After spending a bit of time with Pavilion and their Follies of Youth programme I have begun to take an interest in follies. Some of them being small wonders in a large landscape/city, which I find a very lovely concept.
I have always walked past this one on Cardigan Road and spent hours fantasizing about what it could possibly have been...until now. Someone told me that it was actually a Bear Pit intended to be part of a Zoo and Botanical Garden in Hyde Park/Burley in Leeds that didn't come to much fruition and that you could easily climb through the fence and explore it. So I did.
I have to admit seeing something like this in Hyde Park was rather magical. I has been restored by Leeds Civic Trust in 1966 but appears to have been rather unkempt since then, lots of beer cans etc. strewn about it and even a mattress or two which put me off my plan of returning in the night to see how it looked in the dark.
Whilst taking pictures of the facade someone tugged on my coat. It was a boy in school uniform who then said "'Scuse me mister, if you're interested in t'bear pit you can go round to 'ole in t'fence instead o' climbin' over."
I thanked him and told him I already knew about the gap in the fence and wanted to get some nice pictures of the front before going in. He said "Fair enough" and then walked off quite pleased with himself.
After a little while of fawning over the facade I plucked up the courage to walk along the side and jump through the hole in the fence and into the undergrowth where I got caught on every branch on the way through. Once I pushed trough the clearing there was the giant red brick lined drop of the pit itself.
Here is where I write about art and about life.