The Mechanics’ Institute: Part I – Cultivating Minds

We hear from regular guest author Tony Scaife on the Secret Library this week. This is the first of a series on the Leeds Mechanics Institute, sourced from books and other resources available in the Local Studies & Research department at the Central Library… When I first moved to Leeds, I was struck by how…

Edible Leeds Trail – HOD 2021

This year, to coincide with Heritage Open Days 2021, the Local and Family History Library have created an Edible Leeds Trail. The trail highlights past and present areas of the city centre connected to the food and drink industry and can be followed in order as a 45 minute walk. 1. Leeds Town HallThe Town…

Novels That Shaped Our World: Life, Death and Other Worlds

Before The Lord of the Rings, before The Chronicles of Narnia and before Game of Thrones came The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison – the pioneering Leeds-born fantasy author of the early 20th-century. This week on the Secret Library blog we hear from Library Officer Philip Wilde, who talks us through Eddison, his life in…

People of Leeds #4: Olga Denver

The fourth in an occasional series looking at forgotten contributors to the history of Leeds. This week, we tell the story of Olga Denver, circus-performer and friend to Hollywood stars. You can read more about the history of the circus in Leeds elsewhere on the blog, or view all entries in this People of Leeds series. …

Tales from Circus 250: A Topography of the Circus in Leeds, Part II

Part II 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 second topographical look at the various Circus sites in and around Leeds… Readers…

A Partial History of Leeds Central Library

This last Wednesday, to mark National Libraries Week, four of our Local and Family History team, plus one intrepid volunteer, delivered a talk offering a brief history of Leeds Central Library, primarily derived from material found in several volumes of news-cuttings covering public libraries in Leeds. So, this week on the Secret Library we offer…

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

As we welcome in the Year of the Dog, librarian Ross Horsley looks back over some of the ways Leeds Libraries has worked with the city’s Chinese community over the past twelve months, exploring local history in what was the Year of the Rooster.  The Leeds Is My Home project is a collaboration between Leeds…

Once Upon a Time in Leeds Central Library

by Rhian Isaac, Collections Manager, Leeds Central Library “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”  – Neil Gaiman During Library Fest in February we delivered an array of fairy tale related events from children’s theatre performances to film…