Robert Eadon Leader
Researched and written by Roger Manktelow
Robert Eadon Leader newspaper proprietor and historian of Sheffield was born in Broomhall on the 2nd January 1839 at 2 Charlotte Street. Charlotte Street no longer exists but is thought to be somewhere in the region of St George’s Church. He was the son of Eliza and Robert Leader, Alderman who was a Town Trustee and proprietor of the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. Robert Eadon Leader graduated from New College London University in 1864 and soon after he married his second cousin called Emily Sarah Pye-Smith but unfortunately we have been unable to find out anything about their life together, where they lived or their children.
In the same year (1864) he joined his father and elder brother John Daniel Leader at the Independent who also lived in Broomhall, 20 Broomhall Street with his wife and family. The Independent had offices on Fargate (see picture from 1891 edition of Whites Directory to the right) which produced a Liberal paper and Robert shared these sentiments and was very active politically.
“He was one of the founders of the Sheffield Junior Liberal Association, and of the Sheffield Parliamentary Debating Society. He unsuccessfully ran for parliament twice. In 1892 he ran as the Liberal Party candidate for the Sheffield Ecclesall constituency, and in 1895 he ran in the Bassetlaw constituency. He served as president of the Hunter Archaeological Society and the Provincial Newspaper Society.” Robert Eadon Leader an appreciation, S. O. Addy Transactions of the Hunter Archaeology Society 2, pp. 213-219.
Under the editorship of his brother between 1874 & 1878, Robert wrote a series of articles in the Independent under the titles Local Notes and Queries and Spectator in Hallamshire. It was however as an historical writer rather than a newspaperman that Robert found his strength and wrote extensively about Sheffield and its history including the books from the list shown below. In 1893 Robert moved to London where he died in 1922.
– A Century of Thrift, An Historical Sketch of the Sheffield Savings Bank, 1S 1919.
– Alien refugees and Cutlery Traditions, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1908.
– Antiquities of Sheffield, Local Government and the Cutlers’ Company.
– British Association Handbook: 1910.
– Early Sheffield Banks and Bankers, Issued by the Institute of Bankers: 1917.
– Ecclesfield Church, Journal of the British Archaeological Association: 1904.
– History of the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire in the County of York, Two volumes: 1905-6.
– Industrial ‘Sheffield, Historical Introduction to The Chamber of Commerce Handbook: 1919.
– Judith Lee, A tale of Old Sheffield: 1866.
– Literature and archaeology in Sheffield a Hundred Years Ago, Vol. I: p. 216
– Memoirs of Robert and J. D. Leader: 1885-1900.
– Origin of Nonconformity in Sheffield, Transactions of the Congregational Historical Society: 1915.
– Political history of Sheffield, 1832-1849 & 1849-1884 & 1885.
– Reminiscences of Old Sheffield, its streets and its people: 1875 & 1876
– Sheffield in the Eighteenth Century: 1901.
– Sheffield in 1902, From Past and Present.
– Sheffield Cutlery and the Poll-tax of 1379, Journal of the British Archaeological Association: 1904.
– Sheffield and Silver, My story of early Electro-plate and Plating. Reprinted from the
– Sheffield Daily Telegraph, January 8th, 1914.
– Surveyors and architects of the Past in Sheffield: 1903.
– The Early History of Electro-Silver Plating, Journal of the Institute of Metals: 1919.
– The Sheffield Banking Company Limited, An Historical Sketch: 1831-1916.