The Library and Archive Collection

Hon. Librarian: Patrick Gillett

The Society possesses a unique collection of material concerned with the history of Leeds, built up over the 100 and more years of its existence. The collection includes books and pamphlets, newspapers, maps and plans, pictures and photographs, manuscripts and original documents. The partnership with the Leeds Library has created an extensive historical resource, which is open to the Society’s members, and to the public for research purposes.

Access for members: Members are welcome to visit the Society’s library during the Leeds Library’s opening hours (see below) and to make use of the facilities of this historic building. To gain admittance ring the bell and say you are a Thoresby Society member.

Borrowing books: the cataloguing of the Society’s library is not yet complete, but members are able to borrow all our books that are already on the Leeds Library’s online catalogue, with the exception of those over 100 years old and some other volumes designated for reference only. To access the online catalogue follow the link

If you wish to borrow a book which does not yet appear in the catalogue, please send an email to so that we can check whether the book is available. If it is, we can arrange for it to be added to the catalogue and then it can be borrowed unless designated for reference only. This should only take a few days.

Visitors who are not members are welcome to browse and read but are not able to borrow.

Access to archives, maps and images: members and researchers will need to make an appointment by sending an email to As much notice as possible should be given, preferably at least a week. Catalogues for these resources are not yet available online, but brief information on the Society’s MS archives can be found on the National Archive Discovery database.

The normal opening hours of the Leeds Library are:

Monday:         10am - 6.00pm
Tuesday:         10am - 6.00pm
Wednesday:    10am - 6.00pm
Thursday:        10am - 7.00pm
Friday:            10am - 5.00pm
Saturday:        10am - 4.00pm
Sunday:          CLOSED

Please check their website for changes to these times, for example, on Bank Holidays or during lockdowns.