THE LEEDS PHILOSOPHICAL AND LITERARY SOCIETY
195TH ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2014-2015
The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2015. 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 which is due on 1 October each year. The Annual General Meeting held in December 2014 agreed to raise the subscription from £18 to £25 p.a. with effect from 1 October 2015. 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.
STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
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. The AGM held on 3rd December 2014 elected Mr Andrew Morrison as a member of Council, and re-elected Professor Richard Bushby, Professor Joyce Hill, Dr John Lydon, and Professor Tony North.
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 16th January 2015, Professor Hill was elected as President, Dr Lydon as Secretary, Mr Evans as Treasurer, and Professor North as Vice-President. At the end of 2013-14 Mr Evans had stated that he wished to stand down as Treasurer, but offered to continue in the short term until a new Treasurer could be found, In the event, Mr Evans continued for the full year, to 30 September 2015.
Council met on six occasions during 2014-2015. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events, and Museums, chaired respectively by Dr Hatton, Professor Bushby, and Professor Hill. The 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 and other necessary administrative matters.
THE SOCIETY’S AIMS AND ACTIVITIES
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
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.
The Society’s archives
The Society’s archives are held in the Special Collections section of the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, where they are available for public consultation. In July 2015 the Society was delighted to receive the surviving papers of Louis le Prince, the creator of the world’s first moving film. The film that survives was taken in Leeds, while le Prince was a member of the Society. The donor was his great-great-granddaughter, Laurie Snyder, who brought the documents to Leeds from the USA, where she lives. We were pleased to be able to meet the costs of her journey, and to host a reception in the Brotherton Room of the University Library on 2nd July to celebrate the handover. We are grateful to David Wilkinson for facilitating the acquisition of the archive. His documentary film on Louis le Prince, The First Film, had its premiere in Leeds on 1st July; several members attended and were able to learn of the importance of the Society for Louis le Prince during his time here. The digitising of the documents is in progress, and it is anticipated that these images will soon be publicly accessible on the Special Collections website, in a section dedicated to the Society. We are grateful to the University Library for undertaking this work free of charge in recognition of the importance of these documents. It is hoped that other materials from our archive will be able to be added in due course. We are also pleased to report that we at last have a complete set of the Society’s Annual Reports in the Special Collections archive, now fully catalogued and appropriately stored. Further work on the archive is being planned.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE
During the 2014-15 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 12 members through resignation or death and welcomed 14 new members, so that at the end of September 2015 the total number stood at 183.
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 Mike Green Berkeley Moynihan: Surgeon, Soldier, Statesman: dinner and talk at University House, celebrating Moynihan’s contributions to the First World War.
· The Priestley Lecture: Ben Russell, James Watt
· Annual General Meeting and Dinner, with after-dinner speaker, Daru Rooke, Cliffe Castle 1880-1950
· Dr Terry Kee What is Life and How Did it Begin?
· Dr Tom Smith Firework Displays
· Annual Science Fair in Leeds City Museum
· Janet Douglas John Clifford Proctor: Leeds’s Forgotten Modernist
· An Evening With Timothy Noad, heraldic artist, illuminator, calligrapher and designer of coins and medals for the College of Arms: dinner and talk at University House
· Derek Rayner John Fowler and his Steam Plough Works, held at Armley Mill Museum in connection with their special exhibition on the Life and Work of John Fowler of Leeds
· Professor Jessica Malay Anne Clifford’s Great Books
· Summer visit to Lincoln, for the new Magna Carta display, the castle, the cathedral, and the cathedral library
· Professor Richard Bushby Paul Ehrlich and the Invention of Modern Medicines in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Ehrlich’s death.
Regrettably, the popular Annual Pre-Bonfire Night Spectacular, normally held in the Brodrick arena in the Leeds City Museum, had to be cancelled this year, but we hope that it will be possible to reinstate it in 2015.
The President and other members of the Council were pleased to accept invitations to events associated with previous grant-awards. We would also like to thank those who offered members a special rate for the purchase of books resulting from research for which the Society had provided grant aid.
Grants and Prizes
During the year the following grants were awarded by the Society:
· James Lomax on behalf of the Leeds Art Fund, £250 towards the digitisation of the entire 118 issues of the Leeds Arts Calendar (1947-1997).
· Dr Margaret Turnham, £250 to support the publication of Catholic Faith and Practice in England 1779-1992.
· Camilla Nichol on behalf of Leeds Museums and Galleries, £5000 to fund archival work on the LPLS material in the Special Collections of the Brotherton Library with a view to producing a good quality catalogue.
· Nima Poovaya-Smith on behalf of Alchemy and the Leeds Library, £750 to support an artistic programme, entitled A Hidden Diamond? The Leeds Library – Metaphor and Reality, based on various diamond chronicles in the Library.
· Clare Brown on behalf of Leeds Museums and Galleries, £550 towards the re-articulation of an ostrich skeleton most probably donated to the LPLS in 1841 by William Aldman, M.P.
· Abigail Fisher on behalf of the Royal Armouries Museum, £1000 to support conservation work at the Royal Armouries Museum associated with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
· Olav Arnold, £250 towards the design costs of Scarcroft Then and Now: a History of the Village.
· Dr Bryan White, £750 to support a performance of Philip Hayes’s oratorio The Judgement of Hermes, by the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds.
· Haydn Farrar, £500 to support the writing and production of Drink and the Chimp by Leeds Pageant for the Big Bookend Festival 2015.
· Hazel Costello, £250 towards the costs of staging the Family Science Fair at the 2015 Otley Science Festival.
· Dr Patrick Eyres, £750 to assist the publication of Yorkshire Capabilities: landscapes designed by Capability Brown by New Arcadian Press.
· John Mee on behalf of Alive and Kicking Theatre Company, £1000 towards the creation of Crowheart, a new interactive drama and literacy experience for years 4, 5, 6 children.
· Cynthia Wainwright, £750 to support Leeds Lieder 2015-16 Education Programme.
· Professor Richard Rastall, £750 towards the cost of recording Martin Peerson’s Grave Chamber Musique (1630).
· Linzi Tate, on behalf of Leeds City Council, £750 to support research into the history of the Carriageworks Theatre building.
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 Leeds Museums and Galleries, has attended a number of Council meetings. Two of our Council meetings this year have been held in the City Museum and one in Armley Mills Museum, but restrictions in the Museum’s opening hours mean that we had to hold our November meeting in University of Leeds, our March meeting in the Leeds Library, and as of July have been meeting in the Civic Hall, as our new regular venue. We are grateful to Cllr Nash for arranging this facility. We wish to put on record our deep regret that economic pressures mean that the Council is no longer able to mark its historic association with the Museum by holding its meetings there.
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.