Records of Bradford Friends Essay and Discussion Society

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1874-1918 (5 vols.) [N 113-117]; including annual reports and programmes

Administrative / Biographical History

An Essay and Discussion Society was set up by Friends in Bradford in September 1874, with Henry Rowntree appointed as first president and Arthur Priestman as secretary. It superseded the Bradford Friends Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society. The society initially had 12 members, but this increased to around 50 during its first few years. Meetings were opened and closed by readings from scripture. Essays were presented and debates held on varied historical, scientific, literary and political topics. Social events, including musical recitals and drama, were later introduced into the programme in an attempt to attract members. Robert Long, secretary of the newly formed Northern Friends Peace Board, opened a debate on 'a quaker foreign policy and the war' in October 1914. During the war, the society saw declining attendance and was run almost entirely by women Friends. In April 1918, members resolved to continue the society, but only on an ad hoc basis, rather than with a formal monthly programme. There are no surviving minutes after this date.


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 Bradford Preparative Meeting, Bradford Friends Literary Association and Bradford Friends Young Men's Mutual Improvement Society

Additional Information

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