Leeds University Library

New Treasures Gallery opens

Published Monday 1 February 2016

Couple embracing in garden by castle

Explore the treasures of Special Collections in a new gallery off Parkinson Court

The new Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery is now open in Parkinson Court, providing a public display of the rich collection of rare manuscripts, books and artefacts from Leeds University Library's Special Collections.

Travel through the ages and see a 4,500-year-old Babylonian clay tablet, William Shakespeare's 1623 first folio, a draft manuscript in the hand of a 14-year-old Felix Mendelssohn and a map and compass used by Bertie Ratcliffe, the first prisoner to escape back to Britain from Germany during the First World War.

Dr Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, said: "There really is something for everyone in this exciting new gallery and we're very proud to share these treasures with our visitors. We believe that, whatever their background and interests, they will find something to enjoy in this stunning setting."

The new gallery also includes a temporary exhibition space that will enable the University to uncover the rich stories locked up in its collections, helping bring to life important anniversaries and events. The first exhibition,On Conscientious Grounds: Objection and Resistance in the First World War, will mark the centenary of the introduction of conscription in Britain, exploring what happened when able-bodied men refused to fight for their country.

The gallery has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players - a grant of almost £1.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a generous private donation from the Brotherton-Ratcliffe family have supported the University in showcasing the treasures.

Get involved

Admission is free so pop in and have a look 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday and 1-5pm on Monday.

The Gallery will also be running a varied programme of public events from "show-and-tell" sessions to bookbinding demonstrations.

Look out for exciting volunteering opportunities covering everything from conservation to digital projects and public engagement.

Keep up to date with all news, events and announcements from the Gallery on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.