This month Special Collections received a transfer of glass plate slides from the University’s Print and Copy Bureau. Staff at the Bureau have worked closely with Special Collections staff over the last few years, helping to produce some of the exhibition panels on display in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery. The collection of glass plate slides contains some wonderful images of early University life, with images of Halls of Residence, students and campus development, dating from the early years of the 20th century. Further investigation work is being carried out by the Special Collections team to identify and catalogue the images.

Kirkstall Abbey
Kirkstall Abbey east end from the Godfrey Bingley Photographic Archive. Image credit Leeds University Library.

One unexpected find amongst the collection was a selection of Godfrey Bingley slides. Bingley was born in Leeds in 1849. He worked as an engineer at Harper Street Foundry, Leeds, with his Uncle John Bingley and later lived on Headingley Lane, not far from the University campus. Bingley photographed extensively from 1884 and took images of many scenes in Yorkshire, including Fountains Abbey, Kirkstall Abbey and Scarborough. The collection also includes images of views in the rest of the UK and across Europe. Bingley continued his photography until 1913 when failing eyesight meant he had to stop.

Special Collections already holds the Godfrey Bingley Collection. The slides from the Print and Copy bureau fill in a few gaps in the Bingley sequence. Over the last few years the Digitisation Team has been digitising the many slides in the Bingley archive. The slides from the Print and Copy Bureau have now also been digitised and made available for researchers on the Special Collections website.Fountains Abbey

The cellarium in Fountains Abbey from the Godfrey Bingley Photographic Archive.  Image credit Leeds University Library.We also received an interesting new accrual to our Phoenix Dance Theatre collection in January.  The Phoenix Dance Company was formed in 1981 by David Hamilton, Donald Edwards and Vilmore James.  The trio’s enthusiasm for dance had been ignited at school by tuition from John Auty and Nadine Senior.  Phoenix’s innovative approach to contemporary dance quickly gained them popularity in Leeds and beyond.

The new accrual includes programmes from 2002-2006 when Dharsan Singh Bhuller was the Artistic Director of the company.  Immediately after his appointment Bhuller rebranded the company as Phoenix Dance Theatre.  Under his direction the dance theatre became a multi-cultural venture.  It started to perform in large scale venues most of the time and undertook a successful international tour to the US in 2006.  That year, under Javier de Frutos’ direction, Phoenix’s excellence in professional dance was recognised when it won the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Modern Repertoire.

The new material also includes a folder of reviews of performances by Phoenix Dance during the 1980s.