The Owl on Woodhouse Moor

Bill McKinnon, local historian and activist,  looks back over the life of the Woodhouse Moor Owl – a sculpture so mysterious, we can’t even find a photograph of it! “The Owl … will mount his pedestal today as an emblem of Leeds,” wrote John Lee in the Leeds Times on Saturday 14 April 1883. “The figure of the…

George Lucas of Woodhouse and the Leeds Temperance Movement

Antony Ramm, local history Librarian, takes a brief look at an incident in the life of George Lucas, Temperance campaigner in 1850s Woodhouse… In the mid-19th-century, the dark side of alcohol was well known to contemporaries; specifically, the damage excessive drinking caused working-class individuals and communities. But even as the darkness rose, there was a light to…

The Clothing Strike of 1970

Clothing Strike (1970) Westgate and Great George Street In February 1970, textile workers in Leeds began an unofficial strike in support of their demand for a shilling an hour pay increase. The strike snowballed, with workers attracting further support as they marched from clothing factory to clothing factory – until more than 20,000 people were…

Tales from Circus 250: A Topography of the Circus in Leeds, Part IV

Part IV of a short series of stories from the glory days of the Circus in Leeds and the surrounding area. All the stories can be found in the History of Leeds Circus tab at the top of this page, continuing with today’s fourth and final topographical look at the various Circus sites in and around Leeds……

Nineteenth Century Politics – The Leeds Parliamentary Election of 1868

This week we hear from Josh Flint of the Local and Family History Department, who will look at the Parliamentary Election held on the 17th November 1868. The 1868 election in Leeds was fought between two Liberal candidates Edward Baines Jr and Robert Meek Carter; an Independent Liberal Sir Andrew Fairbairn and two Conservatives Admiral…

Cross-dressing in Yorkshire

This week we welcome guest writer Lauren Wells, Post-Graduate Researcher at the University of Leeds, who explores the history and meaning(s) of cross-dressing in Yorkshire… My research examines men who cross-dressed in Yorkshire from the end of the nineteenth century until the eve of the Second World War. When I first conceptualised this project, I…

A Library at War: Leeds Central Library during WW2

Ahead of next week’s Lunchtime Talk, which will see our team of Librarians from the Local and Family History department offering a brief history of Leeds Central Library, we hear from regular guest author Mike Harwood, who tells the story of this building during the tumult of World War 2… ‘Tuesday, 31 October 1939: “Felt energetic…

1970 Clothing Strike: New Resource

We were delighted to welcome University of Leeds student, Jessica Heath, to the Central Library in March of this year. Jessica led a workshop exploring the causes and effects of the 1970 Clothing Strike across Leeds, which was largely led by women workers. The legacy of that workshop, as Librarian Antony Ramm explains, was the…