West Yorkshire Archive Service

The West Yorkshire Archive Service is a local government archive in Yorkshire open to the public. It holds records about Jewish communal life in the area.

Archive Description

The West Yorkshire Archive Service collects and preserves historical records of all kinds dating from the twelfth century to the present day. The archive has five offices across West Yorkshire in Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and the West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield.

The Leeds office holds records relating to the Jewish community including the papers of David Makofski, Chairman of the Council for German Jewry Refugee Committee. The Makofski trainee books contain the applications of Jewish trainees with photographs, their date of arrival and proposed employers. Many trainees went to work for the Burton Clothing Company whose archives they also hold. The Burton collection covers the history of the huge tailoring company set up by Montague Burton in 1903 which still exists today as part of the Arcadia Group.

At the Wakefield office, within the Leeds City Police Collection, are a set of records called“Alien Files”. The term “alien” refers to anyone who moved to the area from abroad and these files provide a wealth of information about immigration to Britain during the 19th-20th century. Each file, many of which relate to Jewish immigrants, can include the individual’s background, their circumstances leading to their arrival in the UK and details about their families.

Access Information

The archives are open to the public, and can be accessed by appointment. The archive recommends booking two weeks in advance of visiting, and some collections may require the permission of the depositor prior to access.

Opening times vary between the archive offices and can be found on their website. Access requests, and other questions should be emailed to the archive at archives@wyjs.org.uk

Online Accessibility

The archive has an online catalogue available and some of the Jewish collections have been digitised. Images from these collections can be found on the archive’s Instagram account, and the archive’s blog has published several articles relating to Jewish content in the collection.

Visit website