192nd ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2011-2012

The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2012. 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. Dr Dagg and Ms Paynton had resigned during 2011 The AGM held on 7th December 2011 approved the re-election of Dr J E Lydon and Professor A C T North, and the election of Professors R J Bushby and J M Hill as trustees and members of Council. During the year, Dr Reed resigned on the grounds of ill health and Mr J R Evans was co-opted to membership on 5th July 2012.

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 12th January 2012, Professor North was re-elected as President, Dr Lydon as Secretary, Professor Taylor as Treasurer and Dr Hatton as Vice-President.

Council met on six occasions during 2011-2012. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events, Publications and Museums, chaired respectively by Dr Hatton, Mrs Wainwright, Mr Hirschmann and Professor North. These committees are required to act in accordance with the Society’s Aims 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 (in association with Jeremy Mills Publishing Ltd), and other necessary administrative matters.


The Society aims to promote the advancement of science, literature and the arts in the city of Leeds and its immediate area. In furtherance of this aim, which Council believes to be of benefit to the public in this area, the Council’s policy has been to disburse its income as follows by:

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

Grant-making policy

In making grants to promote the advancement of the Society’s aims, the Council places particular emphasis on (but does not limit its grants to) the support of activities which directly benefit the citizens of Leeds or assist those engaged in academic and scholarly activities 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 2011-2012 session, the Society continued its recent successes in fulfilling its aims as listed above, including a programme of artistic and scientific events for members and non-members as detailed below. During the year the Society lost 11 members through resignation or death and welcomed 18 new members, so that at the end of September
2012 the total number stood at 189.


The regular monthly events covered a wide range of topics as usual and were always well supported both by Society members, guests and members of the public. The following events took place:

  • Professor Mark Seaward The role of lichens in shaping our world
  • Professor Alan Walker Public Education in Science – explaining the ‘God particle’
  • Launch of public appeal for funds to purchase the West Yorkshire Hoard
  • Mike Hoyland Pre-Bonfire-Night Spectacular
  • Sir John Meurig Thomas The Stoner lecture – the genius of Michael Faraday
    (Joint lecture with the University of Leeds, School of Physics & Astronomy)
  • The Priestley Lecture: Dr Patrick Eyres The case of Wentworth – the Georgian battle of the follies
  • Annual General Meeting and Dinner, with after-dinner speaker, John Battle Engineering, poets and politics: the character of Leeds
  • Danielle Miles Can protein-like gels be used to cure back pain?
  • Eddie Edmundsen Colonel North, “Nitrate King”
  • Professor George Brooke The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible
  • Dr Alan Ogden Facial Reconstruction in Archaeology
  • Professor Derek Fraser The Welfare State: Past and Present
  • Dr Joann Fletcher Female Pharaohs
  • Summer visit to Standedge Tunnel, The Red House and Oakwell Hall
  • An evening with Professor David Cooper, School of Music, Leeds

Grants and Prizes

During the year the following grants and prizes were awarded by the Society:
to support a bursary appeal for the Yorkshire Youth Choir Residential Course 2012.

  • to provide additional support to the Leeds Museums and Galleries to enable them to achieve the purchase value (£171k) of the Anglo-Saxon hoard.
  • towards the recording costs of a CD of vocal and choral compositions by Champs Hill records.
  • to bring 3 international performance groups to Leeds to celebrate disability and wellbeing at a new Festival for Leeds. ‘LUDUS’.
  • towards the publication of the proceedings of a conference held at Wentworth Castle entitled ‘Jacobites and Tories, Whigs and True Whigs: Political Gardening in Britain, c.1700-c.1760’.
  • towards the publication costs of ‘A Potted History – The Experimental Gardens of the University of Leeds’
  • to help fund the presence of Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, at Leeds Parish Church when it became a Minster on 27th September 2012.
  • towards the purchase of a Post-Medieval gold seal matrix by Leeds Museums and Galleries.
  • towards the cost of staging the Science Fair at the 2012 Otley Science Festival.
  • to pay for the pianist’s fees for a new opera, Amy’s Last Dive, performed at the Workshop Theatre, Leeds in June 2012.
  • towards the costs of research into the history of Jewish culture in Leeds.
  • to support a series of public concerts by the School of Music of the University of Leeds aimed at young children (5 – 11 years) and their parents.
  • to the Yorkshire Archaeological Society to support the cataloguing of their collection of Ralph Thoresby’s letters.
  • Arthur Chadwick Prize: Robert Schiffrin, B.Sc. Biochemistry (1st class Honours).
  • Modern Languages Prize: Clare Poolman, B.A. French and International Development


The Society has agreed to the joint publication with the Thoresby Society of the second edition of Walks Round Redbrick by the late Maurice Beresford, revised by Christopher Hammond, to be published in 2013.

The Leeds City Museum

As before, we have continued to enjoy a good relationship with the staff of the Museums, to whom we are most grateful for their collaboration. It has been helpful that Mr John Roles, the Head of Museums and Galleries, has attended a number of Council meetings. Council meetings have continued to be held in the Museum Denny Room. The Museum’s arena again provided a splendid theatre for our ‘pre-bonfire night spectacular’.

The Museums Committee, comprising representatives from the Council and the Leeds Museums Service, has met twice in the course of the year and provides a valuable meeting place to discuss collaboration in the planning of events and the best use of grants for supporting the museum.

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