A Brief History of Leeds #1: The 15th-century

The first in a series of articles exploring the history of Leeds, using books and other stock resources held in the Leeds Libraries collections. For all the entries in this series, see our dedicated page. We start our story some 500-years ago in the 15th-century, at Kirkstall Abbey, established by pioneering Cistercian monks in 1152…

Wartime Women in Leodis

This week we hear from Leanne Speight, student at Leeds Beckett University, who has been part of a team working on a fantastic new website looking at the ‘Leeds Blitz’ of 1941… I remember my Great Grandma telling me in passing about her work in a munition factory during the Second World War. It was…

People of Leeds #19: The Pioneering Life of Jessie Beatrice Kitson

On the Secret Library this week we hear from Local and Family History’s Josh Flint who in celebration of International Women’s Day writes about the first women to be Mayor of Leeds, Jessie Beatrice Kitson and examine how she is represented in the Local and Family History Collection. This pioneer was part of the famous…

Searching for Alice Mann

As part of our series for International Women’s Day, librarian Antony Ramm lays out the path that took him to one of his favourite women of Leeds: Alice Mann… I first came across the name of Alice Mann (1791-1865) while reading Derek Fraser’s collection of articles in Volume 53 of the Publications of the Thoresby…

Rediscovering the Lost Streets of Victorian Burmantofts and Sheepscar

Funded by a Jane Moody Scholarship, University of York PhD researcher Joanne Harrison is collaborating with Leeds Central Library’s Local and Family History department and Leeds Museums and Galleries to deliver five online workshops. She reports here on this exciting project that will bring an improved experience to users of the Leodis archive, and a…

Have Yourself A Merry Library Christmas

This week we hear from Librarian Louise Birch, who will be sharing a very special Christmas Carol from the Local and Family History Department. “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Library not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse” “The stockings were hung by the counter with care, in hopes that…

A Garden Through Time: Headingley Zoological and Botanical Gardens

This week on the Secret Library we hear from local artist Matthew Bellwood, who talks us through a fascinating interactive local history walk, which we were very honoured to contribute resources to, primarily from Leodis, our archive of historical Leeds images… A lost landmark of Leeds has been brought back to life in A Garden…

Hard workers, not burdens: Disabled and Deaf mill workers in Yorkshire

This week we hear from artist Gill Crawshaw, who has been delving into the Central Library archives to uncover the hidden history of disability and West Yorkshire’s textile heritage. The article is published to mark the start of UK Disability History Month, which began on November 18. A few years ago, I became interested in…