Glimpses of Mary Gawthorpe

As International Women’s Day approaches, we look at some inspirational women of Leeds, as chosen by Local and Family History staff. Here librarian, Helen Skilbeck, reveals her admiration of a local suffragist. A personal favourite of mine is Mary Gawthorpe (1881-1973) who was a teacher, suffragist, suffragette, organiser and public speaker for the WSPU (Women’s…

People of Leeds #16: The Brothers Johnson, Swimmers Extraordinaire

A previous blog post took a look at the Cookridge Street Public Baths where the general manager and swimming instruction was Professor Peter Johnson. Today, librarian Helen Skilbeck takes a closer look at Johnson and his younger brother. This article forms #16 in our People of Leeds series. Peter and his brother John Baptist (J.B.)…

People of Leeds #15: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West

This week, we hear from the Central Library’s Helen Skilbeck, who talks us through a fascinating and very-valuable Playbill. This article is #15 in our People of Leeds series – short biographies of lesser-known contributors to Leeds’ past.  Leeds Libraries collection of playbills can be viewed online but one that has not yet been digitised is…

Cookridge Street Public Baths

This week, librarian Helen Skilbeck takes a look back at the history of the public baths on Cookridge Street… Directly opposite Leeds City Museum, on the site of Millennium Square, were Cookridge Street Public Baths –  also known as the Oriental and General Baths. Opened in 1866, these baths survived for nearly a century until…

People of Leeds #11: Superintendent Henry Baker and his Fire Books

This week Helen Skilbeck looks at a collection of scrapbooks compiled by Superintendent Henry Baker of Leeds Corporation Fire Brigade, covering the period 1870 – 1896. This article is #11 in our People of Leeds series – short biographies of lesser-known contributors to Leeds’ past.  Deep within the stacks in Leeds Central Library are a collection…

People of Leeds #10: Godfrey Wood, Confectioner

A recent blog post by librarian Helen Skilbeck looked at Godfrey Wood’s Victorian Catering Ledger which shows the events his catering business provided food and services for.  This follow-up post, also by Helen, looks in more detail at Godfrey Wood himself. This article is #10 in our People of Leeds series – short biographies of…

The Glory of Goad Maps

In the blog this week, Librarian Helen Skilbeck looks at some beautiful but underused maps in our collection – Goad maps. This piece forms part of our series of articles exploring resources relevant to family history research.  In the Local and Family History Library there are hundreds of maps – maps of Leeds, maps of…

A Victorian Catering Ledger

This week, Librarian Helen Skilbeck takes a look at an unusual piece of Leeds’ history: Godfrey Wood’s Victorian Catering Ledger. Unassuming to look at but containing a goldmine of information, Wood’s Catering Ledger details events and banquets he catered for in the Victorian era, covering the period 1840s – 1870s.  As well as detailing the…