Leeds University Library

A year of Treasures

Published Monday 6 February 2017

Smiling Head of Special Collections and Head of National Archives hold accreditation certificate

Treasures of the Brotherton gallery celebrates first birthday

The Treasures of the Brotherton gallery celebrates its first birthday this February.
The gallery is billed as the university's 'gateway' to over 200,000 rare books, manuscripts and objects housed in Special Collections. In its first year the team have welcomed more than 20,000 visitors.

In November, the University's Special Collections was awarded Accredited Archive Service status by The National Archives. As part of the gallery's birthday celebrations, Keith Sweetmore from the National Archives presented Special Collections with their official certificate.

He said, "This award celebrates the achievement of the University in managing and caring for its archive collections.  It recognises the work of everyone, from senior managers to team members and volunteers, in opening up these collections for use and enjoyment by staff and students, as well as by the wider community in Leeds and further afield.

"The new Treasures Gallery offers exciting opportunities to bring the benefits of this work to new and wider audiences."

The gallery has hosted over 70 public events throughout the year including theatre, music, talks, hands on sessions and crafts. During an exhibition, the gallery will display around 100 items in its Parkinson Building base.

The gallery provides visitors with a taste of the vast collection of rarities held at the university. The team hope to encourage more people to research their interests further in the Special Collections facility in the Brotherton Library.

Stella Butler, University of Leeds Librarian said, "The Treasures gallery has provided the University with a showcase for the rich research resources held in the Library's Special Collections. It has also provided spaces where conversations about treasures and research around them can be shared with a wide range of audiences.

"I am incredibly proud of the gallery's success which could not have been achieved without the commitment of Library staff working with academic colleagues."
Special Collections at the University of Leeds is the only institution to have five collections Designated by Arts Council England as nationally or internationally significant.

They are all shown in the gallery:
  • English Literature Collection
  • Cookery Collection
  • Romany Collection
  • Leeds Russian Archive
  • Liddle Collection
Over the year visitors were asked to comment on what they got from their visit:

'A more rounded appreciation of what University of Leeds has to offer culturally to visitors.'

'Just looking at this wonderful set of books and manuscripts is very uplifting. It's all like saying hello to an old friend.'

'Lovely books on display, we got to see so few beautifully produced books nowadays. The fact that they are mostly hand produced makes them timeless for me.'

'An insight into the literary treasures held by the Brotherton.'

'I didn't know that the University of Leeds had such a rich collection of historical material!'

'Fascinating works and a good way to spend an afternoon. Will come again.'

View photos from the celebration event. 

Check out the Storify link for #AYearOfTreasures social media coverage.

Entrance is free to the Treasures of Brotherton and The Stanley & Audrey Burton Galleries and exhibitions are renewed up to three times per year.  

Events take place throughout the year.