Wortley historian launches new dictionary of Leeds


Words: Elizabeth Bee

A Wortley resident has produced a biographical dictionary featuring more than 900 Leeds men and women throughout history.

Dr David Thornton is one of the city’s leading historians and has published more than a dozen books on Leeds history, including a number of publications specifically for children.

In 2013 he published Leeds – a Historical Dictionary of People, Places and Events, which has become a key reference work for all those interested in learning more on the history of the city.

Now he has produced Leeds – A Biographical Dictionary, with more than 900 biographies of Leeds men and women in history right through to the present day. It is the first such comprehensive work for over 150 years.

Dr Thornton said:

“Throughout my years as a researcher and writer on Leeds history I have been struck by the definitive reference books pulling together key information on the city in an accessible format.

“There have been many important books on Leeds, both on the city generally and on different facets of its history, but there has always been a need for reference works organised on a systematic basis.

“If such reference works exist they encourage historians, researchers, writers and those with enthusiasm for the city’s history to go further and to produce more detailed publications which in turn benefit everyone.

“Given my frustration it seemed that the best thing I could do was to produce such books myself! However, doing so is not a quick task – the biographical dictionary being published today took eight years – but my hope is that those who use the book will believe the time has been well spent. “

It is being launched this Monday, 25 January 2021 at 1pm, via a Zoom meeting organised by Leeds’ long established local history body, the Thoresby Society. For the Zoom link, e-mail a.slomson@leeds.ac.uk.

The book can be bought here.


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