The Library at the University of Leeds has been awarded a grant of £1,385,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards their project “Treasures from the Brotherton: Inspiring Audiences and Engaging Communities” – a project to create an exhibition gallery to showcase their collections to the public. The grant will be matched by a substantial donation by the Brotherton-Ratcliffe family which ensures the capital costs are fully funded.

The new exhibition gallery will house a permanent display of major Library treasures and a changing series of temporary exhibitions exploring different aspects of the collections.

These display spaces will enable access for all to these items, and creates new opportunities for visitors to engage with the outstanding collections, through workshops, talks, meet the curator sessions and school and family activities. Visitors will also be able to play an active role in the selection and development of displays.

University Librarian, Dr Stella Butler, said: “We are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to the John Brotherton-Ratcliffe Trust for recognising the transformative effect  this project will have on our ability to develop new audiences for Special Collections. I congratulate all the staff who have been involved in putting together the bid- it’s an important milestone for the Library”.

The library has internationally significant collections of rare books and manuscripts which have the potential to enrich audiences’ understanding of the past and inspire creativity for the future. Exhibits will include:

  • Illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printed books
  • items from our cookery collections including a first edition of “Mrs Beeton’s book of Household Management”, and a unique Tudor collection of recipes “The boke of cookry”
  • exquisite photographs from pre-revolutionary Russia
  • a Shakespeare First Folio, an icon of English literature
  • recollections, diaries, letters and photographs from individuals at home and at the front during the First World War
  • manuscripts from the pens of  Graham Greene and Oscar Wilde
  • archives of modern poets including Tony Harrison and Simon Armitage.

The total cost of the project will be £1.9 million.


Further information:

Leeds University Library is one of the major academic research libraries of the UK, attracting students and scholars from around the world to its rich and extensive print, online and manuscript collections gathered during its 100-year history. For further information visit:

Top image courtesy of Leeds University Library