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Talks at the Royal Armouries, Leeds

The real meaning of 'Brown Bess'
10th January - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jonathan Ferguson – Keeper of Firearms & ArtilleryFree

The British soldier's musket has long been nicknamed 'Brown Bess', and the term remains a household name. However, there has been a great deal of confusion over the true origin and meaning of this name, resulting in various explanations. This lecture will chart the history and etymology of the term and reveal the true meaning of the name.

The Real meaning of 'Brown Bess'

The death of Richard III
24th January - 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Robert Woosnam-Savage – Curator of Armour & European Edged Weapons

Bob, Project Weapons Expert for the University of Leicester 'Search for Richard III' Archaeological Team, is one of the handful of experts to have physically examined the remains. He was employed to help find and examine the weapons trauma on the skeleton and attempt to identify the various types of weapons that may have been used to make them. As a result, using both historical and archaeological evidence, we can now create a potential sequence of events that lets us discover the possible last moments and death of Richard III – 'the king under the car park'.

The Death of Richard lll

Hoard found at South Elmsall handed over to Wakefield Museum

In September 2015, a group of Iron Age objects were found whilst metal detecting at a rally in North Elmsall, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Amy Downes, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in West Yorkshire, was able to attend the site within two hours of the discovery. The finds included a copper alloy strainer vessel, a pottery vessel, and five copper alloy bracelets - a single wire piece and two pairs in more robust designs.

Named 'the Brookfield Hoard' itmost likely dates to the first century AD, based upon the objects within the hoard and the dating of similar hoards. However it may have been buried as late as the early second century.

The find qualified as 'treasure' and has now been handed over to Wakefield Museum. It cannot be displayed until it is fully conserved, but full details and images can be found on the Portable Antiquities website at:

NEW Book: Wakefield in 50 buildings
By Peter Thornborrow and Paul Gwilliam

'Wakefield in 50 Buildings' explores the history of Wakefield through a selection of its greatest architectural treasures, from the early medieval Grade I-listed parish church, which became a cathedral in 1880, to the acclaimed Hepworth Wakefield art gallery, which opened in 2011.

Author and architectural historian Peter Thornborrow and photographer Paul Gwilliam celebrate Wakefield's architectural heritage way as they guide the reader around the town's historic and modern buildings.

Available in local bookshops.

Peter will be talking about the book to Wakefield Civic Society at the Kingswood Suite, Town Hall, on Thursday 13 December at 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked on Eventbrite, visitors are welcome.

More information: Book Reviews



















Manygates History Group

The group meet at 10am on Wednesdays, once a month. A small sub is collected at each meeting to cover the cost of room hire. As space is limited, please contact the organiser if you have not attended the meeting before:

Upcoming talks are:

9 January, The Two Esthers, Talk by Lesley Taylor and Shirley Levon

6 February Alan Bennett, Talk by Sheena Vigors

6 March History of Bretton Park, Talk by Leonard Bartle.

During the summer months visits are arranged.

Exhibition at the Brotherton Library, Leeds

These Four Walls, a secret History of Women Home Workers
16 January-16 February

An exhibition exploring the contested meanings of paid work performed by women in their own homes. A fusion of portrait photography and cutting edge historical research will be on display.

Explore different meanings of home based work for women in Britain from the early nineteenth century to modern day.

These Four Walls

Curator Talk at Nostell Priory
22 January 10-12 am

Rome or Ruin. Explore the reasons behind the 18th century obsession with all things Roman and how this played out in grand interiors and collections

Join Nostell's Curator Simon McCormack and our experienced team of volunteers for a talk, coffee and cake followed by a tour of select rooms and artefacts.

£15.00 Per person
Booking details: 01924 863892

Nostell Priory Talk

The BBC Genome project

Th project has recorded BBC listings information which were printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

With more than 5 million programme listings in Genome, it is a historical record of BBC services of any given time which reflect the attitudes and standards of its time.

Some of the listings link to transcribed pages, and some to images of the pages from the magazine. Work is ongoing.

Local and Family History network, 2019

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

28 January: Local artist Louisa Fennell
25 February: DNA and Family History
25 March: Death and the Victorians
22 April: No meeting
20 May: Overcoming Brickwalls and Top Tips in Family History
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

14 December 2018: Family & Local History Quiz
11 January 2019: Church and Chapel
8 February: A Favourite Ancestor
8 March: Looking at Maps (visit to Wakefield One)
12 April: Researching Domestic Servants
10 May: Visit to the National Coal Mining Museum Library

Pit Banners

The September lecture reminded one of our members, Lesley Taylor, that she had taken some slides of a miner’s rally processing down Denby Dale Road on its way to the Park in the 1970s.  A quick search located the slides and on inspection they seemed to provide a good record of the seemingly endless stream of banners, bands and people flooding past her that morning in 1976.  Lesley contacted our  speaker, Anne Bradley, and offered to give the images to the National Coal Mining Museum.  She has just heard from the Museum’s Curator of Art and Photography that they would like to accept them.

Lesley also sent this image to another member, who had worked at Manor Pit, thinking he might recognise someone.  He replied that he was actually to be seen clearly on the photograph, holding the Manor Pit banner aloft.  It is also worth noting the children sitting on the top of the bay window - not something you are likely to see today!

pit banner