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The Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society

Since 1863

For everyone interested in Yorkshire's past


Unless otherwise stated, all lectures take place on Saturday mornings, starting at 11.00. 

The IHS meetings in October November and December are being held at the Friends Meeting House 188 Woodhouse Lane LS2 9DX. Further directions can be found at .

Please note that there is no on-site car parking and only limited on-street parking nearby. There is also some parking at the University and off Clarendon Road

23 October 2021


Reservoir Railways - Visualising the Construction of Hebden Bridge’s Reservoirs (1870 - 1935). 
Dr Michael O’Grady

Many miles of narrow gauge rail lines were laid, and later removed, in the construction of Widdop, Walshaw Dean and Gorple earth embankment reservoirs. The talk will explore historical and current digital methods for investigating the extent of these major works and rail line locations. It will show the upland countryside in a different light, one where hundreds of men would battle materials and weather for several years to provide us with our drinking water infrastructure. This image-rich talk will be a visual feast of old maps, satellite images, recently published LiDAR data and also show some 'then and now' photo comparisons.

20 November 2021.


Rosedale Railway for Iron and Steel Making in 19th Century Teesside and County Durham. 
Rob Shorland-Ball 

Ironstone was industrial gold in the 19th century, and rich deposits were found in Rosedale, North Yorkshire. It was worked there in several mines but the markets for it were on Teesside and across the Tees in County Durham. The Rosedale Railway, a standard-gauge mineral line, was built on either side of the dale to the mines, then down a steep rope-worked incline to Battersby and thence to Teesside. There are still extensive remains, illustrated in this talk, in Rosedale.

18 December 2021


Warships to Spaceships - The Life and Work of Sir Barnes Wallis.
Chris Henderson (Trustee of the Barnes Wallis Foundation)

Leaving school without any qualifications, Barnes Wallis pursued his ambition to be an engineer and went on to become one of Britain's greatest inventors. Known best for his invention and development of the 'bouncing bomb' used by 617 Squadron to attack the Ruhr dams, Barnes Wallis' career spanned over six decades working on warships, airships, aircraft, weapons and even a connection with the first manned spaceflight to the Moon.

This meeting has been resheduled as an online only meeting on 5 February 2022



An Introduction to the Modern Military Archaeology of the North York Moors.
Roger Thomas (Historic England)

The beauty and emptiness of the North York Moors is highly deceptive. Apart from RAF Fylingdales Moor, few people appreciate that the area has any modern military history or archaeology to offer. The passage of time dictates that those with first-hand memories grow fewer by the day and knowledge is now passing into the domain of modern conflict archaeologists. The North York Moors were very much a militarised landscape in the Second World War, and to a lesser extent during the First World War, continuing to be so well into the early years of the Cold War. The demolition of the larger sites and the restoration of the landscape gives the impression that there is nothing much to find, but this couldn't be further from the truth; evidence of antiinvasion defences, gun batteries, artillery and bombing ranges, camp sites, anti-aircraft gun sites and depots, bombing decoys, radar and radio stations, etc. all lurk in the undergrowth waiting to be found, recorded, identified and interpreted.

19 February 2022.



Joseph Aspdin’s Patent Portland Cement.
Professor Ian Richardson

Portland cement has been central to the development of the modern world. Perhaps surprisingly, the early history of Portland cement is shrouded in mystery and there is no consensus about the identity of the inventor. Certainly, Joseph Aspdin was granted a British patent in 1824 for a material that he called Portland cement. But conclusions differ on how similar Joseph’s material would have been to the Portland cement that is in use today. For example, Blezard (1998) believed that Joseph had produced ‘Nothing more than a hydraulic lime’, whereas Skempton (1962) stated that ‘The truth would seem to be that the “break-through” (of clinkering) had been made by 1843 at the latest, and more probably a good deal earlier by the elder Aspdin (i.e. by Joseph rather than his son William).’ Skempton then added ‘Just what Joseph Aspdin did in Wakefield, apart from introducing the name “Portland cement,” we may never know with any certainty.’ I aim to shed some light on this matter.

19 March 2022



An Interactive History of Coal Mining in Yorkshire.
Eddie Downes

Eddie Downes is a Yorkshireman with a degree in mining engineering who has worked in Spain, the USA, Canada and Germany. He is the author of “Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994” He will be bringing several mining
artefacts to display as part of his talk.

23 April 2022



AGM and members' presentations .

Please note this meeting will start at 10.45am.