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One Day Conference on medieval rotherham, Saturday 8 July 2017 10am-4pm

A rare opportunity to hear about one of the few surviving medieval bridge chapels other than the Chapel on Wakefield Bridge.

A day conference showcasing medieval buildings in Rotherham. Admission strictly ticket only £7.50 includes buffet lunch and refreshments.

10am Meet and greet in Rotherham Minster
10.10 Martyn Taylor gives an introduction to the history of the Minster
10.30 "English Bridge Chapels" – A presentation by Sue Threader, BEng HonDSc CEng FICE
11.30 A chance to see a medieval merchant's house with access to the original roof structure, explained by Chris Hamby who has been instrumental in turning around the fortunes of Rotherham's High Street
12.15 Lunch provided at All Saints Centre adjacent to the Minster.
Walk down the hill to the Chapel on the Bridge
1.15 Author Margaret Jackson will share the fascinating history of the Chapel
2.00 Sue Threader will talk on medieval bridge construction; social issues and technical challenges, focussing on Rotherham bridge
3.00 Time to explore the crypt/jail and the history contained in the window and have a look at the bridge

Please send cheques made payable to "Friends of Rotherham Chapel on the Bridge" to Eileen Hyland, 21 Heather Close, Rotherham, S60 2TQ,

Gissing centre new exhibition

For information about the new exhibition please look on the dedicated page: Gissing Trust

Heritage of Walton - the HOW Project

Do you live in Walton, or are you interested in the history of Walton? It is hoped that in 2017 a group of people from the village will explore the history of Walton in order to develop a history trail extending the Walton Colliery Nature Park Heritage Trail to Waterton Historic Park and Haw Park Woods. For more information and to see the suggested areas for research please download this flyer:

The HOW Project

Wakefield Cathedral to mark the First World War Centenary

Wakefield Cathedral has received a grant of £9,200 from the National Lottery for a special project called ‘Then and Now, There and Here: The Imprint of the First World War in Wakefield’. Awarded through The Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) First World War: Then and Now programme the project will ask local people to help uncover the lesser known stories of Wakefield’s experience of The Great War.

This new project will mark the Centenary of the First World War by enabling local people in Wakefield to come together and find out more about the role the city and its people played; discovering the impact of the First World War on the people of Wakefield both at the time and in the 21st century.

More information: WW1 Centenary at Wakefield Cathedral

Contact Gillian Bunn at Wakefield Cathedral on 01924 373923 for more information.

Historical Pageants in Britain 1905-2016

Paul Readman, a professor of Modern British History at King's College London has contacted us about a project on pageants called 'The Redress of the Past: Historical Pageants in Britain 1905-2016', which has a new, free-to-use resource for local history:

Dressing up and re-enacting the past through dramatic performance was a popular activity across much of twentieth-century Britain. Historical pageants were put on in villages, towns and cities up and down the country; hundreds of thousands of people were involved as volunteer actors, organizers, dressmakers, fund-raisers, and much else besides; millions more enjoyed these often large-scale events as spectators. Pageants told the stories of local communities through chronologically-ordered scenes or episodes featuring notable events from local history. Sometimes captured on film, these pageants are vivid, fascinating, and extraordinarily rich sources for local historical research.

Until recently, relatively little was known about the spread and extent of this 'pageant fever'. But now a team of researchers have created a free, publicly-accessible database of historical pageants. This database, which is fully searchable, contains detailed information about hundreds of historical pageants.

'The Pageant of Wakefield and the West Riding' in 1933 includes factual material (e.g. names of organizers, dates and times of performances, financial profit/loss, content of episodes) and also a readable essay setting the event in its local and national context.

book 'Yorkshire collieries 1947-1994'

collieries book

This recently published book, which took 9 years to research and write, contains 440,000 words on 680pp and includes around 700 illustrations. It has a comprehensive history, including social history, of 137 Pits across the whole of Yorkshire (from sinking to closure). These Pits came under the stewardship of the NCB and British Coal Corporation. A lot of pit sites can be traced back to the Domesday Survey and before, so site histories are also included. There are also chapters on Yorkshire Disasters, Mines Rescue, the NUM, Yorkshire Coal Seams and the NCB. The librarian at the National Coal Mining Museum has stated that this book is now the go-to reference for Yorkshire Coal Mining history.

The author, Eddie Downes is a qualified mining engineer with a degree from the University of Leeds. He worked as an undermanager in the NCB Doncaster Area before specialising in the treatment and prevention of underground fires and large falls of ground at pits in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Spain, while working for a couple of private Mining Companies.

The book, price £25, can be obtained by contacting Eddie Downes, Phone no: 01924 820202 or mobile 07958331262 Email








events at the West Yorkshire History Centre

Wednesday 5th July - Caring for your historic letters workshop
A beginner's workshop that will teach basic preservation and packaging skills to help you properly care for your historic letters. You will get he opportunity to make suitable packaging and you can bring in some of your letters for further advice / discussion
Booking required 10:00am - 3:00pm
£20 per adult

Thursday 27th July - Archive Surgery
New to using archives or stuck on a piece of research? Book a 45 minute slot with one of our archive team to help guide you through using our fascinating collections.
Booking required, slots at 10:00am, 11:00am and 1:00pm

Book through Eventbrite

Full list of events July - December

Talks at Leeds Central Library

Hands-On Urban History Workshop: Modelling Seacroft Foundry Mill (July 1)
The site of John Smeaton's 18th Century ironworks at Seacroft has inspired lots of local debate. Join our research team to explore the area using old maps and meet local historian Ken Cross, who'll be demonstrating an amazing new 3D computer model of the mill. Tickets for this free event can be booked here:

Thomas Wilson Week (July 3 – 13)

Join us for a series of events commemorating eighteenth-century Leeds schoolmaster and antiquarian, Thomas Wilson. This will include a talk on July 5 by Professor Michael Kuczynski of Tulane University on Wilson's life and achievement, alongside a two week exhibition of Wilson manuscripts and related books. Further details of both these events can be found in the attached posters – please visit to attend Professor Kuczynski's talk.

Alongside those two main events, Philip Wilde of the Central Library will be delivering his ever-popular talk on the 500th anniversary of our Cistercian Missal - thought to have belonged to the library at Kirkstall Abbey, and now preserved in the collections at Leeds Libraries. Phil's talk will be on Friday the 7th of July at Leeds City Museum from 10.30-12 noon. Advance booking is not required.

Royal Archaeological Institute's conference, York from 17 - 19 November

Arras 200 – Celebrating the Iron Age
Annual Conference 2017

In partnership with the University of Hull and Yorkshire Museum and in association with Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society and East Riding Archaeological Society

The conference will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first excavations on the Middle Iron Age cemetery at Arras in East Yorkshire and will coincide with a special exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum displaying artefacts from those excavations.

More information and booking form: Arras 200
Website: RAI Conference

Pablo Fanque's Circus
Clement's Hall, York

Saturday 17th June 7.30pm

One of the most successful Victorian circuses, the Circus Royal, was formed by a mixed heritage couple, Pablo and Susannah Darby, in Wakefield in the early 1840s. You can hear their story at this event in York. We hope to bring them to Wakefield later this year to do a similar performance about their history in Wakefield.

More information: Pablo Fanque event

West Yorkshire Archives Kirklees at Heritage Quay project

Kirklees Archives have received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the West Yorkshire Archives Kirklees at Heritage Quay project. The project aims to improve access to Kirklees' archive collections, create opportunities for volunteering, formal and informal learning and exhibitions for the first time, and to radically improve the storage and physical conditions for the collections. This work will be achieved through a partnership between Kirklees MBC, West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee and the University of Huddersfield.

Thanks to National Lottery players development funding of £80,100 has also been awarded to help the project partners progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. If successful, the Kirklees archive collections will move to the multi-award winning facilities at Heritage Quay on the University campus in 2019.

More information: Kirklees Archives project

South Leeds Archaeology

South Leeds Archaeology is planning a programme of Events and Activities and is looking forward to attracting new members in the area. They are moving to the Rothwell Community Hub in March 2017, Marsh Street, Rothwell
LS26 0AE. Their monthly public presentation evenings will be on Wednesday evenings 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, starting Wednesday 22nd March 2017. All are welcome. £4.00 for non-members, including refreshments.

Mor information: South Leeds Archaeology

Historic walks and events at Bretton Hall 2017

Join the YSP Heritage team for a free series of short introductory walks to explore the Park's interesting past, historic walks, lakes and woodlands at YSP.
Each tour will showcase a particular aspect of the park’s history, from the building of the Chapel, interesting historical features and follies, including the old pump house and Belle Vista.  More information: Bretton Heritage Walks

The Heritage Team have also published details of events at Bretton for the year ahead, to see the information please download their flyer: Special Heritage Events 2017

The Red Shed, 50 years

This year Wakefield Labour Club has celebrated fifty years at the Red Shed on Vicarage Street, nowadays tucked away behind Trinity Walk. Originally an old Army/RAF hut, it has survived vicissitudes in its fortunes, but is now thriving not only as a club, but as a real ale venue hosting live music, as well as talks about the history of the labour movement. Notable speakers at the club have included Ken Livingstone, John Prescott, Vanessa Redgrave, Dennis Skinner and Tony Benn.

A book about the Red Shed has just been published 'THE RED SHED---50 years a socialist club' which is available at the club and costs £5.

More information: The Red Shed