LEEDS Museums and Galleries are celebrating a record number of visitors over the past year.

Statistics from the city’s nine council-run sites show that more than 1.6 million people looked round an array of exhibitions and displays between April 2018 and April 2019.

The figure is the service’s highest ever, representing an increase of around 23 per cent on the previous year, when around 1.3million people visited locations including Temple Newsam, Lotherton, Kirkstall Abbey, Thwaite Watermill, Abbey House Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum, Leeds City Museum and Leeds Art Gallery.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “This wonderful news is a credit to the remarkable skill, boldness and creativity of everyone working at our museums and galleries. Their dedication has animated our historic sites and inspired a remarkable number of visitors of all ages from across Leeds and beyond.

“It is also testament to the very special place which culture and the arts have in Leeds and the city’s enduring enthusiasm for heritage, learning and discovery. Despite a challenging national climate for local museums and galleries, Leeds is bucking the trend because we believe that these institutions are an important part of our city’s cultural landscape both now and in the future.”

In a landmark year Leeds Museums and Galleries have commemorated the centenary of the Armistice and100 years since the first women in the UK won the right to vote.

Otley’s most famous son was also celebrated in an exhibition at Leeds City Museum . Thomas Chippendale, 1718-1779: A Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of the renowned cabinet-maker.