On the 5th of February the Forum welcomed its guest speaker Lesley Newnham, a local resident who has always been interested in her area, particularly the city of Leeds.
One place of interest has been Beckett Street Cemetery which was under threat from building development until given protected status after protests by local activists. Lesley’s exploration of the cemetery revealed many graves of celebrities and she has researched into the lives of a number of them, some of whom she featured in her talk titled The Actor, Singer, Medics and a Solicitor.
The actor was John Langford Pritchard who was a celebrated actor in the mid-nineteenth century both locally and nationally and whose most notable achievement was the introduction of Shakespeare’s plays into Scotland.
The singer was Joshua Cawthra who sang and led choirs in cathedrals around the country but was best known for the choir which he led in Leeds Parish Church.
The medics were the Price family led by William Price, a former naval surgeon who left the navy to become a leading surgeon in Leeds. In 1831he was a member of a team of local medics who set up the Leeds Medical School. He was followed by two of his sons, Henry William Price and William Nicholson Price who became apothecaries, a highly lucrative profession which established the power of the Price family.
Finally the solicitor was John Hope Shaw, three times Lord Mayor of Leeds who was instrumental in the establishment of Leeds Town Hall.
After questions from members about the Town Hall and Victorian cemeteries Forum chairman Mike Earle thanked Lesley Newnham for a well-researched talk