2018 meets 1918, 1818, 1718…

To mark (yet another) new year, librarian Antony Ramm takes a brief look at a a small selection of books from the Central Library collections, all celebrating a significant milestone this year (100th-anniversary, 200th-anniversary, 300th-anniversary):  Women and the Labour Party (ed., Dr. Marion Phillips) A collection of essays published in 1918, all written by women…

Chilling Memories

Temperatures may have improved a little recently but last week’s cold snap was nothing compared to the icy conditions experienced by Leeds in times past. Local history librarian Ross Horsley looks back on some of the city’s cruelest winters… “The Wharfe and the Aire are frozen to a depth capable of bearing anything,” reported the Leeds Mercury in…

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…