John De Morgan

John De Morgan (1877-1880) Calverley Street and Great George Street The Leeds School Board building was designed by George Corson and opened in 1881 (Corson was also responsible for the neighbouring Municipal Building). As well as a significant site of local power in its own right, the School Board was also briefly home to a…

Alice Mann (1791-1865)

Alice Mann (1791-1865) Central Street and Duncan Street This Leeds-born radical and publisher operated primarily from a bookshop based in the now-demolished Central Market on Duncan Street (near to Central Street). Alice married James Mann, a prominent West Riding political activist and bookseller, in 1807. After his death she took on his business to support…

The Leeds Tailoress’ Strike

Leeds Tailoress’ Strike (1889) 33 Park Square Messrs. Arthur & Co Ltd tailoring works were based at 33 Park Square: the scene of the 1889 Tailoress’ Strike. The strike began on October 22, when over 600 workers at Arthur & Co. stopped work. The workers were frustrated at a draconian system of fines and deductions, …

The Music Hall (1858)

The Music Hall (1858) Covered Entrance, Albion Street and Trinity Arcade On the 14th December 1858 a meeting was held at the Music Hall on Albion Street to protest against the British opium trade with India and China. The meeting was chaired by Edward Baines and gentlemen including Arthur Lupton, William Hey and Wilson Armistead…

Heritage Open Day 2019: Power and Protest

Eagle-eyed (or, perhaps, just sleepless) readers of the Secret Library blog will have noticed a flurry of articles published in the wee-small hours of the morning – all concerned with some aspect of Power or Protest in the history of Leeds. These articles are to complement and expand on information contained in a new heritage…

The Dripping Riot of 1865

The Dripping Riot (1865) Park Square Eliza Stafford worked as cook to the surgeon and magistrate Henry Chorley. He discovered she was stealing dripping from his kitchen and brought charges against her. She was found guilty and imprisoned for a month in Armley Prison. The case brought much public sympathy for Eliza and on February…

The Lady Ludd Riots of 1812

Lady Ludd Riots (August 1812) Briggate These took place on Briggate at the height of summer, when a group of women and boys marched through the street attacking corn merchants in protest at perceived high prices. The group was led by a figure styling themselves as ‘Lady Ludd’ – named after ‘Ned Ludd’, the (possibly…

The Corn-price Riot of 1735 and the Turnpike Riot of 1753

Corn Price Riot (1735) Corner of Briggate & King Edward Street During the 18th and early 19th-centuries Leeds saw a significant amount of rioting relating to corn prices and, later, Corn Laws. In 1735 it was reported that, whilst huge amounts of corn were being produced and exported cheaply, Leeds citizens were met with rising,…