoyne-Neal with Amy-Jo Lawrance, holding Frankie a Bengal Eagle Owl.