It’s Grimm Up North

Grimm cover

Grimm - title page (2)With Children’s Book Week starting on June 30th what better time to showcase our 1909 Grimm’s Fairy Tales¸ translated by Mrs Edgar Lucas & Illustrated by Arthur Rackham.

Originally printed in 1900 by Messers. Archibald Constable & Co., Ltd this edition was printed in 1909 after illustrator Rackham spent 10 years reworking the 40 illustrations into colour.



Grimm’s Fairy Tales began life as recordings and reworking of oral folktales collected by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in early 1800s Germany. Originally written for adults in 1819 the brothers reworked the stories for an audience of children by toning down the sexual and violent elements of the tales. An introduction was added urging parents to make sure the subject matter was suitable before sharing the stories with their children.

Hansel & Grethel

Hansel & Grethel

Moralistic undertones were also added to the tales and in some cases details and embellishments included that doubled the original length of a story.



Our addition carries the illustrations of London artist Arthur Rackham who originally illustrated the tales in black and white before reworking them into colour. Rackham’s illustrations beautifully bring the stories to life

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

Currently shelved in the stacks if you wish to view this item please visit the Information & Research Library, second floor, Leeds Central Library and ask at the counter. No appointment necessary.

Celebrating the Yorkshire Festival

drama 037
As part of the 2014 Yorkshire Festival we wanted to show you some of the Heritage Yorkshire stock we have here at Leeds Central Library.
‘Yorkshire Painted & Described’ by Gordon Home was acquired by the Leeds Public Libraries Reference Library on the 9th June 1956 with 71 illustrations accompanying Home’s description of his tour across the Yorkshire region. Written in 1908 oversees agents may have seen volumes reach as far as America, Canada, India and Australia.
It’s not just the illustrations that add visual impact to the volume but the cover itself. Bound in a faded sage canvas the title, author and publisher details are embossed in gold with an inlay showing the white rose of Yorkshire and its green foliage.

To the right is Radstock’s ‘Views in Yorkshire’ open to an illustration of Central Market Leeds, drawn by N. Whittock and originally engraved in steel by J. Shury. The image was published in London by J. T. Hinton No4. Warwick Square, December 15th 1828 and the whole book comprises various drawn images capturing scenes and places from Yorkshire.

Open to an image of Haworth Church is ‘The Spell of Yorkshire´ by J. Cumming Walters, illustrated from original drawings by Frank Greenwood. The green cloth bound book was published by Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London and an inside page carries the hand written inscription “with love from Mary Morgan Xmas 1931”. The volume was presented to the City of Leeds public Libraries by Sir Alvary Gascoigne in memory of his father, Col. F.R.T. Gascoigne and is part of the Gascoigne Collection housed at Leeds Central Library.

Beneath this volume can be seen the intricate gold embossing of leaves on a red cloth background of “A Book About Yorkshire” by J. S. Fletcher. Also a member of the Gascoigne collection Fletcher’s book carries on the title page the quote “THE BEST SHIRE OF ENGLAND – Fuller”. With 16 colour illustrations by Wal Paget and Frank Southgate, R.B.A. and 16 other illustrations, the item was published in 1908 and donated to the library in 1970.

For those of you with a love of both Charles Dickens and Yorkshire we can recommend the small red cloth bound ‘With Dickens in Yorkshire’ by T. P. Cooper, a second edition – revised, 1924. The 145 pages explores the Yorkshire locations featured throughout Dickens works and includes an introduction by B. W. Matz, ‘Editor of “The Dickensian,” Author of “ The Inns and Taverns of Pickwick,” “Dickensian Inns and Taverns,” &c.’ This volume was published by Ben Johnson & Co., Ltd, Micklegate, York.

The final book of the row, bound in a dark green is “Highways & Byways in Yorkshire” by Arthur H. Norway with illustrations by Joseph Pennell and Hugh Thomson. The 1899 volume displays multiple illustrations and plates including one of a highwayman holding another rider at gun point on The Great North Road.

The above books are all part of the Information & Research Library on the second floor of Leeds Central Library. The Local & Family History Library on the second floor has a large selection of Yorkshire reference books.

Doorways to Another World

Title quote from writer Michael Sims

When your building is 130 years old covering five floors you end up with many doors leading to many different places. Doors are easy to miss, they are never your focus but an object that needs to be gotten past on route to your destination. Today we have stopped for a moment to look at these structures in a little more detail and maybe on your next visit you might see more than you ever saw before.

door panelWhen you enter the library from the main Calverley Street entrance you find yourself at two sets of double swinging doors to the Atrium. These large glazed inner doors leading to the stairwell have alabaster surrounds probably sourced from Nottinghamshire. Towards the bottom are carved panels depicting a floral motif, a pattern repeated on some of the double glazed doors throughout the building. At the base of each hinged side a stamped brass floor plate bares the mark of J&H SMITH LTD of LEEDS.
brass floor plate

100 keyWhat is now the Local & Family History Department was originally the Public Reference Library with two doors of noticeable interest. At one end of the room is the Strong Room door where reference books of value would have been kept under lock and key. The door is numbered 100 and its key stamped the same. At eye level the original enamel sign request users to “Please close this door quietly”, a reminder of the Reference rooms past as a place of silent study.

Librarians office ref

At the other end of this room can be found the Librarians office. A small space carved out of a corner of the building by floor to ceiling bookshelves and a stained glass door.

Those of you who have attended events at Leeds Central Library may have visited the top floor meeting room with its double arched doors, arched surround and tricky handle.
3rd floor mtg room 001

door96When the Municipal Buildings first opened each room was identified by its own individual number in brass upon the door. However one door shared its number throughout the building. Door number 96 can be found in the basement with doors 96a, 96b, 96c and 96d, visible on each floor as you climb the building. A give away to its purpose is the number pad at the side with a button marked “Lift Coming” at the top. Behind this door is the library booklift, but that’s a post for another day.

All the doors int he above post can be seen in public access parts of the Leeds Central Library

D-Day Remembered

We Remember D-Day Frank Shaw & Joan Shaw

We Remember D-Day
Frank Shaw & Joan Shaw

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings by the Allied invasion as part of World War II Operation Overload. Approximately 156,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches suffering casualties in excess of 12,000 personnel.

The Leeds Central Library Information & Research department holds a large number of items detailing the invasion, and the days and months that followed. Included are biographies, memoirs and WWII histories with a selection currently on display within the department. All of these items are part of our loanable stock and can be borrowed by library members. Normandy is famous as the largest seaborne invasion in history, contributing to an Allied victory a year later.

D-Day Display - Information & Research Library

D-Day Display – Information & Research Library

The consequences of war were felt across the UK including the Leeds Library service. An extract from the City of Leeds Public Libraries Reference Library Narrative Report, 1940-1941 reported the effects of an order forbidding specific local collections and a 1000 volumes including guide books and maps from being loaned to the public. This and “people finding a lack of opportunity for serious study caused by the increasing war demand upon spare-time” had resulted in a decrease of people using the Reference Library. However on a more positive note it was found that “As a consequence reading is recreational and this borne out by the increased demands made upon the city’s lending libraries”.

Todays Information & Research Library has over 80,000 items of loanable stock stored in the stacks. While the public cannot browse these they are all included in the library catalogue and can be retrieved by staff at your request.

The Information & Research Library is located on the second floor of Leeds Central Library.