Speed-dating our Library Treasures IV

Last Wednesday night saw the latest instalment of the Speed-date a Library Treasure event, this time taking place in the cosy upstairs room of Further North in Chapel Allerton.  Leeds Libraries staff brought along a number of treasures from the special collections and with 3 minutes between each bell they hurried to extol the virtues…

Speed-dating our Library Treasures II: Small Books and Big Ideas

by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Central Library You may recall that, during our 2016 Library Fest programme, we trialled a new event: Speed-date our Library Treasures. Put simply, this was an opportunity for the public to engage with a wide range of some of our most interesting and unique stock items, all curated by…

William Darby and the Ghosts of the Past

by Antony Ramm, Local and Family History, Leeds Central Library The following article was edited for publication as part of last Friday’s collaboration with the Norfolk Heritage Centre. This is the unedited version and forms Part III of a loose trilogy on (some) meanings in the study of local history. Part I is here; Part…

William Darby in Norwich and Leeds: Life and Death

This week on the Secret Library we welcome Orla Kennelly from the Norfolk Heritage Centre. Orla kindly agreed to write a section for our blog focusing on the circus manager and performer, William Darby – aka Pablo Fanque. Darby was born in Norwich, but is buried in Leeds; Orla’s section looks at Darby’s early years, while our part concentrates…

Pablo is Coming!

Marking the end of Black History month this week we are sharing three playbills from our collections featuring Pablo Fanque, Britain’s first black circus owner. Born William Darby on 28th February 1796 in Norwich he joined the circus in 1810 as an apprentice to William Batty who owned a small travelling circus. He was known as…