The Gott Bequest

Leeds Libraries Special Collection

Housed in Leeds Central Library are several collections of antiquarian books and special interest materials that form part of the Library’s Special Collections. One of the most significant is the Gott Bequest which is a collection of around 500 books acquired by the library in 1941 on the death of Beryl Gott.

Beryl Gott was a notable figure in her day and much of her time was spent working for positive social change in the city. Beryl married her cousin Frank Gott of the famous woollen industry who was also Lord Mayor of Leeds from 1917-18. As well as Lady Mayoress, Beryl was Leeds’ first woman alderman and one of its first female magistrates. She was a member of the National Union of Women Workers and supported several charitable organisations including the Red Cross.

She managed to find time to pursue other interests, one of her passions was gardens and gardening and inherited a collection of books started by her great grandfather, Benjamin Gott, the founder of the Leeds Gott woollen merchant industry. In her lifetime this collection grew to become extensive and remarkable containing numerous early English gardening books and periodicals including works published in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The books in the collection include herbals, books on garden design and many fine examples of hand coloured botanical illustrations. There is also a long run of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine dating from 1787. This collection is testament to the hunger for codifying and cataloguing the incredible amount of botanical riches that were being discovered at this time.


The government of Herbs by the sun, moon, and planets, has been exploded by modern science; and is now regarded by persons of ordinary capacity to be absurd in the extreme

The Genera Project

Light Night 2015

The Genera Project is a response by Inkwell artists to this collection which will culminate in a spectacular installation for Light Night (October 9th 2015) in Room 700 on the first floor of Leeds Central Library. This is a brand new refurbished room that was formerly the exhibition space so we are really excited to have this opportunity and venue. A further response will be exhibited at Inkwell throughout October – November.

A series of workshops happening over July, August and September has been supported by Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council and will involve the wider community and artists from across Leeds to be able to take part in the process of exploring the possibilities for Light Night.

Led by professional artists and practitioners that make up the pool of incredible local talent found across the city, Inkwell will be offering sessions in lighting, sound, digital and plate photography, animation and sculpture, with many suitable for children and families to attend. Excursions to major art galleries and exhibitions across the country also form part of the research.

Thanks to funding from Leeds Inspired we are able to offer these workshops either free of charge or at a very affordable price. Further details of the workshops will be made available very soon.

More Genera Project Blog Posts……