Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Inside The Leadmill Archives exhibition

The iconic Sheffield venue is opening up its archives to the public through a free exhibition of rare photos, press cuttings and signed setlists, gathered across its 43-year history.

Leadmill archives 3

One of the city’s most iconic venues is taking the public on a trip down memory lane with a new exhibition charting its four-decade history.

First opening its doors in 1980, The Leadmill has seen some of the UK’s biggest musical acts grace its stage on the way to the top. Now the local institution has opened a unique exhibition showcasing the memorabilia collected over its 43-year life.

The Leadmill Archives includes signed setlists, rare photos, press cuttings and three electric guitars made out of the club’s Canadian maple wood dancefloor, following its renovation in 2017.

“We were tidying the archives recently to try and organise it better so that we are able to access things quickly,” The Leadmill’s Head of Programming, Rose Wilcox, told me. “We decided to start moving with the exhibition so that we could showcase it all, instead of it being locked in cabinets, to help remind people just how iconic the venue is and how many events have taken place here.”

Leadmill archives promo

As visitors take a trip through The Leadmill’s history, including the building’s origins as a flour mill, video testimonials from the likes of The Reytons, comedian Suzy Eddie Izzard and the Leadmill’s resident doorman Nev play, advocating for the importance of the venue to our nation’s music scene.

In one video, musician Miles Kane says, “I have been playing here for about 15 years and I want to be able to play here for another 15 years.”

Visitors are invited to stick their own Leadmill memories to the wall, a feature which illustrates just how ever-present the space has been on Sheffield’s cultural landscape.

“It is fascinating for people of all ages to get a glimpse into what used to happen [at the Leadmill], or tap into memories of events that they might have attended before,” Wilcox explained.

“It is like a visual reminder of just how many artists have been to Sheffield through the years and have gone on to become global successes.”

Wilcox told me the exhibition will run “for the foreseeable future – as long as there are people that are interested in coming to see it.”

“The exciting thing about the archives is that there is so much of it... We are already talking about things we can be adding to the exhibition and sharing with people, so we see it as something that will evolve.”

The Leadmill Archives serves as a celebration of the history that has taken place within its walls, as well as reminder on why it should be preserved, in the face of threats to its survival.

The exhibition is free and the venue will update opening times on a weekly basis on their website.

Learn more

More Music

More Music