15 November 2011

Gumption Centres at Leeds City Varieties

Gumption Centres are a set of serviced offices in the centre of Bradford started and run by my good friends David Robertson Brown and John Sims nearly 5 years ago. Just under 2 years ago David and John branched out into VoIP and virtual office services with GB Offices. Yesterday, I checked out their latest venture which is meeting room accommodation at Leeds City Varieties.

Leeds City Varieties is one of our few surviving and thriving music halls (not unlike Vaudeville in the USA) and its auditorium is one of the most beautiful theatres anywhere. For many years it was the venue for the BBC varieties show "The Good Old Days" where members of the audience wore period costume.

My late mother, who came from Bramhope, one of the posher Leeds suburbs, would have been horrified by my visiting the Varieties because it was no place for a lady when she was a girl. As you can see from the photo, times have changed. I was given a conducted tour by the centre manager. I photographed her in Gumption's space at the Centre.

Another lady I met at the Centre, was Gaynor Beckett, an employment law and litigation consultant. Gaynor, who qualified as a solicitor and worked for trade unions and in local government, offers practical advice on employment law. Essentially keeping folk out of trouble and legal expenses down. As the legal services industry is undergoing changes comparable to those that revolutionized the financial services industry in the 1980s I am sure she iwill do very well indeed.

Why Gumption Centres? When I moved to the Huddersfield Media Centre at the end of 2004 I arranged an exhibition and conference on invention and innovation at the Media Centre and the University called "Brass from Gumption" on 18 Feb 2005. It was a triumph with speakers of the calibre of Trevor Baylis and Lawrence Smith Higgins of the IPO and visitors from all over England. David helped me arrange the event. After the conference he asked me whether he could use the name for his business which I was glad to let him do so. He and John helped me over the years by hosting conferences and seminars and other services and I have assisted them with advice and drafting in return.