The Thoresby Society is the principal historical society for Leeds and its neighbourhood. It is named after Ralph Thoresby (1658-1725), the first historian of the town and a pioneer in the field of local history.

What are its aims?

The Society seeks to :-

promote interest in and to encourage research into the history of Leeds and its neighbourhood.
collect and make available books, documents and other material for this purpose.
publish annually articles, monographs and documents on a wide range of topics of local historical interest.

Where is it located?

The Society has recently moved from its former premises at Claremont on Clarendon Road (which are now closed) to the Leeds Library at 18 Commercial Street, Leeds LS1 6AL. The Society's Library has now re-opened and is available for members and visitors to use during the working hours of the Leeds Library, currently:

Monday - Wednesday 10.00 to 6pm
Thursday                     10.00 to 7pm
Friday                          10.00 to 5pm
Saturday                      10.00 to 4pm
Sunday                        Closed

The Leeds Library is situated in the town centre. A map showing its location can be found on: in the contact/visit section.

What are the benefits of Membership?

Membership of the Society entitles you to:-

  • borrow books from the Society's Library and view items from its extensive collection of manuscripts, images, maps and other       archive materials, now located within the historic surroundings of the Leeds Library.
  • receive the annual publication of the Society free of charge.
  • join excursions to places of historical interest in the Leeds district.
  • attend lectures organised during the winter months (these are also open to the general public).

  • When and where are lectures held?

    Lectures are usually held in The Leeds Library, 18 Commercial Street, Leeds, LS1 6AL.. Lectures usually take place on Mondays and begin at 18:30.

    How much does it cost to join?

    The annual subscriptions are:-

    • Individual Members     £30
    • Joint Members             £45  
    • Full time Students        £20  


    How do I join?

    The Society welcomes new members. If you would like to join, please complete the membership form. Subscriptions are payable when you join and then on 1 January each subsequent year. However, if you join the Society on or after 1 September, your subscription will cover your membership for both the current and the following year and you will not need to pay again until January up to sixteen months later. As the Society's annual publication is normally distributed towards the end of the year, this means that you will usually receive two publications for the same subscription.

    The application form includes information about standing orders and Gift Aid. It would help the Society both administratively and financially if you could arrange to pay future subscriptions by standing order, and complete a Gift Aid declaration which enables the Society to reclaim the tax on subscriptions in defined circumstances.

    When we receive your application we will contact you with details of the Society’s current activities and access arrangements for the Library.

    Should a member fail to pay their subscription within a reasonable time after the due date, the Society will aim to send out up to three reminder letters or emails during the course of the subscription year. During this period, information about the Society's activities will continue to be circulated, but if by the end of the year the subscription remains unpaid, membership will be terminated.

    Membership Enquiries