Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens: A Brief History

This week, Kyle Thomason, a heritage volunteer at the Central Library, writes about the long lost Zoological Gardens in Headingley. The Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens were unknown to me until a few months ago. However, when I was younger I regularly saw what I thought was a mini Castle, over grown with no information…

Captain Cook and Doctor Priestley: A Library Tale for Our Times

Heritage volunteer Tony Scaife imagines a secret meeting of great minds in 18th century Leeds… Having borrowed a copy of Peter Whitley’s Lord North: The Prime Minister Who Lost America from Leeds Libraries, I became intrigued at the similarities between the 1770s and today. As his many Whig critics claimed, Lord North’s bungling government negligently lost…

Crime and Punishment in Leeds, 1850

Volunteers’ Week takes place every year from 1-7 June. Leeds Libraries held a celebratory reception yesterday, recognizing the efforts of our volunteering team – including event supporters, At-Home Service deliverers, partners and, of course, heritage volunteers – several of whom have written for this very blog. Today, we hand over to another of these, Joan Ellis,…

When the Robots Came to Leeds

Heritage volunteer and guest blogger Tony Scaife looks back to 1920s Leeds, when the new word ‘robot’ had a somewhat different meaning… The robot army arrived in Leeds on Friday 16 March 1928. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether Councillor Turtington and the other members of the Leeds Highways Committee were prescient, deluded or…

Secrets of the Palm 3: What to Do on a Wet Thursday Night in Harrogate

Leeds Libraries Heritage Volunteer Tony Scaife delves once more into the pages of The Palm, the magazine of the old Leeds Central High School, which is archived in the Local and Family History Library at shelfmark L 373 PAL. In late August of 1920, four Central High School boys decided to go On a Holiday, leaving a record of…

Fragments of War: Quieter Voices

 By Stuart Hennigan, Communities Librarian, and Ross Horsley, Local and Family History Library World War 1 is famous for its poetry. More than that of any other war in history, the poetry of World War 1 has determined our perception of the war itself. Most people have read, or at least heard of, such luminary war poets as…

Pottering About Thinking

By Tony Scaife, Heritage Volunteer, Local and Family History, Leeds Central Library One of the advantages of a Heritage Volunteer/retirement job share is the temptation it gives you to wander about in the marvellous collection of the Local and Family History Library and digress from any assigned task. I am following the life and times of…

A Leeds Schoolgirl Reflects on WW1

As part of Dying Matters awareness week, The Secret Library investigates the story behind a powerful poem on the subject of death and loss. Our Heritage Volunteer Maureen Jessop discovered the piece while reading and indexing the magazine of Leeds Girls’ High, the school that stood in Headingley from 1876 until its merger with Leeds Grammar School in…