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Collaborative Seminar:

The Centre for Heritage Research, University of Leeds, in collaboration with the Leeds Library, and the Yorkshire Local Studies Network presents:

'Leeds’ Civic Heritage of Libraries and Readers'

A free seminar for librarians and scholars of book & library history

Wednesday April 29th 2009 4.00 - 6.00pm

Venue: The Leeds Library, Leeds, 18 Commercial Street, Leeds, LS1 6AL

The UK’s oldest private subscription library -

Click here to see photos from this seminar...

Click here to read a report on this seminar...

    Aims of the seminar

  • To share research and civic heritage expertise between University of Leeds scholars and library staff members, in relation to Leeds’ 250 years-worth of book collecting, borrowing and reading.
  • To open up the collections of what is the UK’s oldest private subscription library, and to facilitate scholarly research within these collections.
  • To provide a forum for the development of University-civic research partnerships, in relation to the Leeds Library and other civic library collections.


  • Geoffrey Forster (The Leeds Library), ‘Collecting in Commercial Street: books and readers at the Leeds Library, 1768 to the present day’.

  • Mark Steadman (University of Leeds, History & Philosophy of Science), ‘Fuelling the Fires of Industry?: Institutionalising Expert Knowledge in Industrial Leeds 1771-1874’.

  • Rebecca Bowd (University of Leeds, School of History), 'Medics and Merchants: a comparative study of the eighteenth-century subscription libraries in Leeds'.

  • Helen Sutcliffe (University of Leeds, School of English), ‘‘Inappropriate library institutions and inappropriate reading’ - The Leeds Foreign Circulating Library.’

  • Commentators:-

  • Stuart Rawnsley (Leeds Metropolitan Society, School of Cultural Studies,).

  • Jim Morgan (Thoresby Society).

  • Bob Duckett (retired librarian and committee member, Library & Information History Group and editor, Bronte Society).

For more information about the Centre for Heritage Research see



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