The Thoresby Society is the historical society for Leeds and its surrounding area and is open to everyone interested in the city’s rich past and its development over the centuries. It has a long-established library and archive collection, including historic maps, newspapers, and images, provides a varied programme of monthly talks and summer excursions, and publishes original research on aspects of Leeds history in its highly regarded annual publication (free to members).

The Society was named after Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725), the first historian of Leeds. It was founded in 1889 to encourage and foster an interest in the history of Leeds and its area, to support and publish relevant research, and to collect and preserve material from the past. Today it continues to welcome members with an interest in local history, and its collections and lectures are open to the public.

You will find more about the Society’s library, activities, and publications, as well as background information on Leeds history, by exploring the topics listed on the left.


The Thoresby Society is a member of the Centre for Heritage Research based at Leeds University