The 2015 series of Mint Yard lectures is here!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who attended the Mint Yard Lecture Richard III weekend at York Explore – it was great to see so many people there! Whilst that was going on, I have been putting together the new series of lectures for this autumn. My ultimate aim is to produce an annual brochure for the lectures but I have to admit I’m not completely there yet! The big news is that now the York Explore refurbishment is complete, the lectures will be returning to the city centre on a permanent basis from September. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any Mint Yard Lectures in branch libraries any more – we will continue to host extra lectures in venues around the city. More information on those lectures will follow in due course.

Mint Yard map
The Mint Yard Lectures were named after the Mint Yard, on which York Explore now stands.

I am now very happy to say that tickets for the new series of lectures are now on sale from Explore libraries, or by calling Archives and Local History on 01904 552800. Tickets for the September lecture are also available on the Inspire website ( and if you prefer to book online tickets for the others will also be on there shortly.

The first lecture in this year’s series takes place on 30th September and features a screening of local films from the Yorkshire Film Archive (YFA) collections. This is a great opportunity to join us as YFA bring past events and experiences back to life, and to enjoy reliving shared memories of childhood, home and working life in Yorkshire as captured on film throughout the decades. Who knows, you may even spot yourself or a family member in the clips!

Yorkshire Film Archive image
The Yorkshire Film Archive features lots of images of families and local businesses.


The Yorkshire Film Archive also has film relating to Rowntrees.
The archive also holds films relating to Rowntrees.

On 28 October Dr Peter Addyman will speak about the forthcoming York volume of the British Atlas of Historic Towns (due to be published this autumn). Work started on the volume, part of a pan-European scheme for atlases of all Europe’s historic towns and cities, 43 years ago. Since then a team of archaeologists, historians, cartographers and editors have assembled data on all York’s important historic buildings and sites, shown on a base map of 1852 and in 10 development maps showing the city from AD200 to 1836. If you have an interest in historic maps, this is the lecture for you!


Historic Towns map
The new York volume of the British Atlas of Historic Towns shows historic features on modern maps.

In November Dr Kaley Kramer will be uncovering York’s printing heritage into the 18th century. York’s history of printing began with the arrival of migrant Dutch printers in the late 15th century and continued right up to the present day. The city hosted King Charles I’s printer during the turbulent summer of 1642; became a northern hub of Puritan and Quaker printing during the Commonwealth and was home to one of the earliest regional newspapers – the York Mercury – founded in 1718. Join Kaley as she takes the story into the 18th century and beyond.

Our last lecture of 2015 will be held on 9th December and is unlike anything I have certainly seen before. Dr Sarah Fiddyment of University of York will be discussing her role in a pioneering study of medieval parchment DNA. Parchment (made from animal skins) was the medium of writing in medieval Europe and thousands of these skins still survive today in our libraries and archives, holding an untapped reservoir of evidence. Underneath the pictures and words lies a hidden layer of biomolecular information waiting to be read. In this fusion of history and science, the University of York project has been able to uncover what animals were used to make parchment, where they might come from and much more. Get your tickets now for what should be a very enlightening lecture about how 21st century science is retelling the story of medieval history.

I am so pleased to have such a varied programme of interesting topics, with such good speakers and featuring a wide variety of types of archives. All lectures start at 7pm at York Explore and tickets are £6 each (£5 for Yorkcard holders and all including tea and coffee) so why not pop down to your local library and get yours now? We’ll look forward to seeing you there!


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