Records of Leeds Peace Association of the Society of Friends

Scope and Content

Minutes of committee meetings, 1842, 1851-1861(2 vols.) [KK 5/1-5/2]; including interleaved press cuttings, reports of meetings, annual reports, correspondence with the Peace Society and others, handbills etc.

Administrative / Biographical History

In October 1842, a group of Friends in Leeds, 'holding to the doctrine of the unlawfulness of all war under the gospel', formed the Leeds Peace Association. This was a local branch of the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace (the Peace Society). The first secretaries were Thomas Harvey and Wilson Waterfall, and its treasurer Joseph Walker. Membership remained small and its impact limited until 1851, when the first non-Quakers joined the committee, and activities were broadened beyond distributing peace literature. Allott describes how 'in the next ten years the Association created an informed public opinion in Leeds on war and foreign affairs'. The Association campaigned against the Militia Bill, and organised protests against the various colonial and other wars pursued by the British during that decade. These included the Kaffir War in South Africa of 1850-1852, the second Burma War of 1852, the Crimean War, the Persian War of 1856-1857, the Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858, the bombardment of Canton and the subsequent war with China, 1856-1860. Its members also particpated in the Arbitration and Peace Conference in Manchester in 1853. One of the Association's great events was in January 1855, when Richard Cobden, MP for the West Riding, addressed 1000s of people at an open-air public meeting in Leeds and condemned the war with Russia. The Association was active until at least late 1861.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House

Access Information

The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old

Acquisition Information

The collection of archives of the Society of Friends formerly held at the Friends Meeting House at Carlton Hill, Leeds


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 99, "Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting house, Carlton Hill, Leeds", 2nd edition, 1997

Conditions Governing Use

As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian

Related Material

Related material in Leeds University Library: Records of Leeds: Carlton Hill Preparative Meeting. Related material in other repositories: Records of the Peace Society, in possession of Mr C.R. Dunnico; Records of Doncaster Auxiliary of the London Peace Society, Doncaster Archives


W. Allott, "Leeds Quaker Meeting", in Thoresby Society Miscellany, vol.L, 1966, pp.51-56; P. Brock, Pacifism in Europe to 1914 (Princeton University Press, 1972), pp.346-347

Additional Information

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends