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The Alf Mattison Collection

unpublished articles

Alf Mattison was a photographer, local historian, antiquarian, civil servant and socialist. Born in Hunslet in 1868, Mattison developed an early love for his native city’s history, making his own significant contribution to its heritage through his photographs and articles. Many of the former recorded the existence of important old buildings prior to their demolition, while much of the latter were later incorporated into his book The Romance of Old Leeds (1901).

Mattison was also a voracious reader of newspapers, compiling many volumes of newscuttings on Leeds and its history. These form just a small part of the Matisson Collection held at the Central Library, which also includes manuscript articles on subjects such as the development of early Leeds theaters, the life of Ralph Thoresby, the emergence of newspapers in Leeds and literary developments in the city.

Also part of the collection are 16-volumes of Mattison’s Journal – presented to us by his wife, Florence, on Alf”s death, in accordance with his wish that this daily record of life in Leeds be accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

You can read more about Alf and the Mattison Collection in a previous blog post. To view items from the collectionplease visit the Local and Family History department on the 2nd Floor of the Central Library. Two forms of ID (one with your name and another with your address) and at least 24-hours notice will be required to view items from the Treasures or Special Collections (note that much of the Mattison Collection is also available on microfilm, for which no notice is required). Please call 0113 378 5005 for further details and to book an appointment.

A complete list of all the items in the Central Library collection is now available. Further Mattison materials are held by the Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.