Tracing the Belgian Refugees

This week we hear from Dr. Philippa Read, Research Fellow in the School of Languages, Culture and Societies at the University of Leeds, on a new family history database from the Universities of Leeds and Leuven… A hundred years ago, approximately 250,000 Belgian men, women and children came to Britain after the invasion and subsequent…

November 11, 1918: A Brief History of Leeds on Armistice Day

Librarian Antony Ramm takes a  look at Leeds on the day the First World War ended… When the Lord Major Joseph Henry announced to the people of Leeds that “the armistice has been signed and that fighting has been stopped from 11 o’clock this morning,” he sparked celebratory scenes which commenced almost immediately. Crowds began…

Leeds in the First World War: New Leodis Collection

To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, it seems a good time to delve into our Leodis photographic archive to see how Leeds fared during this period. A selection of these images has been brought together for the first time in a new Leodis Collection on the First World War, showcasing…

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…

Oliver Cromwell and the First World War

Following last week’s look at our latest Speed-dating our Library Treasures event, Josh Flint from the Local and Family History department explains his fascination with Captain P.A. Charrier’s early 20th-century book on Oliver Cromwell… The Campaigns of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War: 1642- 1649, was written by Captain P. A. Charrier in 1906. Charrier,…

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…

The Lady Tram-Conductor

Here’s a little insight into First World War-era Leeds for you today, in the form of a poem written by Burley resident Edward Carless, and dated 12 February 1916: The Lady Tram-Conductor: A Working Man’s Tribute Strange things happen in time of war; A lady now conducts the car! In uniform, so smart and trim, She’s…

In Memory of David Strachan, a Yorkshire Scot

Guest blogger Val Hewson, from the Reading Sheffield project, tells the story of David Strachan, a Leeds librarian who died in the First World War. Val came across him by chance, in a 1923 article in the Library Association Record about plans for a memorial to librarians lost in the war. One hundred years ago…