Local History Quiz #7: Leeds Central Library

This week’s local history quiz focuses on the history of our magnificent, Grade-II listed Central Library building and is brought to you by librarian Louise Birch.  Most of the answers can be found somewhere on this site, and you can see the full-set of answers at the bottom of the page…

Q1. What year did the Central Library open on Calverley Street?

  1. 1880
  2. 1884
  3. 1886
An engraving of the new Municipal Buildings, designed to concentrate all the administrative council departments of Leeds under one roof. (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

Q2. The Central Library shares an architect with the Grand Theatre in Leeds: who was it?

  1. George Corson
  2. Cuthbert Broderick
  3. E Vincent Harris
George Corson
The Central Library architect…but what was his name?

Q3. What was the original use of the Tiled Hall?

  1. Exhibition space
  2. Reading Room
  3. Municipal Banqueting Room
Artist’s impression of the Tiled Hall cafe on opening – but what was its original purpose?

Q4. What year saw the Central Library employ female assistants?

  1. 1898
  2. 1906
  3. 1920

Q5. The Leeds Museum moved to the first floor of the Central Library in 1966 – which member of the Royal Family opened the new museum?

  1. The Queen
  2. Princess Anne
  3. Princess Margaret
C1969. A woman studies a display of water birds from all over the world at the Leeds City Museum on the first floor of the Municipal Buildings. (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

Q6. The Museum had a live exhibition on the first floor; legend has it a creature escaped and lived on in the building undetected until it’s death – what was it?

  1. Iguana
  2. Squirrel
  3. Snake

Q7. Which local boy and cartographer drew the first atlas of England & Wales in 1579? (the Central Library has a copy)

  1. John Dee
  2. John Speed
  3. Christopher Saxton
Detail from the Yorkshire map in our 1579 Atlas…but to whom is it attributed?

Q8. Which famous local author has fond memories of studying in the Central Reference Library?

  1. Alan Bennett
  2. Barbara Taylor Bradford
  3. Arthur Ransome

Q9. The Cistercian Missal (1516) has been in our collection since 1901, but in which famous Leeds place did it originate?

  1. Harewood House
  2. Kirkstall Abbey
  3. Temple Newsam
The Central Library’s copy of the Cistercian Missal (1516)

Q10. In July 1934, Leeds Police HQ & CID moved into the first floor of the Central Library building. They moved out in 1965 – to which building did they go?

  1. Millgarth Police Station
  2. Brotherton House
  3. Leeds Town Hall
Image showing the Central Library when the Police part-occupied it…until they went where? (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

Q11. On 14th March 1941 the Central Library sustained damage in which event?

  1. A World War II aerial bomb
  2. A local riot
  3. An internal fire cause by staff using cookers to make lunch

Q12. The Gramophone Library opened in which year?

  1. 1952
  2. 1957
  3. 1960

Q.13 In 1966 the City Engineers condemned the Central Library as ready to collapse under the weight of the books it carried. Over two weekends books were removed and placed on the basement floors of surrounding buildings hastily hired for this purpose – how many books in total were removed?

  1. 40,000
  2. 60,000
  3. 80,000
Photo shows the removal of books during the 1966 ‘Great Book Crisis’ at the Central Library. (c) Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

Q14. In 1987, Leeds Central Library purchased which banned book?

  1. Spy catcher
  2. Catch-22
  3. Lolita

Q15. Before he became the City Librarian in 1968, A. B. Craven was known for completing what daring act?

  1. He single-handedly took down an armed robber in the library
  2. He scaled the front of the library building and knocked on the window of the 2nd floor Reference Library, asking to be let it
  3. He filed all the non-fiction out of Dewey order

Q16. The Tiled Hall displays carved heads of great writers, but whose head was destroyed sometime around the mid-20th Century?

  1. Macaulay
  2. Homer
  3. Goethe

Q17. How did Leeds Central Library acquire one of its main treasures – William Boyne’s seven-volume, grangerised History of Leeds?

  1. Found in a 2nd-hand book shop by a Librarian and purchased for £10
  2. Purchased by Mr. Richard Wilson for £175 and sold to the Library Service for the same amount
  3. Donated by William Boyne directly to Leeds Central Library
One of many beautiful prints found in Boyne’s History of Leeds – but how did the Central Library acquire that treasure?

Q18. In which year was the screen segregating women and male readers removed from the newspaper room, to be replaced with a women-only table?

  1. 1940
  2. 1945
  3. 1950

Q19. Which film set in World War I saw Leeds Central Library pretend to be an Oxford University college for filming purposes?

  1. Testament of Youth (2014)
  2. Tolkien (2019)
  3. Private Peaceful (2012)
A screening of the film in question (with identifying image obscured!)…but which movie was it?

Q20. For a 10-month period the Central Library closed for essential works, with a reduced library service running out of parts of the Town Hall. Over which two years did the work span?

  1. 1997/1998
  2. 1998/1999
  3. 1999/2000


How did you do? Click here to see how many answers you got right!

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