Our Facebook page

We’ve just welcomed our 1,000th follower to the YAHS Facebook page. Why not sign up too? I post all the news and messages there from the president’s blog, plus various added snippets of events and developments from around the county.

Join us here. Please do!

Christmas champagne to be won – YAHS photography competition!

We know that YAHS members are sitting on dozens of great photographs of Yorkshire buildings and scenes that reflect our wonderful county’s fascinating past. Are you willing to share them, or go out and take some new ones, and at the same time help populate our new website, coming soon? Send as many photos as you like (including contact details and confirmations, as below) to yahs.competition@gmail.com. We’re offering a bottle of champagne to a lucky winner.

There are some rules:

The competition is open to paid-up YAHS members. Photographs should be in colour, not previously published, and refer to an aspect of history or archaeology in Yorkshire (the historic county, pre-1974). Entrants are asked to confirm that they hold copyright to any photos submitted, and are willing to grant permission to YAHS to feature these on the society’s new website, whether or not they win the bubbly. Competition closes 30 November 2016. The president lacks aesthetic judgement but will take advice, and her decision is final. No lawsuits, please. If you don’t like champagne we’ll give an equivalent cash prize.

5125507_5e4dc0a0Rievaulx abbey, 2016, by Paul Farmer ©

A future for the 1711 Leeds Cloth Hall?

The Kirkgate cloth hall isn’t the earliest survival, it’s the earliest hall. Built to replace the outdoor market on Leeds bridge, and an exceptionally important building.
Fabulous that it’s discovered and recognised and there’s a serious effort to protect it. Fortunately it’s in a location lively enough to find new use and (fingers crossed) a good quality restoration. Let’s hope. See here.


Image Yorkshire Evening Post

Urban Dreams and Nightmares

Well, here’s something that will interest a lot of us: a public event called ‘Urban Dreams (and Nightmares)’, organised by Leeds Beckett University as part of the 2016 Being Human festival. It will be taking place on Saturday 19 November at Leeds City Museum.

Dr Henry Irving has asked us to spread the message around YAHS members:

The event has been designed to encourage discussion about the history and culture of cities (with a focus on Leeds) Participants will have the opportunity to join short walks led by expert staff from our School of Cultural Studies (include historians Shane Ewen and Henry Irving), and will be encouraged to write up their own ideas with the help of our writer in residence, Sunjeev Sahota.images

We are excited to be hosting an event as part of this festival and want to encourage wide participation. The event is free, suitable for a range of ages, and does not require expert knowledge. Visitors are welcome to drop in at any point between 11am and 3pm, but do need to book places on the walks.

Walking through Leeds history

Here’s a new book, by Mark Alexander Jackson. Haven’t seen it but it promises to be very interesting.


Once again the Author dons his black cap, grabs his cheese and onion sandwiches and along with his Jack Russell, sets out to walk through the wide and varied history of the Leeds area. From tales of Monks and Miners to Aviation pioneers and an African Prince, the past is brought to life in a serious and at times whimsical way by the Author and his plucky little Terrier.

The Malham maps reconsidered

It may not be the oldest – it may not be the rarest – but Prof. Richard Hoyle believes that Lang’s huge maps of Malham, joined together on one roll, form the largest single item in YAHS’s important archival collection.img_0485-1

And as Richard showed in Saturday’s Collections Lecture, these mid- and late-18th c. plans are also fine objects, beautifully drawn and presented. He believes that these and others like them were made as vanity productions, to be shown off in the libraries of great houses. The steward in the estate office would have worked from more basic copies.

It’s exciting that Richard has also identified surveys of Malham in 1760 and the 1770s, contained in a companion volume held by the National Trust. And that he is discovering more about the little-known but important Lang family, surveyors based in north Lancashire; and about Bradfer-Lawrence, antiquarian and collector whose magnificent set of papers form part of the YAHS archives; and also the Lister family, barons Ribblesdale, who commissioned these fabulous maps. He mentioned an ambition to produce a new history of Malham. Wonderful. We’re hoping too that he will write about some of this for the YAJ.

Postcard from UNESCO


To remind us of the international importance of the Wakefield Court Rolls, which are on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.

(For Leeds Central, of course read YAHS collections in the Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds.)

‘A Gem among Jewels’: Collections lecture on Saturday

Reminder about Saturday’s Collections Lecture – we are delighted to welcome Prof. Richard Hoyle to deliver the 2016 lecture. Richard will focus on the society’s glorious 18th-c. maps of Malham. His title is ‘A Gem amongst Jewels: the collections of the Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society and Lang’s map of Malham’.

malham-maps1On 22 October, 11 am, in the lecture room off the new treasures gallery in the Parkinson building, University of Leeds. All are very welcome.


Matthew Murray’s marvellous machines

Here’s a treat – Paul Murray Thompson brought along models of some of his famous ancestor’s innovative machinery.

Paul described Murray’s illustrious career at an Industrial History Section meeting yesterday – a packed room of members and visitors. He’s done engineering history a great service, recognising that information was out there, and that if he didn’t dig it out, no one else would. Fifteen years later, the biography is published, with detail of Murray’s life and work beyond our wildest expectations.

Below, left, Murray’s actual model of a flax heckling machine, awarded a Society of Arts gold medal in 1809. Right, a modern model of his hypercycloidal engine. Bottom, Paul with Murray’s 1812 locomotive for the Middleton railway.