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 LEEDS SUFFRAGETTE trail

Heritage trail of Leeds City Centre, showcasing significant sites of meaning for the history of the Suffragette movement in Leeds. This tour was devised by Klara Mills, formerly of the Local and Family History department, in collaboration with Nicola Pullen of Abbey House Museum. Woodhouse Moor The site of the largest Suffragette rally in the…

LGBT+ Leeds: A Brief History in Photographs

A heritage project called West Yorkshire Queer Stories recently spent two years interviewing LGBT+ people across the region in order to find out more about local queer history. The result is a new website packed with information and anecdotes reaching back to the 1950s, at wyqs.co.uk. Project worker Ross Horsley has picked out some of…

Reviewing Statues in Leeds

Leeds City Council is reviewing the statues in Leeds to see how they can better represent the diversity of our city. The Leader of the Council, Councillor Judith Blake has commissioned an independent review into the statues in Leeds. The review will: look at the way the city has celebrated individuals through statues review all…

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…