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Event at University of Leeds
29 September, School of History (Michael Sadler Building)

The journal Northern History is hosting a colloquium on 29/09/2018 called 'New Approaches to the North: A Colloquium in Memory of Gordon Forster'. Gordon Forster was the founding Editor of Northern History. Held in his memory, this colloquium will showcase new research and will feature seven speakers presenting on various aspects of the history of the North, focussing mostly on Yorkshire.

The draft programme and details on registration can be found here:

Registration is now open (£10 waged; £5 unwaged/student; the fee includes lunch) and there are postgraduate travel bursaries available. Any enquiries can be directed to

event at Leeds central library
22 August, 5.30 - 7pm, Room 700.

The Measure of the Moon
will be looking at the role Leeds played in the story of astronomy, photography and film. Researcher Irfan Shah will show how inventors, scientists and adventurers connected to Leeds were instrumental in everything from the creation of the micrometer to calotype photography to the birth of film, and will reveal the long forgotten locations where their work took place. (The Measure of the Moon is part of the Car Parks of the Gods (and other places of great and improbable wonder) project supported by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society).
Tickets are free but booking is required:

The bar will be open from 5.30pm with the talk beginning at 6pm.

the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House: James Paine Symposium
October 4th, Cusworth Hall

Last year, thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends succeeded in raising the profile of James Paine in his tercentenary year by staging three James Paine events at the Mansion House and by producing the James Paine website and exhibition. The exhibition is now on permanent display at the Mansion House. This year, we are planning another James Paine symposium. It will be held in the Grand Salon at Cusworth Hall on Thursday, October 4th.

The programme is as follows:

12 noon to 1.00 pm - An Exhibition featuring James Paine's three books of architectural engravings and Paine's letters to his client William Wrightson, the owner of Cusworth Hall. Paine designed the Chapel and Library wings in 1749.

1.00 pm to 4.30 pm - The James Paine Symposium 2018 featuring a keynote speech by the distinguished architectural historian, Richard Hewlings on the work of James Paine. Liz Hirst of Hirst Conservation will be talking about the Historic Paint research that she carried out at Cusworth Hall during the Heritage Lottery funded Restoration Work of the Hall in 2003. Liz's research led to the uncovering of Samuel Wade's grisaille paintings on the Chapel ceiling. Nicola Fox, Doncaster Council's heritage officer at Cusworth Hall, will be talking about James Paine's letters to his client William Wrightson, the then owner of Cusworth Hall.. Tickets are £9 each including refreshments.

The Grand Salon only has a seating capacity of 60 so book early. Please send your cheque for £9 made payable to the Friends of Doncaster Mansion House to me - Owen Evans at No 6, Crossways South, Doncaster DN2 5SJ . For further details tel 01302 342846 or email

'Wars of the Roses Abridged' Tour
14th and 15th September, Wakefield

Richard Atkinson is returning to Wakefield as part of this tour. He believes passionately that those issues which dominate society today have not really
moved far from their 15th century equivalents.
Sliding through the Wars of the Roses, he will highlight the key players, attempt to explain their motives
and look at how things might have turned out. Richard is reliant on his tech savvy children to assist with
the compilation of the talk, a recipe for mix ups and misinformation.

With an eye for humour in the darkest hours and the downright bizarre, Richard aims to examine
whether fun does help recall the facts.

Sandal Castle Café, Sandal, Fri 14th Sep 6pm (with food!) - £15

Chantry Chapel, Wakefield, Sat 15th Sep 7pm, free but ticket required.

To book: Wars of the Roses Abridged

visit of Researcher into Wakefield Mystery Plays

Our society was contacted by a researcher into the Wakefield Mystery Plays who lives in New Zealand. He was seeking information about medieval Wakefield, and wished to see some of the possible locations for the original performances. Our Lecture Secretary provided him with a 'tour' of the sites of the medieval chantry chapels on Northgate and Westgate, Sandal Castle and church. She also suggested sources of original medieval documents like the Manor Court Rolls at the Brotherton Library in Leeds and documents in the John Goodchild collection at West Yorkshire History Centre. The researcher, John Ghent, would be pleased to be contacted by other researchers at:

Excavation of Georgian bath house at St Swithin's well Stanley

West Yorkshire Historic Environment Record reports that an archaeological excavation at Saint Swithin's Well, Stanley, has revealed a Georgian bathhouse built by Sir Michael Pilkington (1715-1788). More information and photographs of the excavation can be found on their Facebook page:

West Yorkshire HER

Yorkshire History Prize - call for entries

Information about this year's prizes and the essay requirements for submission can be found here:

Yorkshire History Prize 2018

Requirements for Essays

Walton Colliery banner

The 'Heritage of Walton' project are looking for information about the Walton Colliery Banner, possibly the year, any interpretation depicted on it, and anything about its history. Please contact us if you can help.

walton banner

Forgotten Women of Wakefield

Workshops working through the medium of Spoken Word to recreate the 1913 Suffrage March on IWD 2019.

This protest march came through Wakefield as part of a pilgrimage, from Newcastle, to London, in response to a call- out from Millicent Fawcett. It brought with it over 6000 people demanding equality and change and showed just how active Wakefield was in supporting the suffrage movement.

All Spoken Word workshops are held at Custom's House, and are lead by writer, poet, spoken word performer and CEO of Dream Time Creative Sarah Leah Cobham. You will learn about individual women throughout the year and be guided through writing and performing in response.

All of the Community Arts Workshops are held at Custom's House and are lead by artist and director of Dream Time Creative, Shannon Wishon. You will be creating the theatre backdrop for the IWD performance at The Mechanics Theatre on IWD 2019.

These workshops are open to all genders and abilities. You do need to book in advance and are run on a Pay as You Feel basis to enable us to raise funds towards covering the costs of Blue Plaques for our Forgotten Women.

Booking is essential: Workshop Details

New Publications from Pen and Sword Reviews by Dr Phil Judkins

SOME OTHER AND WIDER DESTINY by Elaine Merckx & Neil Rigby (Pen & Sword, £29.95) ISBN 9781912174010

There are some books it is an absolute pleasure to review, and our member Elaine Merckx and her colleague Neil Rigby have certainly written one with this magisterial account of the part played by Wakefield Grammar School Foundation pupils in the Great War.

So often, such accounts tend to be a dutiful encyclopaedia of names and short histories in neat alphabetical order, factually accurate but shorn of any real context of the services rendered or the individual nature of the person whose life, and sadly too frequently whose death, is recorded. This work is at the other end of the scale from such a dry, sterile, account, and puts real personalities, with domestic lives, families, careers and professions before us, told against an easy-to-follow account of the war into which their military deeds are set.

Alongside the poignancy of the first two volunteers, both assistant masters, being cheered off by the whole school to a war from which neither would return, this reader found the accounts contributed by the Wakefield Girls High School pupils of particular interest – not least Kathleen O'Connor, caught up in the almost unknown 1915 Sikh Mutiny in Singapore, the tales of the flax-pullers at Ousefleet, or the examination paper and timetable of Jessie Abson in 1918. Highly illuminating also are the details – the change of name of the Zschiedrich family to Dixon, or finding a former master as a 'Bimbashi' (a higher-grade Major) in the Egyptian Army. I should have liked a little more detail on some items – few boys joined the Navy, so more detail on the Cadmus at Jutland on which one ex-pupil served would have been of interest – but these are matters of triviality; this book displays excellent research, a most readable style, and highly informative Appendices, and deserves to be a great success.

5 stars – thoroughly researched and interesting history, excellently written and produced.

WAKEFIELD IN THE GREAT WAR Tim Lynch (Pen & Sword, 12.99), ISBN 9781473847415
A volume in the Pen & Sword series on Your Towns and Cities in the Great War, this book on Wakefield’s contribution follows author Tim Lynch’s Great War Britain – Sheffield from the History Press, and was a work in preparation by our own Kate Taylor before her sad death; Tim handsomely acknowledges his use of her papers in the preparation of this book on Wakefield. A challenge to all historians working on one volume of a series of books with a powerful central theme, such as in this case the Great War, is to find out the information which will allow a fresh and local treatment of the facts, rather than a repetition of the national story – by now, thanks to radio and TV as well as books, a well-trodden path. This is perhaps the more difficult when the author has already published on the same theme as it relates to a nearby city. Fortunately, Tim Lynch has an eye for the little-known and interesting facts which can create a very readable work, and this he has produced, with stories of the local volunteers, hospitals, war industries, which make for a most interesting book. There are, inevitably, areas which with a little work might have made it even better – as just two examples, many of the photos early in the book are not credited and one wonders if they are even local; and much of the detail of Lofthouse Part Internment Centre comes from Paul Cohen-Portheim’s book Time Stood Still, referenced in the text but not credited in the brief bibliography, and so misses the best story, of the interned prisoner who escaped home to Austria, was there conscripted, and appealed to the British Ambassador to be allowed to come back to Lofthouse. Many copies of this book will doubtless be purchased as Christmas presents; I would recommend it as a good read, and I recommend even more Tim’s most interesting talk on the subject!

4 stars -  very readable history, illuminated with lesser-known and intriguing stories.

SOUTH YORKSHIRE MINING VILLAGES Melvyn Jones (Pen & Sword, £14.99) ISBN 9781473880771
Professor Jones has produced a robustly-researched book drawing on a number of his published papers to produce this well-written account of a neglected subject; as he comments, there are many books on mining disasters, but few on the developments of the village communities themselves. A landscape historian of long standing, Prof Jones makes excellent use of historic maps in describing the development of each village, and of census information in analysing the places from which the new inhabitants of these rapidly-expanding communities originated – sometimes quite surprisingly distant locations, for although most migration was internal to the UK (again an under-researched subject) some was international, indeed inter-continental. This reviewer can offer the footnote that the Welsh community around Trelew in the Chubut Province of central Patagonia (!) has recently been given prominence by an interesting hour’s documentary presented by the BBC’s Huw Edwards, and Prof Jones identifies other most interesting sources. Well-illustrated both with maps and photographs (but please, Pen & Sword, ensure authors date the photos in future), I would have only one, probably unavoidable, quibble with this work – in pursuit of making it academically robust, Prof Jones has rightly applied the same analytical process to each village he has described, and though his text is both accessible and absorbing, those who read the whole work, rather than use it for reference, may find that, by the twentieth such description, there is something of a feeling of déjà vu. However, this is a minor point - this book is both a good read in itself and a useful permanent research tool for the shelf, where it could so easily have been a turgid recitation of names, dates, company restructurings and the minutiae of personalities.

4 stars – A sound and easy-to-read work on a neglected subject of considerable interest. 

NURSES OF PASSCHENDAELE Christine E Hallett (Pen & Sword, pbk, £12.99).

An absolute joy of a book both to read and to review, written by an acknowledged expert in her field and written to be readable! Professor Hallett sets the story of the nurses of the First World War in the contexts both of the history of the military conflict and the history of the development of nursing practice, against the background of the changes in medical methods which changed so markedly to meet the new demands imposed by modern warfare – specifically, the ghastly wounds imposed by shrapnel, the infections acquired in years of trench warfare, and the deadly new effects of poison gas, which could have the same crippling and deadly effects on nurses as easily as on soldiers. The scale of casualties appals the modern reader, as it should, and sharpens our appreciation of the resourcefulness and heroism of the nurses faced with the multiple challenges of handling many hundreds of badly-wounded soldiers while themselves grossly inadequate in numbers and in many cases with only modest skills, while under shell-fire, poison gas, and aerial bombing. 

Professor Hallett, who will be one of our lecturers this winter, marshals a superb array of original sources with wisdom and sensitivity, from the well-known such as Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, the “Angels of Pervyse” (where she finds new material to write and new observations to make) to the less well known such as our own Wakefield nurses, Nellie Spindler of Aberford Road, the centenary of whose death falls on 21 August this year, and Minnie Wood. This book is well worth buying for the stories of the nurses themselves, but is especially so for setting those stories against a background which is so often lacking in such works, and in doing so in such a way that the general reader can appreciate the magnitude of the nurses’ achievement as well as their sacrifice.

5-star rating. Thoroughly recommended.

WOMEN IN THE GREAT WAR Stephen Wynn and Tanya Wynn (Pen & Sword, pbk, £12.99)
Stephen and Tanya Wynn’s book seeks to cover the sweep of women’s experience in the First World War, which is a challenging canvas to cover. They have relied almost exclusively upon websites to do so, and, as both family and general historians know, websites have the attraction of ease of access and the danger of simply being the equivalent of “I heard this tale down the pub”. Websites also suffer the defect of differing levels of interest in those who fill them with content – hence, there is much in this book on nurses, some 80 of 140 pages, although much in the form of lists; by contrast, munitions workers receive just one-tenth of that, at 8 pages, and the 25,000 women of the Women’s Land Army receive just half-a-page. There is a place waiting for a balanced introduction to the width of new experiences in war service which women undertook in the Great War, but, in this reviewer’s opinion, this book sadly does not fill that need. Another 60 pages based on structured archival research could have made this book more balanced, and still only of the same length and price as Prof Hallett’s book reviewed above; what a pity this was not done!

3-star rating. Readable, but alas, of variable quality and depth.














Heritage Open Days 2018, 6-9 & 13-16 September.

A full list of local venues can be found through these links:

Venues in Wakefield

Venues in Wakefield and the surrounding district

Society for Church Archaeology Conference 14-16 September.

The 2018 Conference will be held at The Guildhall in Hull, the 2017 UK City of Culture, on 14-16 September, 2018. The conference will address the themes of war and commemoration in churches and churchyards, not only taking into account the centenary of the end of the Great War, but also considering the implications of war and memorials throughout the medieval and early modern periods. We will also focus on ecclesiastical expressions of conquest and remembrance of the dead.

All of the details can be found on our website here: Church Archaeology Conference

The winter of Discontent, 1978/1979
Leeds Central library, 18 August, 2-4.30

Sharing Memories and Stories:
More information: Leeds Library Event

WW1 Memorial event 20th September
Wakefield Town Hall 10.15am - 4pm.

Invitation from the First World War Memorial Programme:

"Now in its final year, the First World War Memorials Programme, as part of the national commemorative events, is helping conserve and protect the nation's war memorials for the long term by ensuring that there are skilled volunteers available to assess their condition and take steps to preserve them in the proper way.

The centenary is a chance to understand more about the war, uncover its stories and explore what it means to us today and we are organising a series of events, so we can "hear the stories" and review the past few years to see "how communities have remembered the fallen".

You are invited to a free workshop on September 20th to hear from some of the inspiring volunteers about the ways they are commemorating the First World War.

If you have yet to engage in the commemoration, please do attend these events as it will be your chance to see how others, in the final year of the centenary are remembering the former members of their community. After the event, you too can make a difference by making sure your local war memorial is protected for future generations by getting it listed and added to War Memorials Online."

Places are limited so booking is essential: WW1 Memorial Event
If you have any queries about the event and the First World War Memorials Programme, please do not hesitate to contact: or 0121 792 8177

Re-opening of Calderdale Archives

The Calderdale search room will reopen on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 17 July 2018 as part of a 'pre-opening' ahead of the official opening in the following few weeks. Please look out for more information about the official opening and open day events.

Opening hours - from 17 July 2018;
- Tuesday - 9.30am – 5pm
- Thursday - 9.30am – 5pm
- Friday - Temporarily closed

Appointments are recommended. Please consult a member of Archive Staff or contact them on or 0113 535 0151. Further information about their reopening and contact details can be found on our website Calderdale Archives


Fourth Monday of the month, 1.30pm - 3.00pm
Wakefield One

Programme: May - November 2018
28 May 2018  -  No meeting
25 June  -  Old Occupations
23 July  -   The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum
27 Aug  -   No meeting
24 Sept  -  Votes for Women & the Electoral Registers
22 Oct  -    Favourite Websites
26 Nov  -   Family Photos

Second Friday of the month 11.00am – 12.30pm
Currently meeting in Horbury Library

Programme: April - October 2018
13 April - Family photographs
11 May - Old Occupations and job titles
8 June - Aerial photographs
13 June - visit to the Gissing Centre, Wakefield
10 August - Death and the Victorians
14 September - no meeting
12 October - 1921 census and the changing 1841-1911 censuses

England's Places Photographs online

The photographs of English cities, towns and villages from English Heritage's Architectural Red Box Collection are now online. There are a number of interesting photographs of Wakefield, which appear to be mainly from the 1950s and 1960s of such sites as Thornes House and Haselden Hall. The description on each sheet merely names the building, but does not give any detailed information.
England's Places

Exhibition at Temple Newsam
Beer: A History of Brewing and Drinking
24 Mar 2018 - 27 Oct 2018

Britain's first national drink will be the focus of an exciting new exhibition at Temple Newsam House.

The exhibition reveals life on Temple Newsam Estate through the eyes of the staff and aristocrats who lived, worked, brewed and drank here. New stories have been uncovered from the estate archives, including that of female brewer Elizabeth Pease, who provided ale for the estate for over 30 years during the 18th century.

Visitors will have the chance to see objects from Leeds's important collection of ceramics and view areas of the house in a new light. Now a popular area on tours, back in 1869 the cellars were liberally stocked with 3,800 gallons of ale and 2,200 of beer.

More information: Beer Exhibition

Restoration of Cannon Hall Park and Gardens
Restoring the Glory, Revealing the Secrets

Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens has secured earmarked funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for major improvements and conservation work around the gardens and park, including the restoration of Cannon Hall's Georgian lakes.

The renovation of Cannon Hall Parks and Gardens is about to begin! The desilting of the lakes is about to start soon, a Wakefield Company Ebsford Environmental Ltd has been appointed, and their work programme shows them starting on the top lake first just after Easter

More information: Restoring the Glory

queens of Industry at Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills

Celebrate the untold stories of women in industry during the 20th Century in this exciting new exhibition at Leeds Industrial Museum.

Discover the working class 'queens' elected to represent some of Britain's greatest industries, from coal to cotton.

From the 1920s-80s, Queens of Industry flew the flag for their industry, county or even country. These young workers' lives were changed forever, with opportunities to star on screen, meet political figures like Joseph Stalin and simply become a female voice for their industry.

The exhibition is open until 29 Sept 2019.

Leeds Industrial Museum