Volume 26 - 2016
VOICES FROM WARTIME LEEDS 1939-1940:
THREE MASS OBSERVATION DIARIES
Mass Observation was set up in 1937 to document the lives of ‘ordinary people’. It was seen as conducting a sort of ‘science of ourselves’. Its first main publication, May the Twelfth: Mass-Observation Day Surveys 1937, published the testimony of over 200 observers on Coronation Day, 12 May. From August 1939, as war approached, MO asked its observers to keep diaries, and by 1945 some 480 people had done so, albeit many for only a short time. This present volume publishes diaries from three residents of Leeds in 1939-40: Joan and Tony Ridge of Far Headingley, who had come to Leeds from London in the Spring of 1938; and Henry Novy, already an MO social investigator, who was sent to Leeds for military training in November 1940 as a result of his call-up and married there a few weeks later.
The Ridges recorded their daily experiences in Leeds as the war closed in on their lives, including the problems of the black-out and the fears for loved ones thought to be in danger. They discussed their attitudes to the War and to the Germans – he was of German descent and they had relations and friends in France. In a period that has come to be known as the ‘phoney war’, their lives were less disrupted than they might have expected, and travel and leisure continued to be relatively easy. Their thoughtful writing reveals some of the attitudes of the local population and the views of friends and neighbours, as well as, on occasion, their own private feelings. All three diarists had literary interests. The Ridges wrote of the theatre, cinema and music; and Novy’s diary says a lot about the mainly working-class men whom he spent time with every day – soldiers in training whose families, in many cases, were suddenly in late 1940 under threat from German bombing. These diaries capture much of the vivid immediacy of everyday wartime life.
Patricia and Robert Malcolmson are social historians who have published many books and articles on English history, including editions of several Mass Observation diaries and a history of the wartime Women’s Voluntary Services, Women at the Ready (2013). They now live in Nelson, British Columbia.
ISSN : 0082-4232
Volume 25 - 2015
The Notebooks of Robert Pounder
Robert Pounder (1811-1857) was a self-educated Leeds artisan whose two notebooks record not only family information, but also the effect on his life of many of the great events of his time. In the 1830s he took part in the great marches to York and Bradford in support of Richard Oastler’s Ten Hour campaign, as we know from a letter in Oastler’s Fleet Papers. The notebooks record that about the same time he acted as secretary of the handle setters’ trade union, and he was subsequently a sympathetic observer of the Plug Riots. He demonstrated his Chartist loyalties by collecting the Northern Star’s engraved portraits of some of the leaders of the movement. In the early 1840s he renewed his support of Oastler, when ‘the Factory King’ was imprisoned for debt, helping to collect money for his hero’s release and riding to Brighouse station in the cold and dark to greet him on his return to Yorkshire. Like Oastler, Pounder abhorred the New Poor Law of 1834, loathing and fearing the workhouses (or ‘bastilles’) which were to be erected for the indigent; he himself was dependent on poor relief in the winter of 1842-43, when both he and his wife were ill; his wife died the following summer. At this period of sorrow and hardship he had support from his Methodist faith and from the church members. In his widowhood he wrote a great deal of verse, mainly relating closely to his circumstances, expressing his despair at human wickedness and his consciousness of sin and of the fragility of life, but also his joy in the beauties of nature and his love of his family.
All this is captured in two somewhat haphazardly written notebooks, which were recently donated to the Society by one of Pounder’s descendants, and which are here transcribed by Ann Alexander for the benefit of researchers and the general reader. What gives these writings such historical relevance is that they are the authentic voice of a working-class radical.
Ann Alexander has long had an interest in local history, and for many years has been an active member of the Thoresby Society; she has been one of the joint editors since 2001. When the Thoresby Library received the Pounder notebooks she found the temptation to transcribe them irresistible.
ISBN 978 0 900741 75 3
In 1715 Ralph Thoresby published the first history of Leeds. To celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of its publication the Thoresby Society decided to produce two volumes, A Celebration of Ralph Thoresby and Ralph Thoresby’s Review of his Life.
A Celebration of Ralph Thoresby
This volume contains a series of articles about Ralph Thoresby himself. Some have previously been published but are ones which we felt many of our members may not have seen. Other articles have been newly commissioned.
‘The First Medievalist in Leeds: Ralph Thoresby, FRS, 1658-1725’ by G. C. F. Forster, first appeared in I. Wood and G. A. Loud’s, Church and Chronicle in the Middle Ages; Essays Presented to John Taylor. Elspeth’s Jajdelska’s article ‘Ralph Thoresby the Diarist: The Late Seventeenth-Century Pious Diary and its Demise’ was first published in The Seventeenth Century. Peter Brears has contributed two articles, ‘An Historical Reconstruction of Ralph Thoresby’s Home’ from The Historian and ‘Ralph Thoresby a Museum Visitor in Stuart England’ from the Journal of the History of Collections whilst Peter Morrish’s ‘Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725) of Leeds, Books and Libraries’ was originally in Library History.
New material has been written by Steven Burt who contributed ‘Ralph Thoresby and the Compilation of the Ducatus Leodiensis. Reflecting on the existing objects from Thoresby’s museum which are now on view at Burton Constable, David Connell has provided, Important pieces from Ralph Thoresby’s collection discovered at Burton Constable in East Yorkshire. Peter Meredith has written two articles, ‘From Grand Design to Scribbled Note: Ralph Thoresby’s presence in the Society’s Library’ and ‘Ralph Thoresby and “Cosen” Susy’. An Appendix complied by Peter Meredith and David Thornton contains lists of articles on Ralph Thoresby which have appeared in the Publications of the Thoresby Society over the years, a list of repositories where Thoresby material is lodged, and a list of references to Ralph Thoresby in the press.
ISBN 978 0 900741 76 0
Ralph Thoresby’s Review of his Life, 1658-1714
[Yorkshire Archaeological Society MS 26]
In his lifetime the most famous of the works Ralph Thoresby publishedwere his Ducatus Leodiensis in 1715 and his Vicaria Leodiensis in 1724. It was not until 1830 that the Revd Joseph Hunter published what he entitled the Diary of Ralph Thoresby F.R.S. This publication however, though in two volumes, contained only extracts from the diaries (of which there are several volumes) together with extracts from a separate but related volume, what Hunter called the Review. Thoresby’s Review, now in the archives of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, is a series of extracts adapted from his diaries, with later comments, written, according to Thoresby’s own account, for the instruction of his children, in particular his sons. Hunter printed extracts from this volume to fill in gaps where diaries were missing, but it has never been published in its entirety. Consequently the Thoresby Society decided to undertake its publication as part of its tercentenary tribute, experimenting with using a team of transcribers to make the initial transcriptions from scans of the manuscript. The book offers a fascinating insight into the life of a deeply religious man of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century who was also a very well-respected antiquarian and historian, in personal contact with almost all of the eminent scholars and antiquaries of his time. In the Review Thoresby describes his travels, his visits to the museums and ‘cabinets of curiosities’ of his contemporaries, his own troubles and those of his family, and reflects clearly the divided religious state of the country in his time. There is a brief introduction and extensive indexes, and a bibliography of Thoresby’s reading is also included.
ISBN 978 0 900741 77 7
Miscellany Volume 24 - 2014
Our Miscellany this year, is a wide-ranging volume with subjects from the sixteenth century to the present.
The book commences with George Newton’s examination of early coal mining in Leeds from 1560-1700.
This is followed by Margaret Pullan’s graphic account of Josiah Fearn, the only Lord of the Manor of Leeds to be hanged.
Susan Chell then investigates the clothier families of Horsforth from 1841-1881.
Roy Yates celebrates 150 years of the Leeds Church Extension Society
Helen Jones presents a detailed description of the Leeds Association of Girls’ Clubs 1904-1944.
David Thornton concludes the volume with appropriately a brief history of Leeds and the First World War.
ISBN 978 0 900741 74 6
Volume 23 - 2013
The Burial Ground Problem in Leeds, c.1700-1914
JIM MORGAN'S MOST COMPREHENSIVE analysis The Burial Ground Problem in Leeds, c.1700-1914 gives a graphic account of a subject frequently ignored by historians; yet it was a subject which, in part, dominated the politics of Leeds during much of the nineteenth century. The vastly increasing population of the town, spawned by its burgeoning industrial base, saw ever greater demands on the need for space for interments. This itself was compounded by the acrimonious religious feuds as Anglicans and Nonconformists bitterly disputed the issue. Having first explained the the provision of burial ground under the parochial administration from c.1700 to 1820,the extent the pressure the parochial administration was placed in between c.1820 and 1840 is then examined. The first part of the work concludes with a consideration of the achievement of a non-sectarian provision for burial.
Part Two is an extensive gazetteer of all the burial grounds existing and created in the pre-1912 borough of Leeds between 1700 and 1914 and two which were erected outside the borough by Leeds communities. The burial grounds are grouped by township, with Leeds township first and the other townships following in alphabetical order. Within each township the burial grounds are described chronologically and these descriptions are supplemented with a series of maps specially created for the publication by David Thornton.
This major academic study which is aimed at the social historian, the student of local history and the general reader opens up an area of research frequently ignored.
Jim Morgan, is a retired academic who for many years lectured at Leeds Polytechnic and then Leeds Metropolitan University. He contributed the chapter 'Demographic Change' in A History of Modern Leeds edited by Derek Fraser and published by Manchester University Press in 1980. For many years he has been a member of the Thoresby Society, acting as its secretary from 2001 to 2005 and then from 2005 to 2011 as its president. He is now a vice-president. His other interests include caring for his allotment and watching cricket at Headingley.
ISBN 978 0 900741 73 9
Volume 22 - 2012
Headingley-cum-Burley c.1544 – c.1784
John Cruickshank’s comprehensive work Headingley-cum-Burley c.1544 – c.1784 is the most detailed study yet published of any Leeds township during the early-modern period. Based on his PhD thesis at the University of Leeds it graphically covers such areas as the changing pattern of landownership and landholding in response to continuing political and economic change, the transformation of transport and communications through the township to a wide commercial region, and the development of agriculture and industry in conjunction with the commercial and administrative development of Leeds. The Appendix examines the corresponding population changes using not only the Leeds parish and chapelry registers but also independent sources.
This work, aimed at both the academic and the interested lay reader, is not simply a history of one township, but makes a significant and invaluable contribution to our knowledge of the development of the town of Leeds and to our wider understanding of the role of extra-urban areas in the growth of towns.
John Cruickshank is a former Orthopaedic Surgeon from Leeds, who in preparation for his retirement completed a PhD in History at the University of Leeds. His current research interests are centred on the cartographic history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with particular reference to the topographic mapping both of Britain and of central and eastern Europe.
ISBN 978 0 900741 72 2
Volume 21 - 2011
The Thursby Manuscripts
The Thursby manuscripts, transcribed and printed here for the first time, form a remarkable record of a Leeds family, the Thursbys, and their connections and activities in the second half of the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. One contains a fascinating account of a journey by Thomas Thursby, a Leeds man, to Lisbon and Oporto in 1755-56, made more significant in that when Thursby reached Lisbon, his was the first ship to arrive at the city following the devastating earthquake of 1755. The other papers include momentary glimpses of the everyday affairs of the Thursby Family, who were related to the more famous Ralph Thoresby, and a collection of letters that record of the courtship between Thomas Dunham Whitaker, an undergraduate at Cambridge at the time, and a Miss Thursby of Leeds. In 1816 Whitaker famously published a reprint of Thoresby’s Ducatus Leodiensis and the same year a history of Leeds in Loidis and Elmete.
Peter Meredith, who transcribed and edited the text, is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Drama at the University of Leeds. He was Deputy Director and later Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies for a number of years, and the President of The Société Internationale pour l'Étude du Théâtre Médiéval. He has also always had a long-standing interest in the history of the English language and, following his retirement, developed a keen interest in local history. He is at present the Honorary Librarian of the Thoresby Society.
Miscellany Volume 20 - 2010
Our Miscellany this year covers a wide range of topics.
Our Miscellany this year, ranges across the centuries. From
the thirteenth century Michael Robson looks at William de Calverley
(c.1275-1319); a notable Franciscan Friar.
Whilst still retaining a medieval theme John Dixon reveals some details about surprising survivors of the Black Death in Leeds.
In contrast, Michael Collinson examines love and marriage in Elizabethan Headingley.
The typhus epidemic of 1847 is the theme of two articles. Helen Kennally examines the impact on the town in general and Gillian Figures investigates the life of the Anglican curate, William Monck, who died whilst ministering to his flock during the crisis.
Another cleric, the Revd Robert Aitken, a Catholic Evangelical, considered by Roy Yates, completes our selection.
We have continued to include book reviews and in addition have added a comprehensive general bibliography of books and articles on the city’s history.
Miscellany Volume 19 - 2009
Our Miscellany this year covers a wide range of topics.
Roy Yates's examination of St Saviour's Church, Leeds, and the Oxford Movement brings a new perspective to this field of study and his article will, without doubt, become a vital source of reference for those researching the subject.
Jewish and Irish immigration have long been the focus for local historians but Charline Nicol offers an analysis of the rarely examined subject of Italian immigration into Leeds between the years 1881 and 1901.
Alan Radford tells the story of the Leeds Waits who, from medieval times until the nineteenth century,'kept the watch' and performed music throughout the town.
The leather industry became one of the largest industries in Leeds and our final article sees Tony Silson investigating, in a detailed account, the industry specifically in Bramley.
Several people have suggested that it would be helpful if we could
include book reviews of recent publications which would be of interest
to our members, consequently we are beginning this year to answer
that need and thus four reviews of recent books on the city's history
Miscellany Volume 18 - 2008
Our Miscellany this year covers a wide range of topics.
Our new patron, Professor R. J. Morris, offers 'Whose Time and Whose Place: Searching for the History of Twentieth Century Leeds'. In it he examines the problems faced by historians embarking on a study of the city in the last century.
Michael Collinson offers two fascinating articles. One unravels the history of Headingley Hall whilst his investigation of Robert the Dyer provides a rare insight of people in the Leeds area in medieval times.
Eve Bradford probes the complex problems of enclosure in her important study, The Enclosure of Common Land in Headingley-cum-Burley, 1828-34; Conflicts of Interest.'
Henry Pawson's eye-witness revelations, providing a rare view of what life was like in Victorian Farnley, are edited by David Thornton.
Finally Peter Meredith, our librarian, has offered our members a rare chance to see some of the rich material held in the Thoresby Collection.
ISBN 0 978 0 900741 67 8
Volume 17 - 2007
TheMonuments of the Parish Church of St Peter-at-Leeds
The Parish Church has not only played a significant part in the life of Leeds, it captures within it the history of the great events and people who together have shaped that city through the centuries. Hundreds of monuments and memorials dating from the Middle Ages to the present day encrust its walls and floors, telling as they do, the part Leeds people have played in that story. Here we see memorials to members of the Leeds Volunteers, formed to offset Napoleon's threatened invasion, and to the men from the city who fought in the Crimea, in South Africa and in two World Wars. Here also we find tributes to hundreds of local men, women and children who lived out their lives in the town; some now forgotten, others nationally famous, like Richard Oastler the 'Factory King'.
Now for the first time, those memorials have been captured in Margaret
Pullan's pioneering publication, the product of years of devoted
research. The range of information offered includes records of births,
marriages, and deaths, full inscriptions, background histories explaining
why the deceased were buried in the Parish Church and the artistic
merits of their tombs. Architectural, ecclesiastical and local historians
will find this an invaluable contribution in their respective fields
of work whilst the general public will find it gives a fascinating
view of the people of Leeds who lived through the years as the old
town grew into a major city.
About the author
Margaret Pullan was born and educated in Canada where she obtained her first degree, a BSc in Biology, from the University of Ottawa. On graduation she travelled to England and obtained a second BSc, in Archaeology and Geological Sciences, at the University of Leeds. Since 1993 she has worked as administrator and archivist for the English Heritage-funded Wharram Percy deserted medieval village post-excavation publication project.
ISBN: 978 1 905981 52 6
Volume 16 - 2006
The Memoranda Book of John Lucas
1712 - 1750
John Lucas was an eighteenth-century Leeds schoolmaster who left behind a series of jottings of life on the Leeds of his day and which became his Memoranda Book. The Thoresby Society felt that this insight would be a valuable asset to any historian of the city and Dr Jonathan Oates undertook the task of editing the text. He has also added copious footnotes and a detailed introduction. Here then we find the great civic events of Leeds, such as the celebrations of the Peace of Utrecht in 1713, the first anniversary of the accession of George I in 1715 and the coronation of his son, George II, in 1727, all recorded. Visits by the great and good, such as the Archbishop of York, Sir William Dawes, and Lady Elizabeth Hastings are meticulously noted as are the arrival in the town of numerous troops of soldiers, including coloured troops in 1749. On a lighter note horse racing at Chapeltown and Temple Newsam are reported and we learn that football was being played in Leeds as early as 1715 when groups of men played on the frozen river Aire in December that year.
Dr Jonathan Oates is currently the Borough Archivist for the London Borough of Ealing. He holds a BA and PhD from the University of Reading and a Diploma in Archive Administration from U.C.W. Aberystwyth. He has previously published work with the Thoresby Society on Leeds and the Jacobite rebellions and has also had many articles published about Jacobitism and the responses in different parts of England to the insurrections.
ISBN 0 900 741 64 3
Volume 15 - 2005
More Annals of Leeds 1880 - 1920
Early in the 1940s William Benn, a Thoresby Society member, set about compiling what in effect became an index to the Leeds press.
His intention was to extend the work of John Mayhall's classic Annals of Yorkshire and Frederick Robert Spark's Leeds Record of Current Events, 1875-79.
When he died in 1947 he left behind a detailed set of notes on events and personalities which appeared in the Leeds press between 1880 and 1920.
The manuscript was lost but was rediscovered this century and presented to the Thoresby Society in 2001.
We feel it will be an invaluable source of information for anyone interested in the history of Leeds.
ISBN 0 900 741 63 5
Miscellany Volume 14 [Second Series] - 2004
This year our Miscellany publication concentrates on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and covers a
variety of topics.
Jonathan Oates examines Leeds during the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 and the effects these turbulent Stuart uprisings had on the people of the town. Once again in its history Leeds could be seen as a microcosm of the history of England, a veritable barometer of the national political temperament.
The relationship between élite culture and power in the town of Leeds from 1760 to 1820 is the subject of Sue Cottam's researches. She examines the people who formed that political élite, and explores how their way of life enabled them to maintain their position of influence.
Edward Baines was fêted as the man whose Leeds Mercury became the leading provincial newspaper of its day and as an MP for Leeds, the mouthpiece of Dissenters in Parliament. David Thornton, however, asks; how did his contemporaries view him; was he a great man or a great liar?
Harry Dalton, following the success of his monograph for the Thoresby Society, Anglican Resurgence under W. F. Hook, examines Sunday schools in the town and the Church Associations established to help children and young people in Leeds between 1836 and 1851.
ISBN 0 900 741 62 7
Miscellany Volume 13 [Second Series] - 2003
This year our Miscellany publication is devoted to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with particular reference to Leeds and the West Riding.
The Journals of Sarah Mayo Parkes, 1815 and 1818 edited by Pauline Litton have never before been published and thus make a valuable new contribution to the understanding of life in early nineteenth-century Leeds and the West Riding.
William Potts of Leeds, Clockmaker by Michael Potts examines the growth of the clockmaking firm which ultimately became an icon of Victorian Leeds.
Percy Alfred Scholes [1877-1958]: Music Critic, Educator and Encyclopaedist by Peter Morrish gives an extensive analysis of the life of the Leeds man who widely fostered musical appreciation and knowledge.
The Leeds Elections of 1834 and 1835: a Psephological Analysis by Jim Morgan investigates the reasons behind the Tory revival of 1832-35 by presenting a detailed breakdown of voting patterns in the town.
ISBN 0 900 741 61 9
Volume 12 - 2002
Anglican Resurgence under W. F. Hook in Early Victorian Leeds:
by Dr H W Dalton.
Church Life in a Nonconformist Town: 1836-1851
Dr Dalton s book depicts reviving activity among Anglican clergy and parishioners in Leeds from 1836.
At that time Dissenters had, since 1800, far surpassed Anglicans in spiritual provision for the town s
rapidly rising population. The advent of W.F. Hook as High Church Vicar from 1837 increased the momentum.
Leeds speedily became recognised as probably the most effective English parish. This work examines the
varied activities of clergy and parishioners at a time when the parish was alive with initiatives; and
offers a reassessment of Hook who in his years at Leeds developed into possibly the most effective
Anglican parish priest of his time. Topics also covered include church building, parish division,
and relationships with Evangelicals, Tractarians and Dissenters. The account represents a significant
addition to the limited number of studies of early Victorian Anglicanism in the provinces.
Dr Harry Dalton holds a BA (1st Class Hons) from the Open University, and an MA and PhD from the University of Leeds. His previous work, Walter Farquhar Hook; Vicar of Leeds: his work for the Church and the Town, 1837-1848 was published by The Thoresby Society in 1990.
ISBN 0 900 741 60 0
Miscellany Volume 11 (2nd Series) - 2001
The four articles in this volume offer new and interesting material on their subjects.
The first tells the story of the dispute that followed the proposal in 1863 to build a railway line clean across the town centre, with huge bridges across Kirkgate, Briggate, Albion Street, Park Row and King Street. Well-organised opposition forced the company to adopt the present route to Central Station that takes it through the former burial ground of the parish church.
"Episodes in the History of Golden Acre" tells the chequered story of this popular amenity from the days when it was proposed to cover it with houses to the building of the Parkway Hotel against the noisy opposition of the teetotal lobby, and on to the development of today's fine park.
Medical help for the poor of the city via the Leeds Dispensary in its early years is the subject of the third article. In its first half century the Dispensary treated over 130,000 patients. They were asked to provide their own bandages and return unused medicines, while servants were not catered for - their employers were expected to pay for their treatment.
Finally, the story is told of how interest in art developed in the 19th century. The first exhibition was held in 1809. Others followed, with over half a million people visiting one in 1868, but only when colonel Walter Harding drove the corporation into action was the Art Gallery opened in 1888.
Miscellany Volume 1 (2nd Series) - 2000
Leeds Jewry, 1930-1939: the challenge of anti-Semitismby Amanda Bergen
In this study Mrs Bergen uses hitherto untapped sources, including oral evidence, to analyse the response of Leeds Jewry in the 1930s first to the lingering anti-Semitism to which it had always been vulnerable, and then to the subsequent and much greater threat of political anti-Semitism posed by the growth of international Fascism. Through a discussion of the widely differing attitudes and approaches of institutions, political groupings and influential individuals within the community, she shows how the menace of Fascism, with the consequent sudden and potentially disruptive influx of a large number of German refugees, was successfully met. Indeed, it was ultimately this external challenge which proved the means of uniting Leeds Jewry and giving it a cohesion which it had hitherto lacked.
As an examination of the response of one of Britain's largest Jewish communities to anit-Semitism, Mrs Bergen's work has a much wider appeal than the purely local and will be of use to all whose historical interests encompass the crisis years of the 1930s.
40pp; 11 figs
ISBN 0 900741 57 0
The Great Exodus: the evacuation of Leeds schoolchildren 1939-1945by Roy C. Boud
This study is the first detailed account to be published of the evacuation of Leeds schoolchildren between 1939 and 1945.
Drawing on perviously unpublished material, including oral evidence, Dr Boud focuses on one large city to uncover the
realities behind what has been described as the biggest social upheaval in the history of this country. The experiences
of those involved in it - administrators, educationalists, parents, teachers and, of course, the evacuees themselves -
are described and analysed. More particularly, the light that is shed on the relationships between the evacuees and their
hosts in the rural reception areas of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire vividly reveals the success and failure,
the comedy and pathos which characterised the entire undertaking.
This book will be of especial interest to those who participated in the experience of evacuation both in Leeds and elsewhere, as well as to teachers and children who, today, study the topic as part of their school curriculum, but it also has much to offer those who are more generally concerned with the history of this traumatic period.
114pp; 14 figs
ISBN 0 900741 58 9