REPORT OF THE COUNCIL FOR THE ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIFTH SESSION, 2004 – 2005
The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2005. The financial statements comply with current statutory requirements and with the requirements of the Society’s memorandum and articles.
The Society is a registered charity, registration number 224084, and is a company limited by guarantee, company number 177204. It is governed by its memorandum and articles of association adopted 2 July 1997, which replaced the memorandum and articles of 1921. The Society’s registered address is The City Museum, c/o The Town Hall, Leeds LS1 3AD.
The members of the Council are considered to be both directors for Companies Act purposes and trustees for Charities Act purposes. One third of the members of Council retire by rotation at each Annual General Meeting (normally held in December), when appointments or reappointments are made. Of the Council members who retired at the AGM held on 9 December 2004, Dr Wyatt did not seek re-election and Ms Douglas, Mr Hirschmann and Professor Seaward were reappointed; the nominations of Dr Matthew Dagg, who had served as a co-opted Member since March 2004, and Ms Susan Wrathmell were approved. The officers of the Society are elected by and from the members of Council at the first meeting of Council following the Annual General Meeting. Council met on six occasions during 2004-2005. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events and Publications, chaired by Drs Hatton, Jakeways and Pickering respectively.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE SOCIETY
The officers of the Society listed on page 2 were elected at the Council meeting held in January 2005. Mr Norman Madill continued his valuable work as Assistant Secretary, efficiently managing the Society’s links with its members, the sale of its publications, and other necessary administrative matters.
STATEMENT OF COUNCIL MEMBERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
Company law requires the Council members to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Company and of the incoming resources and application of the resources of the Company for that period. In preparing those financial statements, the Council members are required to:
· Select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently
· Make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent
· Follow applicable accounting standards and the Charities SORP, disclosing and explaining any departures in the accounts
· Prepare the financial statements on a going-concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Company will continue its activities.
Council members are responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy the financial position of the Company at any time and to enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 1985. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Company, ensuring their proper application in accordance with charity law and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.
THE SOCIETY’S OBJECTS AND POLICIES
The Society is an educational charity, whose principal objects are ‘To promote the advancement of science, literature and the arts in the city of Leeds and elsewhere, and to hold, give or provide for meetings, lectures, classes, and entertainments of a scientific, literary, or artistic nature’. In furtherance of these objects the Council’s policy has been to disburse its income as follows by:
· providing small grants for purposes of research, publication, or artistic performance
· awarding prizes
· financing the publication of research papers and monographs
· providing a programme of public lectures relevant to the Society’s objects
· supporting the work of Leeds City Museums & Galleries
· supporting other activities in Leeds of a scientific, literary or artistic nature.
The Trustees’ policies on investments, reserves, grants and risk management are set out below.
The Society holds reserves in the form of an unrestricted fund derived from past benefactions and its annual subscriptions, including the proceeds from the sale of the Philosophical Hall to Leeds City Council in 1921. The fund has increased in value over the years as income exceeded expenditure and now stands at £413,478. Since the Society adopted its new constitution in 1997, Council’s aim in the medium term has been to balance its expenditure and income without depleting the capital value of its investments. The Society’s income and expenditure do, however, vary from year to year depending on a number of factors. The Council therefore considers it prudent to hold liquid reserves in the Charities Deposit Fund and current bank account. The amount held in liquid reserves is a minimum of £5,000 (roughly 25% of current average annual expenditure). This sum may be supplemented from time to time by provision for major expenditure to which the Council is committed in the coming year (and for which the anticipated income in that year will not be sufficient), or for major expenditure the possibility of which it foresees over the coming five-year period. The policy on reserves is reviewed annually by the Council as part of its annual budget review.
There are no restrictions in the Society’s Memorandum and Articles. The Council’s investment objectives are to maintain a level of income sufficient to fund the Society’s activities, while increasing the capital value of its invested assets over the long term at least in line with inflation. To this end, it is the Society’s normal practice to reinvest realised gains on its assets. The Council has delegated the management of its investments on a discretionary basis to Carr Sheppards Crosthwaite Ltd (now Rensburg Sheppards). Over the year 2004 – 2005, the market value of the investments increased by 10.4% and from 1995 to 2005 by 50.9%.
1) Income: since the largest element of the Society’s income is from its investments, the major risks to which it is exposed are falls in dividend income and in the capital value of its investments. These risks are lessened by a wide spread of equity investments across several sectors and in a number of companies within each sector. A high proportion of the Society’s capital is currently held in fixed interest securities as a means of protecting income levels. The investment managers pursue an active investment policy on the Society’s behalf which further mitigates the risks. The Council is confident that over the long term any temporary fall in the overall value of its investments will be recouped. The arrangements are regularly reviewed by the Trustees.
2) Expenditure: expenditure on individual Grants, Publications and Events represents a small part of total expenditure and risks are minimised by standard procedures for authorisation of all financial transactions. The potential risks at the Society’s events are considered as part of the planning for them, and appropriate steps are taken, including the arrangement of Public Liability insurance as necessary.
3) The quality of the Society’s Events and Publications and the outcome of Grants that have been awarded are reviewed by the Trustees at their regular meetings so as to ensure that all the Society’s activities are of a high standard consonant with its Objects.
In making grants to promote the advancement of the Society’s objectives, the Council places particular emphasis on (but does not limit its grants to) support for organisations and citizens of Leeds engaged in cultural, academic and scholarly activities, especially those relating to Leeds and its immediate area. It does not normally give grants towards the general support of students on taught courses or for research students to attend conferences. The maximum value of grants is normally £2,000, with the majority being in the region of £1,000. The Council is keen to support new endeavours by the award of ‘pump-priming’ grants.
THE SOCIETY’S ACTIVITIES
During the 2004-2005 session the Society continued its recent successes in fulfilling its objects as listed above, including a growing number of artistic and scientific events for members and non-members as detailed below. During the year the Society lost 27 members through resignation and death and welcomed 23 new members, so that at the end of September 2005 the total number stood at 132. We urge members to make an effort to bring the Society and its activities to the attention of potentially interested friends and colleagues.
Numerous successful events were held during the year varying from lectures to visits. The aim was to have at least one event each month so that the Society would have a good programme of activities. In October Dr Ian Holme treated us to a private visit to the Colour Museum in Bradford. The Annual Priestley Lecture in Mill Hill Chapel followed later in the month and a few days after this there was “An Evening with Jim Walsh” in University House. On 4 November, the perennial and very popular Pre-bonfire-night Spectacular was delivered by Mike Hoyland with his usual aplomb and exciting demonstrations. At the AGM in December, Dr Stephen Muir gave an excellent after-dinner talk on “Yorkshire Composers”. In January, Margaret Ratcliffe gave us an interesting talk entitled “Arthur Ransome of Leeds – the JK Rowling of his day”. This was followed in the next month by an entertaining talk by Dr Tristram Wyatt on “Following Your Nose to Love, Do Humans have Pheromones?” and a public lecture on “The Sumatran Earthquake” in memory of Prof. Sally Macgill, the latter sponsored by the Society and School of Earth Sciences. In March, Cecil Bloom talked to us about “Elgar and the Leeds Connection” and later in that month the Science Fair was held in a new venue – The Light, in Leeds City Centre. The Society is most grateful to the management of The Light for allowing us to hold the event there on a busy Saturday. The Fair was very successful and attracted a much greater number of visitors than in the past when it had been held in the University. In April, we were given an excellent talk on the “Restoration of the Grand Theatre” by Robert Thorne. Prof. David Morley spoke to us in May on the subject “Fifty Years of Child Healthcare in the Tropics”. This was followed in June by a “Leeds Walk” when Janet Douglas conducted a party around the historic buildings to be found in the vicinity of Marshall Street. A visit to Hull in August started with a tour of the Hull Museum conducted by Bryan Sitch; in the afternoon, most members then went on to visit Burton Constable. In September, Prof. Tom McLeish intrigued members with a talk entitled “The Physics of Slime and Spherical Cows”.
Following further publicity, the number and quality of applications for grants have continued to improve this year. During the year the following grants (ranging from £80 to £2000) were awarded by the Society to two individuals (Peter Dawson and Jessica Bachicha) and to organisations in support of:
· Promoting ‘Leeds Lieder+’ music festival
· Guide to VITRINE – contemporary art displays throughout Leeds City Centre
· Publication costs of The West Yorkshire Plant Atlas
· Purchase of GPS for a milestone survey on behalf of the Milestone Society
· Leeds International Medieval Conference
· Subscription to the 250th anniversary facsimile of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director
· Leeds University Liturgical Choir visit to Poland
· Yorkshire Geology Week
· Chapel Allerton Arts Festival
· Royal Armouries’ Shogun Exhibition education pack
· ‘Arts to Share’ project for the visually impaired
· Exhibition costs for the 175th anniversary of the Leeds School of Medicine
· Ilkley Literary Festival
· ULITA exhibition ‘Patterns of Culture-Techniques of Decorative Weaving’
· Conservation costs of a collection of rare parrots for Leeds Museums
· Joseph Priestley Bicentenary celebrations
· Performance costs of the viol consort Fretwork
· Leeds Peace Poetry Competition
· Leeds Astromeet 2005
· Performance costs of London Sinfonietta at ‘fuseleeds06’
· Royal Armouries’ education outreach programme
· Leeds Museums’ purchase of historic photographs by J. W. Oxley
· Publication of J. R. Mortimer’s archaeological investigations
· A film commission by Ken Jacobs: Leeds Bridge 1888
· Restoration of Dr Arthur Chadwick’s flying dinosaur models
The innovation in this area during 2004-05 was the first issue of what is intended to be a continuing series, namely the new Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society Annual Report and Review. This incorporates the traditional Annual Report, but expands it through the addition of numerous short reports of Society events – some of them illustrated – and of the results of grants awarded by the Society. The authors are a mixture of members of Council, speakers at events, and grant recipients, and the Society is grateful to them all for their cooperation – and particularly to Dr Chris Hammond, who edited the first issue and saw it through to printing. The Annual Report and Review was, of course, distributed to members of the Society, but has also proved useful for promotional purposes.
The Society did not publish anything else on its account during 2004-05, in effect consolidating Council’s earlier decision to channel funds that might once have been used for its own publications into support for publications by other bodies, when appropriate. Items falling into this category that were distributed to members in 2004-05 comprised Geology, Scenery and History: A Walk In Yewdale, Northeast of Coniston, by Murray Mitchell (Cumbria RIGS); Edwardian Leeds in Postcards, by Kevin Grady and John Stringer (Leeds Civic Trust); and two issues of the poetry magazine Pennine Platform, edited by Nicholas Bielby. Members can, however, look forward, in 2006 to an updated second edition of The Building Stone Heritage of Leeds, by Murray Mitchell, first published by the Society (by the late Francis G. Dimes and Murray Mitchell) in 1996.
The Society continues its active involvement (together with three other local societies, the Friends of the Leeds Museums, the Thoresby Society, and the Leeds Civic Trust) in the planning and the development of the Leeds Institute building as the Leeds City Museum, and the preservation and conservation of our national heritage in auxiliary archives and resource centre.