The Thoresby Society is the historical society for Leeds and its surrounding area and is open to everyone interested in the city’s rich past and its development over the centuries. It has a long-established library and archive collection, including historical records, maps, newspapers, and images, provides a varied programme of monthly talks and summer excursions, and publishes original research on aspects of Leeds history in its highly regarded annual publication (free to members).

The Society was named after Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725), the first historian of Leeds. It was founded in 1889 to encourage and foster an interest in the history of Leeds and its area, to support and publish relevant research, and to collect and preserve material from the past. Today it continues to welcome new members with an interest in local history, and its collections and lectures are open to the public.

The Society is based in the historic Leeds Library, an independent library founded in 1768, in Commercial Street, Leeds LS1 6AL, in the heart of the city. The Society’s library and archive collection is located here, and members are welcome to use the library and the facilities of the Leeds Library, which is open every weekday and Saturday mornings.

You will find more about the Society’s library and opening hours, its programme of activities, and its publications, as well as a wide range of information on Leeds history, by exploring the topics listed on the left, where you will also find details of membership and how to join the Society.

The Thoresby Society is a member of the Centre for Heritage Research based at Leeds University