The Leeds Archive office is never knowingly short of sweet treats and this year in particular we will ensure that we stay well stocked with cake and party hats.

Because 2018 is the year in which the Leeds Archives turned a whopping 80 years old and we’d like to take a moment to look back at some of our history, to see where we’ve come from and how we’ve changed, and look into the future as we celebrate our birthday.

We’re glossing over the fact that missed the actual anniversary of the first archivist being appointed in January 1938 (whoops!) and we’ve nominated the remainder of 2018 our “birthday year” to stretch out our celebrations and pretend like we planned it this way all along!  Each week, until the end of 2018, we’ll be covering a decade of our history on social media to promote some of the fantastic collections we’ve received over the years and show how the archive service has evolved over time. All of the blog posts can be read as they’re launched via the blog page or, from the end of 2018 you can see them all here as part of our #LeedsArchive80 exhibition.

We’ll be highlighting the breadth of our collections, from the records of Leeds City Council and its predecessor bodies (the real backbone of our holdings), to the huge family and estate archives, the records of the Diocese and local parishes, schools, businesses and the individuals who have donated or loaned their records to be preserved and accessed, for free, by researchers.


Leeds Search Room

The old Leeds Archives search room at Sheepscar Branch Library. Image courtesy of http://www.leodis.net

Over the years we’ve lived in Leeds Central Library (1938-1965), Sheepscar Branch Library (1965-2012) and Morley (2012 onwards) and had out stores in Armley, Sheepscar and Morley.

Tetleys Archive Delivery

Mr Collinson, former Leeds Archivist, accepting the deposit of Tetley’s Archives which arrived in a rather unusual vehicle! Image courtesy of http://www.leodis.net

We’ve had fantastic deposits of archives, some of which, like Tetley’s, arrived on horse and cart(!); excellent staff who’ve protected and preserved the collections to make them accessible; wonderful volunteers who’ve given up their valuable free time to help the service; and thousands of brilliant researchers who have made use of the records in our care.

So, grab yourself a slice of cake, stick a candle in it and enjoy reading our birthday blogs #LeedsArchives80

Keep reading…. 1930s: Temple Newsam