New Leeds gallery that holds rare Shakespeare items hosts more than 1,000 visitors in its first fortnight

LULB 50By Hannah Bennett

A collection of rare historical items have gone on display in the Leeds University gallery for the first time.

The special collection includes a rare copy of William Shakespeare’s first folio, medieval manuscripts and a map and compass used by the first prisoner to escape back to Britain from Germany in the First World War.

The gallery, known as Treasures of Brotherton, has been planned since 2012.

Organisers say as the gallery has a wide selection of historical and unique objects going on display they will be changed regularly for visitors, but will depend upon how fragile the different objects are.

DL_0136_Bunin_001Dr Stella Butler, keeper of the Brotherton collection, said: “Since we opened on February 1 it’s been absolutely fantastic, we’ve had lots of folks through the door.

“We’ve had a mixture of people from parents, students and students from outside the university coming to visit.”

The gallery was funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund and is free for the public to explore.

Laura Beare, marketing and gallery officer, said: “It’s really exciting to see the gallery opening.

“It’s been a good mixture of people visiting which is what we were aiming for and we’ve had around 200 visitors a day which is great for weekdays.

“My favourite on display is the Nobel prize for Literature of Ivan Bunin from 1933.”

The collection also includes:

  • Archives set up in 1977 to preserve the records of the University of Leeds, including a collection of drawings and photographs giving an insight into the campus development.
  • English literature including printed books which formed a significant part of the original collection of Lord Brotherton, presented to the Library in 1936.
  • Romany items which got its origins in a collection assembled privately by Mrs D. U. McGrigor Phillips. It was presented by her to Leeds University Library in 1950.

Plans are also in place for a future exhibition in August 2016 that will explore the relationship between Yorkshire and William Shakespeare, marking the 400th anniversary of his death.

The gallery is based in the Parkinson Building of Leeds University and the opening hours are Monday 1pm to 5pm and Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.


The exhibition explores what happened when able-bodied men refused to fight in the First World War.

This thought-provoking exhibition presents the first-hand experience of the men and their families and friends, through letters, artwork, diaries, postcards and personal items.

The political background to their beliefs is shown through Government documents introducing conscription and the reaction to it from pacifist organisations.

The exhibition also details the various wartime roles available to conscientious objectors which offered ways of serving their country during wartime that did not involve fighting.


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