The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2008. The financial statements comply with current statutory requirements and with the requirements of the Society’s memorandum and articles.

The Society is a company limited by guarantee governed by its memorandum and articles of association. Membership is open to anyone on payment of an annual subscription of £18 which is due on 1 October each year. Only those members who have paid or have been elected to Honorary Membership are entitled to vote at the AGM. In the event of the Society being wound up, every person who is a member, or who has been a member within one year, is liable to contribute to the debts and liabilities of the Society a sum not exceeding £10.

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. The Council has powers to co-opt to its membership. Membership of the Council takes into account the need to have members with expertise to cover the variety of activities of the Society.
All members of the Society are notified prior to the AGM of the names of the Council members who are due to retire and are invited to submit nominations. Of those members who retired at the AGM held on 4 December 2007, Dr M Dagg, Ms J N Douglas, P N Hirschmann, Professor M R D Seaward and Ms S P Wrathmell were reappointed and Professor B F Richardson was elected to the Council.

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; at the Council meeting on 22 January 2008, Dr Hatton was elected as President, Dr Lydon as Secretary and Professor North as Treasurer; Professor Seaward was elected as Vice-President.

Council met on six occasions during 2007-2008. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events, and Publications, chaired by Dr Hatton, Dr Jakeways, and Mr Hirschmann respectively. These committees are required to act in accordance with the Society’s Objects and Policies, and their recommendations are put to the Council for its approval.

Mr Norman Madill has continued as Assistant Secretary, managing the Society’s links with its members, the sale of its publications, and other necessary administrative matters.



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 grants for purposes of research, publication, or artistic performance
· awarding prizes
· providing a programme of public lectures relevant to the Society’s objectives
· supporting the work of the City of Leeds Museums & Galleries
· supporting other activities in Leeds of a scientific, literary or artistic nature.

Grant-making policy
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 citizens of Leeds engaged in academic and scholarly activities, especially those relating to Leeds and its immediate area. It does not normally give grants in general support of students on taught courses. The value of grants is normally in the range £100 to £2,000, although this limit may be exceeded in special circumstances. The Council is keen to support new endeavours by the award of ‘pump-priming’ grants.

During the 2007-2008 session, the Society continued its recent successes in fulfilling its aims 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 12 members through resignation or death* and welcomed 21 new members, so that at the end of September 2008 the total number stood at 165.


The regular monthly events continued to be well supported and were clearly welcomed by those attending. The following events took place:

· An Evening with John Roles, preceded by dinner
· The Making of a Biography (Lisa Chaney)
· Pre-Bonfire Night Spectacular (Mike Hoyland)
· AGM, Dinner and Speaker (Professor Chris Taylor)
· Elections on the Hoof (Michael Meadowcroft)
· Priests, Piles and Parasites (Professor Michael Green)
· Science Fair in the Light
· Science within Art: An Analysis Of Holbein’s Masterpiece – The Ambassadors ( Dr David Knapp)
· Bath Houses in Yorkshire (Susan Kellerman)
· Leeds and the beginnings of Molecular Biology: The Braggs and Astbury
(Professor Tony North)
· IsHome Birth a Realistic Option in the 21st century? (Dr Wendy Savage)
· Visit to Sheffield with a Steel Theme
· An Evening with Chocolate (Dr Stevie McBurney)
· Visit to Scarborough Rotunda and Malton Museum
Prizes and Grants

During the year the following prizes and grants were awarded by the Society:

· Arthur Chadwick Prize (University of Leeds): Matthew McArdle
· Modern Language Prize (University of Leeds): Kerry Anne Moore
· Towards research costs associated with a publication about the life of Leeds-born author Eric Knight
· Support of the Celebrate Headingley Literature Festival
· Support for the Leeds Day Limmud
· Towards the costs of the design and printing of a leaflet describing the artwork in the new cancer centre at St James’s Hospital
· Towards the costs of a Chamber Music Masterclass at Lotherton Hall
· Towards the costs of a publication on the History of Swarthmore
· Towards the costs of publishing Mr Mercury: the Life of Edward Baines
· Support of the international conference to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Leeds Town Hall, entitled Music and the Idea of the North
· Towards the costs of commissioning a choral work by Judith Bingham to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Leeds Festival Chorus
· Support of the Ilkley Literature Festival
· Support of the outreach programme of the Museum of the History of Science, Technology & Medicine, the University of Leeds
· Towards the costs of the outreach programme in Leeds associated with the Northern Ballet Theatre production, A Tale of Two Cities
· Towards the costs of a group from Fused Ensemble attending the 6th annual Aberdeen International Youth Festival
· Towards the costs of collections-based research on the Dodo specimens acquired by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society’s former museum
· Towards the costs of printing an up-dated leaflet for the Rodley Nature Reserve
· Towards the production costs of book entitled The Ronnie Duncan Collection associated with an exhibition of the collection at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds


The Society published an illustrated booklet The Coffin of Nesyamun the ‘’Leeds mummy’’ by Belinda Wassell to mark the opening of the new Leeds City Museum in September (see below).
Following the success of the publication of the The Monuments of the Parish Church of St Peter-at-Leeds as a joint publication with The Thoresby Society and Maney Publishing, Council agreed that similar initiatives should be encouraged. The information on the Society’s website has
been amended to reflect the change in policy. The Society supported the publication of the Thoresby Society’s Centenary volume under the terms of the joint memorandum of agreement.

Leeds Museums

After nearly a decade of planning, the new Leeds Museum opened in September with a week of ceremonies to which Society members were invited. The displays are modern, imaginative and effective. The vast majority of the material on display is that of the Society’s collection which was bought by the city in 1921 including the tiger, the yak and the “Leeds mummy”. Amongst the one or two newish items in the Natural History Gallery there are the parrots (impounded by the Customs) for which the Society gave a grant towards preserving and mounting a few years ago.

The Society was involved with two projects to mark the opening. The first of these was the publication of a 50 page booklet giving the first complete translation of the hieroglyphs on the coffin of Nesyamun, the “Leeds mummy”. The translation was carried out by Dr Belinda Wassell (who has a PhD in Egyptology) and the illustrations are by Thomas Small (who works for the museum service in Edinburgh and has a higher degree in the presentation of museum material). The second project was the rebuilding of a DNA model for the Natural History Gallery. This shows 1½ turns of the double helix structure. It was donated by the Faculty of Biological Sciences at Leeds University where it was built in the 1950s. After half a century the model required dismantling, cleaning, repairing and repainting, this expertly undertaken by Professor Tony North and Dr John Lydon. The Society also contributed towards the cost of the Museum opening ceremonies.

With the opening of the Museum the Society now has a new office (shared with the Friends of the Leeds Museums) and its official address is that of the museum. The Society has been involved with the planning of the museum more or less from the beginning and several Council members of the Society have taken part in the deliberations over the last decade. It is appropriate, however, for the Society to record its sincere thanks to Dr John Lydon for the unstinting contributions he has made on behalf of the Society.
* One of the deaths was of Mrs Jean Mortimer (a life member) and President 1993-95; she was unique in being the Society’s only female president.

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