LITTLE-KNOWN treasures from a Leeds library will be revealed to a wider audience thanks to a grant of £1.3m.
Leeds University has today received the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the most of its huge collection of internationally important rare manuscripts, photographs and books.
The university is expecting work to start next spring on two new climate-controlled public galleries in its Parkinson building to showcase some of the 200,000 books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts.
The ‘Treasures of the Brotherton’ galleries should be open by November next year.
Planned displays will include items from the Liddle Collection of First World War material, which includes diaries and personal effects of hundreds of people.
A special exhibition from the Russian Archive is also planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1917 revolution.
University Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “We are incredibly proud of our Library with its special collections of international importance which have been built up over the past century.
“I am delighted that this grant will allow us to bring these ‘treasures’ to a much wider audience.”
The total cost of the project is £1.9m and included a significant contribution from the Brotherton-Ratcliffe family.
A university spokesman said library staff would be working to encourage a wide audience to visit the new galleries. Up to 7,000 school pupils are expected through the doors each year.
Volunteers, both students and members of the public, will be sought to work in areas including conservation and research.
Another Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.8m for Wakefield Cathedral will pay for the repair of the medieval quire (seating area) and Edwardian East End of the Grade I-listed building.
Lighting, underfloor heating and display cases will be installed to enable visitors to view cathedral artefacts.
Drama and storytelling events will also encourage more people to visit the cathedral.
The Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield, said: “The previous work in the nave has allowed us to open up the building to the whole community. This new project will revive and renew the historic heart of the cathedral, and produce a building of which Wakefield and the whole region can be really proud.”
*** four Heritage Lottery Grants announced today will benefit Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley and Sheffield.
The grants were awarded to projects which will reveal “Yorkshire’s hidden treasures”, according to a spokesman for the HLF.
Leeds University boasts one of the finest collections of rare books and manuscripts in the world.
The breadth of subjects ranges from photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia to books dating from the dawn of printing. The grant will pay for new galleries and allow a programme of workshops, talks and other activities.