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Charles Barker Howdill (1863–1941) was a Leeds architect, photographer, and prodigious traveller who gave hundreds of glass slide lectures all over Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century. A Yorkshireman of wide-ranging talents and great energies, Howdill straddled the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras through which he lived. From 1907 to 1993 his family lived in Hanover Square, close to the University of Leeds campus; his house bears a blue plaque installed by Leeds Civic Trust.

In 2018, Duncan McCargo, a professor in the University of Leeds School of Politics and International Studies, received a small grant from the Cross Disciplinary Innovation Fund, jointly funded by the University’s Cultural Institute and Leeds Museums and Galleries, to support Leeds academics to work with museum collections in new ways.

The grant has funded the creation of a pop-up exhibition entitled Charles Barker Howdill’s Blazing Balkans, exploring the photographer’s life and work. Howdill’s family has generously donated a large collection of his glass slides to Leeds City Museums and Galleries, which forms the basis of the exhibition.

Working in collaboration with local historian Janet Douglas, Duncan has created a slideshow of Howdill’s best photographs, which can be displayed on any video or computer screen. The slide show is accompanied by two pull-up banners. If you are interested in presenting the exhibition, please contact

Download the Blazing Balkans exhibition powerpoint here. It’s free for anyone to watch and use, but please let us know if you decide to show it somewhere.