HALF a century ago it passed from aristocrats into the hands of the people of Leeds.

Now Lotherton estate has begun a nostalgic look back through 50 years as one of Leeds’ best-loved attractions.

Three new exhibitions featuring images, objects and memorabilia have opened to give visitors a chance to explore five decades of history.

Once home to prominent Leeds family the Gascoignes, the Edwardian country house played an important role in the history of the city and provided a base for the care of injured soldiers during the First World War.

The estate’s last private owner, Sir Alvary Gascoigne, gifted Lotherton Hall along with its garden, parkland and art collection, to Leeds in 1968 and the following year the venue opened as a public museum.

As part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations a new display, End of an Era, has been curated by Lotherton volunteers and takes a closer looks at the last members of the Gascoigne family who lived at the hall. It covers the death, during World War Two, of the heir of Lotherton Douglas Gascoigne - a tragedy that ultimately led to the gift of the hall to Leeds.

A selection of letters written by Sir Alvary during his diplomatic career are also on display, including one describing a private meeting he had with Winston Churchill in 1943.

The hall is also showcasing some of its artistic jewels in the Making exhibition, which includes displays of decorative arts and archive material that tell the stories behind both the collections that were left by the Gascoignes and more recent additions.

The venue’s fashion galleries, meanwhile, are hosting a Fashion Forward exhibition which shines a light on catwalk designs by some of the country’s contemporary talent. For more details visit www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/visit/lotherton-hall .