Leeds University Library

Saved From The Russian Revolution

Published 14 February 2017

Leeds Russian Archive objects on display

A small display of jewellery, textiles and precious items from the Leeds Russian Archive to commemorate the centenary of the 1917 - 18 Russian Revolution.

11 February - 10 June 2017

The items on display here were owned by Katherine Lunn (1884-1956) and some of them were her wedding presents. 

Katherine's grandfather Michael Lunn (1820-1895) was born in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield and began working in a cotton mill at the age of 8. He later worked in Manchester before his involvement in Chartism led him to look for employment abroad. In 1847, while resident in Leeds, Michael Lunn signed his first contract to manage a cotton mill near Moscow. In 1850 he began managing the cotton mill in Balashikha outside Moscow and he remained there for the rest of his life, eventually becoming a shareholder and managing director. He and his very large family were prominent members of the Moscow British community.

Katherine Lunn married a school teacher, James Ford Smith (1877-1949), in Bowdon, Cheshire, in 1907. He later became headmaster of Market Bosworth grammar school. On a family visit to Balashikha in 1912 Katherine collected the wedding presents and other personal possessions that were waiting for her there. As a result they were not lost during the Russian Revolution like almost everything else the Lunn family owned.

This display complements the Caught in the Russian Revolution exhibition at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery. The exhibition explores the experiences of the British Community living in Petrograd around the time of the Russian Revolution. The exhibition opens 1 March.