The Victorian Professions

Antony Ramm, part of the Librarian team in the Local and Family History department reports on a fascinating talk recently given at the Central Library. Over 50 people attended the latest in our Lunchtime Talk series, when we welcomed Professor Laurence Brockliss of the University of Oxford, who introduced our audience to a major research…

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…

Letters From the Past

  by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Central Library While researching upcoming events on the life and career of the 18th-century Leeds Schoolmaster and Antiquarian, Thomas Wilson, we were directed by the ‘manuscripts’ section of the card catalogue in our Local and Family History department toward a very-intriguing collection of letters: The particular interest…

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,…

Back-to-Back Houses and their Communities

University of York PhD researcher Joanne Harrison is working on an exciting project about the past, present and future of back-to-back houses and their communities in Harehills. Leeds Local and Family History Library is helping Joanne engage with the local communities, working with them to understand the neighbourhood, promote its value, and safeguard its future. Joanne writes… We all…

May Day and Mrs Montagu

We couldn’t let today pass without a look at the holiday’s traditional association with chimney sweeps – the focus of our current ‘Sweepiana’ display at Central Library. Natascha Allen-Smith and Jonathan Wright investigate… May Day is both a religious and secular occasion, celebrated as a devotion to the Virgin Mary but also a ceremony of dance and the crowning the Queen of…

Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living

by Louise Birch and Ross Horsley, Local and Family History, Leeds Central Library Today is Workers Memorial Day, marking the sacrifice of those who have died as a result of their job, and reminding all employers and employees of the importance of looking after their colleagues. In front of Leeds Central Library, a new plaque was unveiled bearing…

“We Smile”: A Curious Donation of Photographs

by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Central Library We recently received a new addition to our collections: a photograph album featuring images of holidays in the North of England during 1920 and 1921. The album was donated to us in the hope we could identify the people depicted in the photos and then –…