Education, science and early mechanical engineers

I wouldn’t usually advertise a lecture in Newcastle, but shameless self-publicity has convinced me to break this rule.

The title is ‘Education, science and early mechanical engineers’ – next Monday, 5 December, at 6.30 pm. It’s a joint event, the Institute of Physics North East branch with the Newcastle Lit and Phil, at the Lit & Phil which is practically next door to the main station.matthew_murray

Matthew Murray will provide a convenient link between my Leeds research and what might interest a Newcastle audience more, through his early life on Tyneside.

Extending our volunteering

A really useful meeting yesterday at Leeds Central Library, with the Local and Family History Manager, Ross Horsley, and Lynda Raistrick of YAHS Family History Section. There will be new opportunities for volunteering there, not only on our Monumental Inscriptions imagesrecords now deposited at the library, but potentially on other projects.

It’s exciting for several reasons. Our volunteers have expertise which they can share with library staff and users. They will be doing tasks which fall outside the usual remit of the staff, or offering more detailed guidance than the librarians can usually manage in the time available. So for instance, volunteers may be evaluating new material donated to the library, or giving specific advice to help local or family researchers.

Volunteering at the central library is well-organised, as you’d imagine. There’s also the possibility of regular sessions, with YAHS volunteers in at the same time each week. With this comes the prospect of reviving some of the old Claremont volunteering spirit in welcoming and friendly new surroundings. images-2This has been missed – the collegiate side of Claremont – and it would be great to reinvigorate it.

NB Not to forget the fabulous tiled hall with cafe!

Library of Unpublished Fieldwork Reports

The York-based Archaeology Data Service’s Library of Unpublished Fieldwork Reports now contains more than 40,000 reports. See here.

The archaeologist’s term ‘grey literature’ is so useful that I hear it increasingly used by historians and archivists – it’s that indeterminate area between published secondary material and unfiltered primary sources, and covers a big range of the difficult-to-categorise. Fifty shades of….


West Yorkshire Historic Environment Record moving from Wakefield

Message just received from WYAAS:

Please be aware that WYAAS will be moving offices from the Registry of Deeds in Wakefield to West Yorkshire Joint Services’ HQ at Nepshaw Lane South, Morley.

The move is planned to commence in late January 2017 & will take several weeks given the large volume of material to be packed & moved & the small number of staff. wakeoff

Be aware that the HER will not accessible to visitors during the move period & response times for queries is likely to be extended. More details will be given as planning is firmed up

Thank You


Viewing the new Walker/ Tottie collection

Members and friends are warmly invited to the Treasures Gallery, in the University of Leeds’ Parkinson Building, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday 30 November. This is a chance to see the society’s new Walker/ Tottie collection, including some of George Walker’s watercolours. The papers were bought at auction this 2506-6year, thanks to donations from individual members and the support of charitable trusts.
There will also be an introduction to Special Collections’ new Treasures Gallery, with its permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The collection is now listed under YAS/MD489 in the Brotherton Library Special Collections. The list can be seen online.

Photo competition – reminder

Despite the exciting champagne prize, response has been slow… please submit your colour photographs, as many as you like (including contact details and confirming your copyright) to, by the end of November.

p1010552Any Yorkshire scene with historical or archaeological interest… this is a cunning ruse to find interesting and/ or attractive pictures for our new website, at minimal cost. So please don’t be shy!


Top of the archival pops

Well how about this: YAHS archives have overtaken the Liddle papers as most requested collection in the Brotherton Library Special Collections. Researchers are at work on our records just about every day.

This is terrific news. We don’t have figures, but the Brotherton is starting to count usage 540x360so we will be able to see the stats next year. Thanks to Brotherton staff for all their efforts promoting our collections, and to our past president, Sylvia Thomas, who’s done a great deal to publicise the YAHS archives this year and to familiarise Special Collections staff with their contents.

We (Sylvia, volunteer co-ordinator Belinda Wassell and I) were at the Brotherton yesterday with a group of prospective YAHS volunteers to discuss how to proceed with the pamphlet boxes. There are about 250 boxes, their contents in need of weeding, listing and cataloguing. It’s a complicated process, and needs a lot of thought. There will be a trial with sample boxes in the new year. Duplicates and material unsuitable for the open shelves may be scanned for uploading to our new website.

More news anon.


Skipsea castle: our PRS lending a hand

After the news in October about Skipsea castle – that the mound may have been recycled by the Normans and in fact appears to date from 1,500 years earlier than previously thought – the University of Reading plans a larger investigation. YAHS Prehistory Research Section has 3961been asked to contribute skills and local experience to the project.

If the university is successful in attracting AHRC funds, PRS plans to support by organising talks and a day conference, and publishing results as they develop.

Finding inspiration in our archives

YAHS collections continue to inspire in all kinds of ways….

Thanks to Kirsty McHugh, who was our collections manager at Claremont, for giving a talk this week to students and tutors at Bradford Art School. The subject was using archives as inspiration for art work, using plenty of examples from the YAHS archives. Kirsty hopes that students might visit Brotherton Special Collections as a result.
And thanks also to YAHS volunteer co-ordinator Belinda Wassell who went to the Special Collections ‘Tuesday Treasures’ talk, which was about cataloguing, and used YAHS printed books as illustration. It covered the scope of the YAHS collection (with a brief history of the society); some YAHS collectors YAS_pedigree(and their choice of bindings/covers, bookplates, personal inscriptions, inserts; their own catalogues and own publications); illustrations in the books (landscapes, architecture,  heraldry); publishers and edition dates; and how all this information is recorded on their database. ‘Tuesday Treasures’ is a half-hour, drop in format, the topic not advertised ahead. But well worth dropping in if you’re on the campus or nearby.