Sophia Lambert


It was while studying migration histories during my undergraduate degree at Leeds Beckett University that I developed a passion for Jewish history. As such, I chose the Leeds Jewish community as the topic of my undergraduate dissertation and have since researched several aspects of the community's history and that of other Anglo-Jewish communities. 

After studying a master's in Social and Cultural History at the University of Leeds, in September 2023, I started my PhD in history, researching Reform Jewish identity by exploring the headstones and site of Bradford's Reform Jewish Cemetery. 

Research interests

Anglo-Jewish Communities

For my BA dissertation I decided to pursue my passion for Jewish history by studying the Leeds Jewish community. Assimilation and integration formed the over-arching themes of my thesis and my research focused on the period 1840 to 1920. Chapter One explored the community’s demography and settlement patterns. In Chapter Two examined women’s involvement in philanthopry, and in Chapter Three, I analysed the headstones in three of the community’s cemeteries.

I have since written several articles for local and national organisations about the Leeds Jewish community based on my research, including one for the IHR History Lab. In this article, I discuss how we can use the funerary architecture and symbolism in the Leeds Jewish cemeteries to develop our understanding of people’s experiences of assimilation and integration. I also wrote an article for the Leeds Libraries’ Secret Library blog about the demography and settlement patterns of the Jews of Leeds between 1851 and 1861.

My MA thesis developed my previous research on the Leeds Jewish community by examining the graves and site of Bradford’s Reform Jewish section at Scholemoor Cemetery and comparing the headstones to those in one of Leeds’ Jewish cemeteries. I have since given a paper at the Univeristy of Leeds’ School of History’s PGR Seminar Series about my findings.

Anglo-Jewish Cemeteries

The third chapter of my Undergraduate dissertation about Jewish cemeteries formed the basis for my current research for my PhD thesis. I am researching the Bradford Reform Jewish Cemetery to investigate how migrants express their identity and emotional bonds with where they live. My research will offer new perspectives on different communities' burial practices and attitudes towards death and commemoration through a comparative analysis of cemeteries. I am utilising innovative methods by combining archival research with GIS mapping, analysing funerary symbolism and architecture, and collaborative research with Jewish communities.

Leeds History

As an Undergraduate, I worked on a public history project about the Leeds Blitz during the Second World War. My main task was researching women’s roles during the Blitz by analysing archival material. I then worked with a group of students to create a webpage based on my findings, which included an ARC GIS Story Map plotting the locations where women worked.

In 2021, I became involved in the Thackray Medical Museum’s Medical Mile project, researching the history of Beckett Street, the Thackray Museum and the surrounding area. I was tasked with researching various aspects of the Quarry Hill area, including the disease environment, the history of the area’s communities and their housing. My research foregrounded some of the area’s hidden histories, including those of the Jewish and Irish communities that settled in the area. I produced a podcast episode about the Quarry Hill area based on my findings.

I have also conducted research into several of the Leeds suffragettes, including Mary Gawthorpe and Leonora Cohen. I was given an excellent opportunity to conduct research into previously overlooked aspects of Mary Gawthorpe’s work as a suffragette, including her connections to other women in the Women’s Social and Political Union, such as the Pankhurst’s to enrich our understanding of Mary’s contribution to Britain and America’s women’s suffrage movement. I made the Mary Gawthorpe Collection (currently on microfilm) more accessible to researchers by creating an online collections catalogue with another student, which included several keywords to summarise the contents of each microfilm reel.

I have also written an article for the History Workshop Journal’s Radical Objects blog about a dress made by the Leeds suffragette Leonora Cohen.

I continue to research aspects of Leeds history, including the city’s faith communities, demolished buildings and places of interest, which I post about on my Instagram account, @leeds_hidden_heritage 


My research into housing focuses on the developments in private and council housing in the city of Leeds and its suburbs.

From February 2020 to September 2021, I co-produced an exhibition with Leeds City Museum to celebrate the Museum’s 200th birthday. My main task as a research volunteer was researching the history of Leeds housing from the 1700s to the present day, exploring how disease and legislation impacted housing in the city. I then curated the Housing section of the exhibition, selecting the objects from the Museum’s collections that best communicated the stories that I aimed to foreground. I also wrote the interpretation for this section of the exhibition. As part of the 200th Birthday project’s events programme, I delivered a public talk at Leeds City Museum about the history of housing in Leeds from the 1700s to the present day.  

I have delivered also delivered a talk for Abbey House Museum’s 1152 Club about the history of the Quarry Hill area and its housing.


  • MA Social and Cultural History (UoL)
  • BA History (LBU)