THE Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society
197th ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2016-2017

The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2017. 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 had 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.

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. At the AGM on 5 December 2016 Dr D Bower and Dr K Hall were elected to Council; Dr C Hatton, Dr R Jakeways, Cllr E Nash and Professor M Seaward were re-elected.

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 12 January 2017, Dr Hatton was elected as President, Dr Lydon as Secretary, Professor Taylor as Treasurer, and Dr Professor North as Vice-President.

Council met on six occasions during 2016-2017 in the Civic Hall. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events, and Museums, chaired respectively by Dr Hatton, Professor Bushby, and Dr Hatton. 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.

During the course of the 2016/17 year, the Society lost 26 members (through death & resignations) and gained 5 new members; at the end of September, membership totalled 154.


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

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.

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. During the year a project to catalogue the archive was completed by Errin Hussey, Leeds Museums Archivist.



The regular monthly events covered a wide range of topics as usual and were well supported both by Society members, guests and members of the public. The lectures in January and February took place in the afternoon in the City Museum and proved to be particularly well attended. After discussions with the University, evening meetings were transferred from the Civic Hall to University House from March onwards.

The following events took place:

Camilla Nichol.    Preserving Britain’s Antarctic Heritage
Priestley Lecture: John Heyderman Infinite Power and Infinite Being. Spinosa’s God and Human Selfhood
Annual General meeting and dinner at University House, with after-dinner speaker Professor Edward Royle The Great Yorkshire Election 1806
Lucy Moore Women in Leeds 1914-1918
John McGoldrick Armley Mills
An evening with Professor Colin Mellors, Dinner and talk at University House  Modernising Local Government – The Devolution Agenda.
Annual Science Fair in Leeds City Museum.
Patrick Eyres Yorkshire Capabilities Portrayed: Portraits by Georgian artists of the Yorkshire landscapes designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
James Lomax Emily Meynell Ingram of Temple Newsam and Hoar Cross
Professor Matthew Evans Air Quality: A Silent Killer
Summer outing: a visit to Rolls Royce Heritage Centre and Kedleston Hall, both in Derby.
David Sellers William Gascoigne (1612-44) Leeds Astronomer: How a Spider put Leeds at the forefront of the Scientific Revolution.


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

Rehana Minhas, £600 to provide workshops and prizes for the Leeds Peace Poetry competition 2016.
Michael Hann on behalf of ULITA, £600 towards the digitisation of Professor Barker’s Peruvian Expedition film of 1925
Jillian Johnson, £250 towards a professional recording of the choir and orchestra to enhance the Leeds Baroque website.
Katherine Baxter on behalf of Leeds Museums and Galleries, £650 towards the acquisition of a gold signet ring
Stuart Wrathmell, £1000 towards the publication of Kirkstall Abbey volume 2: The Guest House Excavations 1979-86.
Lara Eggleton on behalf of Corridor8/Tetley, £300 to fund the research and development of two essays responding to The Tetley’s exhibition programme.
Julie Sou on behalf of Horsforth Town Council, £600 to support a presentation of the play Don’t leave me now as a part of a programme of public education for Dementia Awareness week,14-20 May.
Ammie Flexen on behalf of the Alive and Kicking Theatre Company, £1000 towards the research and development costs of a new interactive production, The Cave: a Stoneage Mystery.
Sarah Bradley-Adam, £250 to support workshops at the Northern Short Story Festival, Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds.
Nima Poovaya-Smith, £300 towards the framing costs of drawings by Imitiaz Dharker for exhibition at the University of Leeds.
Dr Valerie Mainz, £500 towards the mounting of an exhibition in the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery of prints of the French Revolution from the Pencheon Collection in the Special Collections of the Brotherton Library.
James Lomax, £750 towards the publishing costs of a booklet in connection with the tercentenary exhibition on Thomas Chippendale to be held at the City Museum in 2018.
Rachel Unsworth, £1000 to support the publication of a book on innovation in Leeds, past and present.
David Ward, £600 to support a Northern Opera performance of Thomas Arne’s Alfred at the Left Bank Opera Festival 2017.
Irfan Shah, £600 to produce a photographic exhibition, Car Parks of the Gods, on forgotten places of historical significance in Leeds.
Dr Patrick Eyres, £750 to assist publication of On the Spot: The Red Books of Humphry Repton, landscape gardener.
Joanna Barnes, £500 towards the publication of a Festschrift in memory of art-historian, Benedict Read.

The Leeds City Museum

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

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