About us

The society is open to all who have an interest in Morley's heritage. There is a yearly subscription fee of £8.50 for members which is payable at the beginning of each session in September. One-off visits cost £2.00. A free newsletter is published for each meeting and, from time to time, other publications are made which are either free or at a favourable rate for members.

The Society was founded in 1966 after a series of very popular lectures by the father and son team, George and David Atkinson and they were leading lights in the Society for the rest of their lives. We are continuing to follow in their footsteps and many of the society functions, such as meeting format and excursions are based on the original ideas.

George Atkinson George Atkinson was Morley born and bred. At a time when secondary education choices were limited for poorer people, George had to obtain work in the Textile industry at an early age and this was to be the main means of his employ. However, he was always keen to learn and make contributions to the local society, mainly through the Friends or Quaker movement. The Amateur Dramatics section of this group became very popular in the 1930s and 40s and the extrovert side of George's nature was very suited to this and the presentation of talks on numerous subjects.
When he retired from Textiles he was able to devote a lot of time to Local History and he wrote a weekly series of articles on this for the Morley Advertiser over a period of 2 years. People still remember the lectures he gave on the subject and he had a wide network of friends.
In recognition for his services to the community he was awarded the MBE in 1980.

David Atkinson was the only son of George and Martha Atkinson and his parents were determined that he would benefit from the better educational opportunities that existed after World War 2.
David was dogged by ill-health all his life but his kindness, determination and intellect always shone through and he was able to go to University where he studied Geography and History. He then went on to become a teacher at Woodkirk Secondary School.
He wrote a number of books on the History of Morley and these were always very fully illustrated with photographs which he had colllected or inherited from his father and other folks around town who knew of his interest. He was, also, a keen photographer.
His house became like a minature museum and he left his collection of Morley artefacts to Leeds Libraries and Information Services. These have now been housed in Morley Public Library and many of the photos are on the Leodis website. At present, we are helping to catalogue this wonderful local resource.

The Society has always used the drawing to the left and the Borough Coat of Arms to show its feelings for the roots of the town.
This graphic is taken from a mid 19th century history of Morley by one of its most famous historians, William Smith and it shows a drawing of the Crank Mill, down Station Road.
This has special significance for the area because it was one of the very first steam-driven woollen textile mills to be constructed in this country.
The mill closed in 1980 but the building has been preserved, down Station Road, as a Grade 2 Listed Building.

So, our basic wish is to keep interest in Morley's Heritage alive in a friendly but proper setting - trying to keep a level-headed attitude to the relevance or importance of our findings and activities.  Some of us do give talks on our research and, from time to time, we are also able to make fuller length publications. Long may it continue.

© Morley Local History Society, 2018
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