Shoulder Stories

The Shoulder of Mutton pub on Potternewton Lane had a long and chequered history before it became the Inkwell Arts Centre, and an exhibition currently running there as part of the Love Arts Festival is aiming to give a flavour of those days.


What are the origins of the Shoulder of Mutton and how did a pub named after a slab of meat become the vibrant vegetarian café and arts centre that it is today? This is the question posed by David Mackie in his history of the pub that forms part of the exhibition. The original tavern was built in the 1700s.

‘It is said to have been a pleasant journey from Leeds to Allerton 200 years ago past the small and charming hamlet of Sheepscar with it’s village green’.

Although you did have to watch out for highwaymen apparently, before you get too nostalgic.


There’s lots more fascinating stuff.

‘By the 1770s Chapel Allerton was beginning to play the role of a resort or retreat for the members of the higher classes of Leeds’

– who would have thought that? There’s lots about the more recent history of the pub, including its eventually loss of its licence because of drug offences.

There’s some information about the project at the following blog:

presumably you can leave your memories there – although many people seem to have taken to writing theirs on the walls.

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Inkwell seems to have gone into overdrive at the moment. A glance at their what’s on poster shows a whole range of interesting stuff from life drawing classes, a jazz choir, a ‘secret cinema’, creative writing and lots more, so it’s a very good time to call in for a look at the history of the pub. Particularly good times would seem to be for the Craft Café on Thursday afternoons (cakes, crafts and fun), or the Saturday Café (homemade vegetarian food and delicious cakes – they seem to like their cakes).

The exhibition will run until November 9th.

Twitter: @ShoulderStories

Call: 0113 301 0108