Papers of Leeds Luncheon Club

Scope and Content

Comprises: (1) Administrative papers and correspondence of the Leeds Luncheon Club between 1938 and 2000, with fuller coverage of the years 1955-1986, including statements of the annual accounts, forms for the nomination of additional members, and printed brochures concerning some of the Lord Mayors and Lady Mayoresses of Leeds (Boxes 1-4); (2) An incomplete set of 43 annual reports of the Club from 1913/14-1945, 1956-1957, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, and 1977 (Box 5); and (3) 2 scrapbooks of press cuttings concerning the Club, the earlier from the year 1938, the later from the years 1939-1944, concentrating principally on the guest speakers and their respective speeches and on the obituaries of various members of the Club, with manuscript annotations of the sources of most of the cuttings and including press photographs (also Box 5).

Administrative / Biographical History

Leeds Luncheon Club was founded on 12 February 1913 at the initiative of Sir Michael Sadler, then the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, and Mr Walter Parsons, a prominent citizen of Leeds. The aim of the Club was to provide for men engaged in the business life of the city, and in its literary, scientific, commercial, social, and religious activities, opportunities for personal intercourse and for the discussion of matters of common interest, in a way probably not then accomplished in any other English town. At the Foundation Meeting of the Club, held in the University, it was decided that opinions on theological and political questions should not affect eligibility for membership; and that, in the choice of subjects suggested to or proposed by invited guest speakers of the Club, topics on which strong differences of opinion might exist among the members should not be excluded. The Club, therefore, through its elected Committee, extended hospitality to the representatives of various convictions, without in any degree committing members of the Club to an endorsement of the views expressed by its guests. Membership of the Club was by election by the existing members and at one time reached about 450. In its early days the Club usually met weekly on Mondays throughout the greater part of the year for luncheon from 1pm to 2pm and always included a half-hour speech on a chosen subject by a guest speaker, who was usually a prominent public figure. Latterly, the frequency of meetings was reduced to approximately monthly. Speakers included prime ministers of the day, senior churchmen, university professors, and experts in various fields of learning or work. The Club was always regarded as a good forum for the uninhibited expression of various points of view. Latterly, the University's representation in the membership declined, and in 1987 the Club considered its own future, but has remained in existence since then.

Access Information

Access is unrestricted.

Acquisition Information

The gift of the Club via Geoffrey Whitehead, Acting Treasurer, 7 April 2004.


In English.

Corporate Names