small banner
home page about us page activities page publications page Wakefield's history contacts page links page


York Festival of Ideas, May and June

There are many events that are or interest including:

Margaret Cavendish and the Royal Society
Yorkshire Museum 5 June - 8-9pm
In 1667, Margaret Cavendish, a scientist, philosopher and novelist, became the first woman to attend a meeting of the Royal Society, the British home of modern science. During her visit she watched experiments demonstrating some of the newly discovered wonders of the world. See the experiments Cavendish witnessed and find out about her early work of science fiction, The Blazing World.

The Fantastic Visions of James Gillray
Thurs 6 June, 7pm to 8.30pm Fairfax House, Castlegate
James Gillray achieved worldwide fame
in Georgian Britain as the greatest of caricaturists, a new art form that he made his own. Tim Clayton of the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art presents the satirist's colourfully distorted take on turbulent times in which enlightenment and revolution shook the foundations of society and belief. Tim's talk accompanies an exhibition on Gillray at Fairfax House.

Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him
Sat 8 June, 10-11am Yorkshire Museum,
Henry VIII is well known for his tumultuous relationships with women and is often de ned by his many marriages. But what do we know about his relationships with the men who surrounded him? Historian Tracy Borman provides a new perspective on this famous king, proving he was never the one- dimensional monster he is often portrayed as. Join Tracy as she reveals new insights into Henry's beliefs, behaviour and character.

Soldier 8 June 10am - 2pm, York Army Museum
Ever wondered what life was like for a Second World War soldier? Come along and meet members of the East Yorkshire Regiment Living History Group and find out. With displays both inside and outside York Army Museum, you can stroll by and view Second World War kit and vehicles,or go inside and discover more. Join us as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

For a full downloadable brochure of all events see:
York Festival of Ideas

open Lectures at the University of York, summer term

Wednesday 12 June, Roman Fort at Malton

Steve Roskams will present work undertaken by our first year undergraduates at the Roman fort at Malton. This will explore how soldier/civilian relationships developed there overtime and, using earlier student fieldwork at Wharram Percy, discuss wider relationships between the fort and the Wolds beyond.

Wednesday 19 June, Wonders on Wednesday, the Petyt Collection,

The Petyt Collection is the Library and Archives’ latest acquisition. Collected by two brother from Skipton it charts the development of political and religious thought in 17th century Britain.  As part of the Library & Archives ‘Wonders on Wednesday’ series we will be running a drop in session where everyone is welcome and come and handle some of the collection including a coloured atlas, an early chronicle of the world, and the dissection of a rat - something for everyone! Come along to this drop in session any time between 1.30 and 3pm.

More information: Univerity of York

Peterloo: the Massacre, its Background and its Aftermath
1-4pm, Saturday 8th June 2019: Wakefield Labour Club (The Red Shed) WF1 1QX

Speakers: Paul Fitzgerald and Eva Schlunke, Peterloo graphic novel authors, and members of the Memorial Campaign and local historian, Alan Brooke.

As we approach the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre three experts on Peterloo history explore its significance for Manchester, Yorkshire and the country, then and now.

Paul 'Polyp' Fitzgerald and Eva Schlunke are both prominent members of the Peterloo Memorial Campaign in Manchester, which successfully lobbied for a permanent commemoration public sculpture at the site of the massacre, and are two thirds of the authors of the verbatim graphic novel 'PETERLOO: Witnesses to a Massacre', which explores the event and its background / aftermath, in the words of those who saw it first-hand.

Paul is a regular political cartoonist for New Internationalist magazine, and Eva has been lead artist on several of the mass participation art events staged by the campaign. They'll be exploring many of the tough questions Peterloo raises about the current state of the democratic legacy we inherited from those who were at St Peter's Field on the 16th August 1819.

Alan Brooke is author, along with the late Lesley Kipling of 'Liberty or Death – Radicals, Republicans and Luddites in the Huddersfield area.' The Peterloo Massacre had repercussions across the country. Alan Brooke looks at the impact it had on Yorkshire, leading to radical activity being forced underground and culminating in the failed Huddersfield/Grange Moor uprising of 1820.

Wakefield Socialist History Group: Convenor: Bob Mitchell,
Email: Phone 01924 386514

New Website for Wrenthorpe

If you are interested in Wrenthorpe history a blog started in September 2018 provides transcriptions of articles and some images from the British Newspaper Archive related to Wrenthorpe, with added comments to give some background. The site is searchable.

Wrenthorpe in the News

Events at Chantry Chapel

The Private Life of Henry VII, Leeds Waits
Sunday June 23rd 2.30pm - 4.30pm

The Leeds Waits will tell with words and music, the story of Henry VII's search for a new wife following the death of Elizabeth, accompanied by musical instruments and costumes from the medieval period.

More information about the Leeds Waits can be found on their website -

Ticket price is £5. Tickets are available in person, online and by phone from the Theatre Royal Wakefield, Drury Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 2TE
Box Office Enquiries 01924 211 311
All orders will be subject to a fee of £1.75

More information:

Local and Family History network, 2019

Wakefield Group, 4th Monday of the month, 1.30pm - 3.00pm, Wakefield One Library

24 June Investigating the History of a Wiltshire Village
22 July: Researching Domestic Servants
26 August: No meeting

Ossett & Horbury Group, 2nd Friday of the month,
11am - 12.30pm, Horbury Library





















events at West Yorkshire History Centre

Tuesday 11 June: The Bare Bones of Burials in Commercial Archaeology: Challenges and Rewards,

Free talk, 11 - 12.30 pm. More information and booking: WY History Centre Event

Friday 21 June: The Mysterious Diary of Private Newton,

Free talk, West Yorkshire History Centre 11 - 12 am. More information and booking: WY History Centre Event

St Andrew's - a wakefield Parish
Monday 24 June 10am - 12pm.

St Andrew's in partnership with the WEA is hosting two sessions to talk about the growth of the Parish since the Church was built in 1846.

All are welcome and there is no charge.

More information: St Andrew's Church event

Royal Armouries anniversary of Cloth of Gold in 2020

©Royal Armouries

Ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold next year the Royal Armouries in Leeds are raising essential funds to re-create a treasured Tudor helmet in their collection. The money raised will be towards the work of a skilled armourer and materials, and the completed helmet will be worn by a knight at our special celebratory tournament in May 2020.

More information: Tudor Helmet

Yorkshire in History Group
based at Manygates Adult Education Centre

Wednesday 5 June Possibly a visit to the James Herriot Centre in Thirsk, but not yet booked.

Wednesday 3 July
Visit to Goddard's House and Garden in York booked. An Arts and Crafts house 5 min bus ride from York station. Free to NT members, others £7.40.

Wednesday 7 August Possibly a free tour of Kirkstall Abbey (plus Abbey House Museum ?)

Wednesday 4 Sept Visit and talk booked at Leeds Discovery Centre, which houses the collections of Leeds City Museums and Galleries.

Wednesday 6 Nov Talk on the History of Bretton Park by Leonard Bartle (postponed from March).

Contact: Peter Phillips at or phone 07552 302319

Difficult Women
28 & 29 June, 7pm
Mechanics' Theatre, Wood Street, Wakefield

If you missed the Forgotten Women of Wakefield's thought provoking play about the achievements of past Wakefield women as shown to a modern MP and his wife striving for equality between themselves, then you have another chance.

Booking: Tickets, £15 or £13 conc. Dream Time Creative

WarGen Oral History Project


WarGen was founded by broadcaster and historian, Dan Snow, and author and broadcaster, James Holland.

They are creating a crowd-sourced online repository of oral-history from the people who lived through World War 2. Theyare looking for individuals willing to join their volunteer team as interviewers and to go out into local communities and record these important stories of a fast disappearing generation.

That amazing generation who lived and fought through the Second World War is slipping away, their numbers dwindling daily. All too soon, there will be none left at all and World War II, like those conflicts before it, will fall out of living memory. It is of vital importance that we capture as many memories while we still have the chance.

More information: WarGen

Festival of Archaeology 2019

13 - 28 July 2019

CBA's Festival of Archaeology website for 2019 is a showcase for archaeology events from around the UK, and has information for event organisers. Some events before the date of the Festival have already been added.

Festival of Archaeology

50 Years of Lotherton

2019 sees Lotherton Hall celebrate 50 years as a museum and they're marking the occasion with three joint exhibitions. End of an Era looks at the family who donated the estate to the city, while Fifty Years in the Making dives into the Hall's incredible collection to show how its changed over the last half-century. The final one is Fashion Forward, an exhibition that showcases the work of emerging Yorkshire designers as part of their extensive couture collections.

50 Years of Lotherton comes to Lotherton Hall from Friday 1st March to 20th October 2019.