Street Stories: bringing Quarry Hill to life

We animated the streets of Quarry Hill in an immersive, exciting way that drove footfall while changing perspectives on life and literature.


Led by Found FictionStreet Stories was a street literature project which celebrated Quarry Hill voices past, present and future. As part of Street Stories, a team of Leeds writers wrote super-short stories which were displayed in public spaces, abandoned areas and prominent venues across Quarry Hill.

The stories were published in a guerrilla fashion – taking the form of vinyl stickers, wraparound banners and chalk paint murals, among other forms. The stories were inspiring, reflective and attention-grabbing for passers by. They combined fact and fiction, revealing a hidden truth about this historic Leeds neighbourhood in language that was family friendly and accessible to all.

Funded by the Leeds City College Arts Fund, the purpose of Street Stories was to pique the interest and transcend the surroundings of passers by – ultimately, empowering and inspiring people in the community through the written word.

Where were the stories located?

These stories were everywhere. Some were labelled READ ME and tucked away in bus stops, while others were displayed proudly on easels inside building foyers. Some revealed themselves subtly on the side of boarded-up pubs, while others shouted ostentatiously over motorway traffic.

Here are some of the places our Street Stories were displayed:

A64 near Quarry House
Boarded up building, Sussex Street
Bus stop on Upper Accommodation Road
MAP Charity, Hope House, 65 Mabgate
SOYO Leeds, near Quarry House
MODA, New York Square
Leeds City College
Leeds Bus Station
The Wardrobe, 6 St Peter’s Square

Convention House, East Street Arts, St Mary’s Lane
Hampton by Hilton
Fences opposite Quarry House
Outside The Gateway, near York Road
Outside East Street Mills apartments, on York Road
Yorkshire Dance
Gateway Apartments Leeds
Leeds Conservatoire
Inside Quarry House

These were the partners which supported Street Stories.

Click the names to find the locations on Google Maps.

Leeds City College

Leeds Bus Station

Leeds Conservatoire

MAP Charity

Hampton by Hilton

East Street Arts

Quarry House

Yorkshire Dance

Opera North



The Wardrobe

Who were the writers?

Found Fiction cherry-picked four Leeds writers for the project based on their creative talent and personal connections to Quarry Hill.


Chris Nickson

Chris is an historical crime novelist. Twenty-six of his books are set in Leeds, covering different periods from the 1730s to the 1950s. He’s explored Quarry Hill and its history, from the rumours of Romans through to the heyday of the flats. He knows the plague cabins and the Turkish bath where the great Tom Maguire lived – and died – and where American gangster Owen Madden spent the first years of his life. The past in Leeds runs through his blood.


Taiwo Ogunyinka

Taiwo is a published poet, performer and organiser who grew up in East End Park, Leeds. For the past 10 years of his life he has passed through Quarry Hill on morning and home commutes. Taiwo’s personal experiences and growth as an artist have been supported by Quarry Hill, through performances at the Playhouse, rehearsals at Munro House and events at the Wardrobe.


Sarah Whitehouse

Sarah is a writer based in Leeds, weaving together the threads of the past, present and future of Quarry Hill. Living for the past five years in the 1850s East Street Mills, she loved the daily walk past the ghost signs of school cap makers and tailors painted on the exterior of the mill. Her flat is in the shadow of her grandad and great grandparents, who were part of the old St Patrick’s Parish and lived and went to school nearby. Sarah has recently started a new job at Quarry House, where her dad also works.


Mark E. Johnson

Mark is a writer, runner and baker born and raised in Leeds (but bred here, there and everywhere). His writing has included comics, journalism and the history of Yorkshire food. Many of Mark’s best memories of his grandma, Dorothy, were made in the Quarry Theatre of Leeds Playhouse. She would point out St Hilda’s down the road where his grandad, Jim, used to sing, not telling the nuns that he was really there for the free breakfast.


Street Stories ran from mid-August to mid-September 2020.

The project was supported by the Leeds City College Arts Fund.