Priestley exhibits on display

IN THE FRAME: Professor Les Woodcock (left) presents the copy of the Leeds portrait to headteacher Mike Cook (right) watched by Professor Alan Dronsfield.
IN THE FRAME: Professor Les Woodcock (left) presents the copy of the Leeds portrait to headteacher Mike Cook (right) watched by Professor Alan Dronsfield.

ORIGINAL works by Birstall-born scientist Joseph Priestley were on display at a prestigious lecture held at Heckmondwike Grammar School.

The school was chosen by the Priestley Society to host the annual Joseph Priestley lecture which celebrates the accomplishments and contributions he made to scientific discovery, education, politics and religion.

Society chairman Professor Les Woodcock introduced the guest speaker, Professor Alan Dronsfield, who is chairman of the Royal Society of Chemistry History Division and a Priestley Society member.

Grammar School headteacher Mike Cook said: “Professor Dronsfield’s lecture was a fascinating account of the development of anaesthaesia, placing some of Priestley’s scientific work in historical context.

“The event was accompanied by an exhibition in the school library of several valuable original examples of books and papers published by Priestley. These were kindly loaned to the school by Professor Woodcock so as the enable the students to see these important original works.”

Following the lecture to students and invited guests, Professor Woodcock presented the school with a framed duplicate of the first known portrait of Priestley aged about 35, known simply as the “Leeds Portrait”. The original hangs in the Royal Society of London.

Priestley was born in Fieldhead and spent his formative years living with his aunt at the Old Hall in Heckmondwike.