The Council presents its report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2019. 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. 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 6 December 2018 Professor G E Blair and Mr I W Smith were elected to Council; Mrs E Bradford, Ms J Douglas, Professor C Taylor and Mrs M Temple 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 10 January 2019, Dr Hatton was re-elected as President, Dr Lydon as Secretary, Professor Taylor as Treasurer, and Professor Blair was elected as Vice-President.

Council met on six occasions during 2018-2019 in the Civic Hall. Parts of its business were delegated to the following committees: Grants, Events, Exhibition and Museums, chaired respectively by Dr Hatton, Dr Lydon, Mrs Temple 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. Mrs Sue Clarke, as the newly appointed Assistant Treasurer, administered the day-to-day financial transactions of the Society including applications for membership.

During the course of the 2018/19 year, the Society lost 12 members (through death & resignations) and gained 12 new members; at the end of September membership totalled 148 including an associate member.


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 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.

The Society’s Bicentenary

The Calendar year 2019 marked the Society’s bicentenary and a series of events to celebrate this achievement took place. These are listed below and reports of those taking place this calendar year will be included in the 2019 Annual Review.

Exhibition: Three separate, sequential displays illustrating (i) the early years of the Society (ii) the Society’s contribution to Science during its 200 year history and (iii) the corresponding contribution to the Arts, took place in the foyer of the Leeds Library.

Martin and Synge Plaque: A plaque was placed on the gatepost of the original WIRA building
on Headingley Lane to commemorate the scientific achievements of these two Nobel laureates.
The unveiling took place on 11 June.

Conference: A day conference to explore the origins of the Phil. and Lit. movement and the early history of the Society took place in the Leeds City Museum on 19 October.

Dinner: A dinner celebrating the Society’s history and its links with the city, the universities and the various societies it had spawned took place on 1 November.



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 from January to May took place in the afternoon in the City Museum. The other meetings were held at University House. Events marked * were related to the bicentenary.
The following events took place:

• Ryan Matthew. Surgeons that Manhandle Pipettes.
• Priestley Lecture. Joe Williams. Wilson Armistead (1819-1868) – a story of Religion and Activism in Leeds.
• Annual General Meeting and dinner at University House. After-dinner entertainment: The Leeds Waits.
• Penny Wainwright. The Chas. F Thackray Company.
• Annual Science Fair in the Leeds City Museum.
• Steven Burt. Leeds at the birth of the LPLS.*
• Dr Rebecca Wade. From the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society to the Leeds Sculpture Collections: Portraits, Patrons and Presidents*
• Col. Alan Roberts, OBE. Restoring People: Innovations and Possibilities in Medicine
• Martin & Synge plaque unveiling, Headingley Lane*
• Kersten Hall. “In Praise of Wool”: Archer Martin, Richard Synge & the blobs that won Leeds a Nobel Prize.*
• Summer Outing. A visit to Sheffield Assay Office and Kelham Island Museum.
• Professor Alan Watson, FRS. The Growth of Large Collaborations in Science.*
• LPLS Bicentenary Conference in the Leeds City Museum*


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

• Mrs Sylvia Craven, £600 to support the design and layout of a book describing the history of Leeds Teaching Hospitals medical and surgical specialities over the last 250 years.
• Philip Radcliffe, £500 to support ‘150 Singing Skills’, a 10 week technical skills development programme to improve the skills of new, often younger recruits; part of the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus 150th Anniversary Appeal.
• Carry Franklin, £850 towards the installation of 10 Leeds Little Free Libraries in areas of deprivation across the city.
• Tajpal Rathore, £500 to support ‘Whoever heard of a black artist?’, an innovative form of participatory theatre exploring the historical-political context of black art.
• Clare Brown on behalf of Leeds Museums, £5000 towards the articulation of Leeds’s Long-finned Pilot Whale.
• Liz Jeffery, £500 to support Headingley Festival of Ideas
• Dr Rebecca Wade on behalf of Leeds Art Fund, £500 to support the restoration and reinstatement of the missing figure of ‘Industry’ to the Victoria Memorial, Woodhouse Moor on the condition that the appeal to other agencies is successful.
• Peter Spafford, £400 to support a performance piece based on the story of Antony Gormley’s discarded Brick Man statue.
• Katie Pearce on behalf of West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, £1000 to support a semi-staged production of Cavalleria Rusticana at Sunny Bank Mills.
• Dr Stephen Muir, £800 to support the orchestral premiere of Rudi Leavor’s Cantata ‘Enosh’ at Left Bank Leeds.
• Prof. Sheena Radford, £750 to support the public lecture by Nobel Laureate, Richard Henderson in Leeds, March 2020
• David Ward, £600 to support the Leeds Opera Festival 2019
• Dr Bryan White, £300 towards the publication costs of a festschrift celebrating the work of Peter Holman MBE.
• Matthew Bellwood on behalf of Moveable Feast Productions Ltd, £450 to print a picture book about the Drayman statue in Dortmund Square – a story by children from Beechwood Primary School in Seacroft.

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. 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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