Friday, 12 March 2010

Faith in the City - John Harrison (1579-1656)

The fourth Leeds worthy represented in City Square is John Harrison. He appears on the Faith Panel as a member of the Pious Uses Committee, set up in 1619 to administer local charities, some of which still benefit the people of Leeds today.

He was a cloth merchant and landlord who used the rents from his properties to help in building St John's Church and the second (?) Grammar School (on a site between North Street and The Grand Theatre), replacing the building at the top of Lady Lane.

A favorite story about him is that he cut holes in the doors and ceilings of his home to allow his cats free access around the house - is this one of the earliest records of cat-flaps? Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) has also been cited with this invention.

There is a John Harrison on the Local Faces panel, born near Wakefield in 1693. On the face of it he shouldn't be represented, but more of him later.

I'd completely forgotten that when we went to see the statue it was just after Jeans for Genes Day and we had to ask a workman to remove Mr Harrison's jeans before taking the photograph.

Janet Taylor hand and machine embroidered this piece on printed fabric.

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