Leeds Tithe Project, Tracks in Time
Tracks in Time West Yorkshire Archive Service Heritage Lottery Funded
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Tracks in Time:
The West Yorkshire Tithe Map Project,
West Yorkshire Archive Service,
PO Box 5,
Nepshaw Lane South,
LS27 0QP.

E: tracksintime@wyjs.org.uk


Please note that the content on this page relates to the HLF funded portion of Tracks in Time, undertaken in 2009. Watch this space for news on the Bradford section in 2014!


Download one of our exciting and educational map activities, suitable for children of all ages.


Throughout Tracks in Time, we have worked closely with communities across Leeds, staging events, holding exhibitions, giving lectures, presenting workshops, and encouraging as many people as possible to become involved with the project. You can have a look at photographs from some of these events over on our Flickr page.

School Workshops
Suitable for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, we delivered a series of school workshops. These sessions involved handling replica tithe maps, developing historical empathy and imagination, and exploring the history of the land where each school now stands. At primary school level, children aged 6 to 8 drew their own maps and compared the past to the present, whilst secondary school students were able to learn about the history of their school’s location and the role of archives, exploring the benefits and difficulties of using tithe maps for local history research. All workshops aimed to develop young people’s research skills and stimulate interest in the past. In some areas, work produced in these sessions was displayed at local community days, encouraging others to explore their local heritage. In total, almost 400 children took part.

Memory Workshops
We can tell what existed in the 19th century at a given site by looking at the tithe maps and can visit that same place today to see how it now appears. What we might not be able to discern, however, is exactly how that place has changed over time. Memories are the histories of real people and can help contribute to the archives of the future. For this reason, Tracks in Time visited groups of older people to run memory workshops and ensure that the hidden histories of communities across Leeds were uncovered and recorded. Approximately 100 people enjoyed sharing their memories over a cup of tea and a lively chat with our staff and we were able to incorporate some of these stories into our 'Tithe to 2009’ Trails.

From December 2008 to April 2009, Tracks in Time held a number of manned exhibitions in local supermarkets and city centre locations, giving people the chance to view full size, replica tithe maps and talk with our staff about the project. Hundreds of people stopped-by whilst doing their weekly shopping or visiting the library and located their houses, schools or places of work on the maps. Many of our visitors took home free postcards, leaflets and ‘Intergenerational Activity Sheets’ to get parents, grandparents and young people alike learning about local heritage.

Community Days
In early 2009, approximately 700 people attended our community days, held in local venues in Armley, Beeston, Pudsey and Wetherby. The days were designed to involve the whole family, with activities to suit all ages. Children took part in colouring, word games and map drawing activities, imagining what their area looked like in the past, whilst parents and grandparents discovered how to use tithe maps to explore local and family history. We also brought computers to demonstrate a prototype of the Tithe Map Digital Resource and provide access to our Tracks in Time website and sister site NowThen, an interactive community archive for West Yorkshire. Everybody had the opportunity to share memories of their community, either by uploading them online or completing a ‘Memory Bubble’ on paper.

'Tithe to 2009 Trails'
Using the memories collected at our workshops, the specialist archaeological and ecological knowledge of our colleagues at West Yorkshire Joint Services, the input of local community groups, and the tithe maps themselves, we created a series of themed walks. Available as downloadable ‘maps and guides’ via the project website, our ‘Tithe to 2009’ Trails are designed to show how built and ecological environments have changed since the tithe maps were drawn, contrasting 19th century surroundings with today’s communities, and revealing more about the decades in between. For each area, we organised trails which focus on either heritage reminiscence, the archaeology of the built environment, or the ecology of tithe boundaries. The walks cover a range of difficulty levels, giving you choices about length and accessibility.

Talks and Demonstrations
Project staff have been invited to speak at various meetings and gatherings of community groups and civic societies, giving informative talks and lectures on how the project has been carried out and fulfilled its aims, what this means for Leeds, and how tithe maps and apportionments can be used to explore local and family history. In late 2009, a series of IT workshops was also staged to provide free training and demonstrations on how to use the Tithe Map Digital Resource and explore its many tools and features.

Launch Event
The Tracks in Time launch event took place at Leeds City Museum on November 12, 2009. There were approximately 80 people present, including Councillors Ann Castle and Neil Taggart and Fiona Spiers of the Heritage Lottery Fund, each of whom made speeches in support of the project. Representatives of the organisations we collaborated with; members from the groups, societies and schools that were involved with the project; West Yorkshire Joint Services staff; and various members of the public were also in attendance. In addition to the main speeches, Alexandra Eveleigh (WYAS Collections Manager), Peter Lythe (Tracks in Time
Project Manager) and Amy Taylor (Tracks in Time Outreach Officer) thanked all of those who helped deliver or take part in the different elements of the project.

There were many other things to see and do at the event. The final version of the Tithe Map Digital Resource was showcased for the first time and a live demonstration by our conservation team was given. There was herb planting, nineteenth century surveying equipment on display and a local history themed quiz (the winner taking home a framed copy of a tithe map). A full-colour exhibition detailing the work and activities that went into Tracks in Time was also on show, a downloadable version of which is available by clicking here.



Part of a community heritage group? Interested in taking the project further? Just email us via tracksintime@wyjs.org.uk