The Chimney Corner: Secret Books From The Secret Library #2

The second in an irregular (very irregular) series of books and other items selected from our vast collections. In this entry Librarian Antony Ramm takes a look at a rather nice presentation book with some eye-catching illustrations…

The book – if we can even call it a book – was produced to commemorate a special meeting of the City Council on Friday January 1 1904, at which the Council appointed a new Town Clerk to succeed Mr. W. J. Jeeves.

Before that appointment – of Mr. Robert E. Fox, Town Clerk of Blackburn – however, the Council and its members made a full tribute to Mr. Jeeves, led by Alderman Gordon, Chairman of the Finance Committee, who moved a resolution to that end.

The full text of that resolution and tribute was archived in the meeting minutes, but also by the local newspapers of the day, and recorded the Council’s desire to “record their deep regret” that Mr. Jeeves was leaving a role he had held for 11-years with “exceptional skill and knowledge,” “rare discretion and sound judgement.” Recognised as a hard-working and committed local government officer, Mr. Jeeves was leaving the role to take work as a Barrister for the Parliamentary Bar.  For his part, Mr. Jeeves could “not, he said, but feel deep regret at severing his connection with the city and terminating his career as a public officer.”

Alderman Gordon also proposed that the resolution should be “engrossed and sealed with the Corporate seal and presented to Mr. Jeeves.”

It is that engrossed and sealed resolution that we hold at the Central Library – though whether it is the original given to Mr. Jeeves, or a copy for the Council’s own archive, is not clear.

What is clear, however, is the attractive nature of the printed resolution, described on our library catalogue as being “Three mounted pages done in illuminated manuscript style with the seal of the City of Leeds.”

We’re also told that the illuminators were Jowett and Sowry of Albion Street, Leeds – who did a wonderful job, not least with the small portraits of local landmarks – including Kirkstall Abbey, Roundhay Park, the Town Hall and, last but not least, the Municipal Buildings; which were then, and are now, the home of the Leeds Central Library, from where this short piece was written.

To view this or any other item written about on the Secret Library, please contact our Library Enquiries department on 0113 37 85005 or LibraryEnquiries@leeds.gov.uk

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