Mystery images from Leeds' community archives under the spotlight to share hidden histories

A photographic archive capturing thousands of faces from Leeds’s community past has issued a call for heritage researchers to identify who they may be.

A.Woodcock, fruiterer and florist. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net
A.Woodcock, fruiterer and florist. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net

The city’s local history team holds images from important events in Leeds’s history, from primary school swimming galas to carnival days and jazz concerts in the 1930s.

Now a selection of the most intriguing images have been chosen under a heritage detectives project from Leeds Libraries to find out more about the stories they may tell.

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These include images from group shots of factory workers to community events, street scenes, shops, and celebrations, and will feature on the libraries’ Leodis website, a history research archive with 62,000 images from the 1860s onwards.

Hepworths Ltd staff with the 1974 Football League trophy. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net

Already, around 40,000 public comments are featured on the website, which helps the team uncover the stories behind each picture.

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Andrea Ellison, chief librarian at Leeds Libraries, said: “Comments provide a way for people who have lived in Leeds or visited the city to contribute their own experiences to the historical record; creating a rich tapestry of voices not always heard in conventional accounts of the past.”

Coun Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “Leodis is a vital local and social history resource for our city.

Ada Stone delivering milk, 1942. Location unknown. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net

"We hope that the public will continue to share memories and get involved in the amazing work Leeds Libraries do to preserve the city’s collective memory for future generations.”

The images can be found at leodis.net/CanYouHelp.

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The Blue Aces Jazz Band, circa 1930s. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net
Sikh Centre, Chapeltown Road, community lunch. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net
Leeds West Indian Carnival, students from CHALCS. Copyright Leeds Libraries, Leodis.net