This month Special Collections has received material that adds to our Leeds University Old Students’ Association (LUOSA) collection.

The material was donated by the dedicated Doreen Bayley, who helped to run LUOSA for over 50 years. Included in the collection are some very early membership records. These document some of the first students to join the London branch of the association and provide a fascinating insight into the membership of the association during its early years. Also included are committee records and secretary reports, the earliest dating from 1914. The London branch of the society became affiliated with the main association in 1924.

The branch’s events programme was varied.  The committee minutes and secretary’s report for 1938 record activities such as ice skating, rambling, theatre nights and museum trips. By 1951 membership had grown significantly and the secretary raised the question of needing assistance as the branch was ‘larger and demanding so many functions’. Held with the minutes are many photographs which provide a visual record of the association’s lively events programme. The London branch of the LUOSA association closed in 2015.

Paul Murray Thompson has kindly given us a copy of his ‘Matthew Murray 1765-1826 and the firm of Fenton Murray and Co. 1795-1844‘. Matthew Murray was a pioneering engineer. Originally from Newcastle, he established the Round Foundry in Holbeck, Leeds, where in 1812 he built the first practical steam locomotives, for use on the Middleton Railway in Hunslet.

Murray’s firm also made machine tools, marine steam engines and much else. His house Holbeck Lodge was heated by steam pipes and became known as Steam Hall. A thorough account of Matthew Murray was long overdue, and this substantial book should prove to be definitive.