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…

Tales from Leeds Pantomimes

This week on the Secret Library, local history Librarian, Antony Ramm, brings you three of his favourite stories from Leeds’ rich pantomime tradition. Oh yes he does! In May of 1986, J. Ingle of Otley wrote to the Yorkshire Evening Post to ask how long pantomimes had been taking place in Leeds – and was…

The Manuscript Collection #1: The Armley Enclosure Act & Award, 1793

In the first in an occasional series, Antony Ramm, Assistant Librarian for the Local and Family History department, takes a look at an item in the Central Library’s collection of manuscripts. Many of these manuscripts have not yet been added to our online catalogue, and can only be found in our traditional card catalogue; it…

Briggate in Brief

Local History Librarian, Ross Horsley, celebrates Black Friday with a special deal of ten FREE facts about Briggate, one of the oldest streets in Leeds. Whether you’re on the lookout for seasonal deals or finally getting to grips with your Christmas list, it’s likely you’ll find yourself on Leeds’s main shopping street at some point…

Explore Your Archive: the Leeds College of Building

Next week sees the return of a familiar landmark in the heritage sector calendar: the Explore Your Archive week of events, which is designed to “increase public awareness of the essential role of archives in our society, celebrate our network of collections and emphasise the skills and professionalism of the sector.” As part of that…

A History of the Leeds City War Memorial

As Remembrance Day draws near, librarian Helen Skilbeck looks back at the history of the war memorial in Victoria Gardens, close to Leeds Central Library. Until the 1930s, there were buildings occupying the now paved area that now runs the whole length of the Library, City Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute. These included the Leeds…

The Leeds Riot Map Collection

Assistant Librarian Antony Ramm takes a look at a new addition to the Local and Family History department in the Central Library. The recent arrival in our Local and Family History department of a new map series is to be welcomed. This is the Leeds Riot Map collection, originally created by Tim Waters for a…

Traces of Tolkien in Leeds

Please note that Alaric Hall’s talk on J. R. R. Tolkien and the University of Leeds has now been cancelled, “because the University and College Union is on strike this week due to proposed changes in the employment conditions of University of Leeds staff.” You can find details of other forthcoming talks at Leeds Central…