Blog

Content warning: the following post contains description of the inhumane killing and burial practices at the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, as part of the Holocaust. This post continues our series from students on ‘Death, Dying and the Dead’, an MA history module at the University of Leeds. This post, by Stephanie Bennett,...

Writing about the dead is a compelling way to remember. Capturing a person’s character, their likes and dislikes, their stories and memories on paper – or online – feels like a good way to remember them as an individual. This can take so many forms, from a notice or obituary...

This is the first post after a loooong time. Parental leave and then a pandemic don’t lead to blogging it seems. But here’s a new year, if a strange one, and a chance to get this blog back up and running. I’ll be writing on this blog about families’ remembrance...

Our final post in our series of blog posts from MA students turns our attention to another pioneering woman, Violet Van der Elst, in this piece from Joe. By Joe Tollington, MA Student, University of Leeds On the 16th April, 1935, a pristine black Rolls Royce pushed its way through a thick...

This week’s post turns our attention to a pioneer in changing medical treatment for the dying, Cicely Saunders, in Ruby’s contribution to our series of blog posts from MA students.  By Ruby Lucas, MA Student, University of Leeds As the rather dramatic title of her biography, ‘Changing the Face of...

This week, we continue the focus on spiritualism, in our series of blog posts from MA students with this contribution from Yulia. By Yulia Volkovaya  The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw increasing interest in all things spiritual: from accounts claiming communication with ghosts, to public séance performances. The idea...

Continuing our series of posts from students on module entitled ‘Death, Dying and the Dead in Twentieth-Century Britain’, Claire writes the use of poetry in memory of the Aberfan disaster. By Claire Turner, MA Student, University of Leeds Deathscapes, or landscapes associated with death and dying, are becoming a popular...

Continuing our series of posts from students on module entitled ‘Death, Dying and the Dead in Twentieth-Century Britain’, Susy writes about her own family history, and a poem she thinks captures the memory of her grandfather and his brother. By Susy Goldstone, MA Student, University of Leeds I was not fortunate...

As part of a module entitled ‘Death, Dying and the Dead in Twentieth-Century Britain’, some of my MA students have written blog posts about different aspects of death and dying in this period. I’ll be publishing these here fortnightly, and we start with Debra Kontowtt’s fascinating post about a special...

After something of an unintended blogging hiatus – the end of project funding and being back into teaching is to blame – we’ve had good news. As part of the ongoing collaboration with the Grief Series, this spring will see us welcome a group of artists from the Faro de...

On World Aids Day, 1st December 2018, we hosted an event to think about remembrance of those affected by the disease. We were delighted to welcome Professor Matt Cook of Birkbeck, University of London, and Ross Horsley, of the West Yorkshire Queer Stories project, to speak about their research. Both reflected on the...

‘Your generosity can change lives’, promises the Red Cross, as its website suggests the reader ‘Leave a gift in your will’. Up until last week, I hadn’t realised how important legacy giving was to charities. Cancer Research UK, for example, relies on legacies for about a third of its income....

Jessica Hammett (University of Leeds) with Ellie Harrison (The Grief Series) This blog post is about how we care for our participants and how we care for ourselves when we do public engagement work, especially when we are researching difficult topics; in the case of this project death, grief and...

A guest blog from Patrick Bourne, with thanks to the Leeds Jewish Representative Council, the United Hebrew Congregation, Leeds and the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol Synagogue for providing information Along with the Irish, the largest migrant community in early twentieth century Leeds were Jews, many of whom had fled persecution in...

A guest blog from Carolyn Huston, a member of our family historians group  My garden here in Leeds is the place that I spend a lot of leisure time enjoying. Gardening has always given me pleasure and it has always been the place I go to drown my sorrows. An...

Following our workshop on collaboration – between family historians, academic historians, archivists, librarians and many others – on Saturday 14 July, one of our speakers, Mike Esbester (University of Portsmouth), reflects on what he got out of the day. Mike gave a talk on ‘Crowd-sourcing, family history & the British railway accident:...

A guest blog by David Selway (Cardiff University) David gave a talk on his research as part of the events programme associated with our ‘Remembrance’ exhibition at Abbey House Museum. Listen to the talk here and read more about his research below.   In the winter of 2015, a week before Christmas,...

A guest post from Satwant Rait, with thanks to the Sikh Elders Service for their contributions to discussions on Sikh remembrance There is no Sikh religious dictate in terms dressing up, but there is a Punjabi cultural tradition of wearing a suit and in Sikh tradition the mourning colour is white. Almost...

During June, the ‘Living with Dying’ project are going on a Journey with Absent Friends with artist Ellie Harrison and ‘Team Grief’. In an ordinary, domestic caravan, we’ll be travelling from Leeds, to Oxford, Poole, Hamburg, Stockton and the Isle of Arran, to think about where the memories of the dead...

A guest blog from Amanda Reed  My name’s Amanda Reed – my maiden name is Cunningham. I was born in 1964 in the Armley area of Leeds and I’m an English Gypsy. I’ve researched my family tree back to the 1700s.  I’ve collected objects, photographs and documents relating to my family...

A guest blog from Janet Coles  My maternal grandmother, Emily Maria Gaskin, was born in 1884 in London and died in York in 1956. She is the only grandparent I can remember and I was her only grandchild; though she died when I was seven, I have several fond memories...

Our exhibition Remembrance will open at Abbey House Museum on Saturday 3 March. The exhibition includes objects which have been used to remember loved ones since the Victorian period and up to the present day. Some of these were mass produced, or reflect widespread mourning rituals and practices. But people have also...

A guest blog from Janet Coles  The silver vesta case belonged to my maternal grandmother, Emily Maria Gaskin, who was born in London in 1884 and died in York in 1956. Even sixty years later it reminds me of the happy times we spent together. Although I was only seven when she died, it clearly brings back the image I have of her: a tall, quiet, very elegant woman....

Laura King, University of Leeds Part of the Living with Dying project has involved working with a lovely group of family historians. They’ve been researching their family histories and we’ve been supporting them with some training – and lots of chatting over tea and biscuits! In turn, they’ve been generously...

The case of Suzie Lee and her family Laura King, University of Leeds The objects we own and keep can play a really significant role in helping us remember and keep with us loved ones who have died. But what if you were constantly on the move? For Gypsy and...

A Guest Blog from Maureen Jessop ‘What’s tha doing round there?’ came the voice from the worn brown leather chair. This was a question my brothers and I heard every time we visited our grandparents. The voice was grandad’s. The sin was going too close to the sideboard. The sideboard was...

A Guest Blog from Marie Songhurst This writing case belonged to my mother – Ethel Mary Tee (Mayhew). I believe the writing case was a birthday or Christmas Present given to her during the 1930s. Mum was born in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire the day before Armistice was declared in 1918,...

The case of the Lupton Family of Leeds Laura King, University of Leeds Across different cultures, in different places and different times, objects of various types have been used to help us remember those who have died. In some cases, this means the creation of specific things to keep that...

A guest blog from Paul Cave When I was a child, my favourite thing in the world was to draw. “I don’t know where you get it from” my parents would say as I bombarded them with sketches to critique (I’m sure they wished at times that I hadn’t got...

A guest blog from Sarah Sykes I always knew that my maternal grandfather, David Leslie Noble, was the son of a Nottinghamshire farmer, but didn’t know much about that side of the family. My grandfather joined the army as a young man and then had a long career in the...

Laura King, University of Leeds What objects do you hold on to because they remind you of someone you’ve lost? Where do those memories of the deceased live? What kind of things do we do to keep their memories alive? Last week saw the annual Mexican Día de los Muertos,...