Matthew Murray

I don’t have heroes…. but if I did, Matthew Murray, the great mechanical engineer who spent most of his working life in Leeds, would be one. So I can’t wait for the opening lecture of Industrial History Section’s 2016-17 season, by Paul Murray Thompson, a descendant who’s recently written Murray’s biography. Saturday 15 October, 11 a.m., Swarthmore.images

I think of Murray and feel annoyed on his behalf every time I pass James Watt’s statue in City Square.



Murray’s Round Foundry, Holbeck

Bargain of the year

Yes, it really is: Join YAHS on or after 1 October and your membership will run to 31 December 2017. That’s 15 months for the price of 12. So you’ll have access to the society’s and sections’ great range of meetings and activities, as well as all resources on the new website (coming soon), plus a copy of Yorkshire Archaeological Journal. Membership also entitles you to a ticket to Leeds University Library, including borrowing rights to the Brotherton’s holdings.

Support a great cause – and all for a modest £45 a year (including journal) or £23 (without journal). Join here.4992863_f80e70c4


Towton battlefield walk

Not an official YAHS event – but Jane Ellis is leading a walk for another group looking at the Towton Battlefield on Tuesday 11th October, with a pub lunch halfway around. dsc_0706This is about 3 miles walking, strong footwear and suitable outdoor clothes are necessary; there is no public transport to the site but cars meet at the battlefield memorial on the B1217 road between Saxton and Towton at grid reference SE478387, where there is roadside parking. 10.00am start. Please e-mail or phone Jane in advance so she has the numbers for lunch. 07787-311913.

Goole visit

Jane Ellis (this time with her IHS hat on) reports on a great trip yesterday to Goole.

We had a lovely day at Goole yesterday, with a personally guided close look at the img_1705wonderful mural in The Lowther Hotel by the owner, Julie Duckworth. The hotel, along with several other properties, has been nominated for a Historic England award for its painstaking restoration, and we are encouraged to vote for it… before midnight on 12th October, via this link.

Shibden re-listed in Historic England’s LGBTQ initiative

The lovely Shibden Hall is among properties to be re-listed in a new Historic England initiative celebrating LGBTQ heritage. The Pride of Place project was led by historians at Leeds Beckett University’s Centre for Culture and the Arts. Members of the public were asked to suggest LGBTQ heritage sites ahead of the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality next year.4776774_ca64c2e8

(re-listing? Not sure what that is, but see the point of grouping sites by theme.)

Celebrating our woodland heritage

Message from Pennine Prospects about their three-year project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and other partners. Its primary aim is to investigate and record the archaeology and ecology of ancient woodlands across the South Pennines.

To date ancient woodlands (woodlands that can trace their history to the 1600s) are greatly understudied with little to no previous archaeological investigations having taken place.  Across the region (see attached map) only 72 features of archaeological interest have been recorded.  This project wants to greatly increase this number and use the data produced to enhance local, regional and national records as well as guide the future management of woodlands.

A key aspect of the project is to involve the public; whether as individuals, families, heritage groups or youth organisations, the project aims to involve everyone and provide training in archaeological skills (such as research, survey and excavation) in order to recorded the Ancient Woodlands of the South Pennines.  

Next month I will be advertising the woodlands that will be investigated in the first year (late January – early April 2017) of the project.  These will all be free events.  The aim of each event will be to introduce individuals to archaeological survey techniques within woodlands and to set them on the task of recording the history of the woodland (under supervision).

Contact or find out more here. And see details of the day school:


Digitising YAJ

It’s really encouraging to see the level of interest in last week’s post on digitising our journal. I’ll take that as a vote in favour – that members see this project as something important for the society.