Homage to the Arboreal World

Trees have long been of significant importance to the human species. Our relationship with trees began with their ability to satisfy neolithic needs such as shelter and nutrients, which progressively shifted towards trees’ later central contribution to the evolution of agriculture and machinery. Indeed, major socio-economic changes over the 15th to 18th Centuries saw the …

Off to the races!

As today is final day of the Cheltenham Races, we’re trotting out some documents about horse racing in Britain and how some of its notable figures crop up in our collections. It’s become a  cliche that the feckless elder son of an aristocrat gambles away the family fortune on cards and horses, but although there …

Putting it in Perspective

Guest post by Chloé Havez (3rd year Politics & International Relations undergraduate student) The title of a 1992 newspaper clipping on Coates’ criticism of the European Parliament quarrelling over where the European Environment Agency should have been built during the alarmist trend of ozone depletion is of unfortunate relevance today thirty years on, and could …

Monday Mystery: Celebrity Scrapbook, 19th century style

The Manvers family of Holme Pierrpont were one of the most influential families in Nottinghamshire in the second half of the 19th century. The men held high-ranking positions in various Army regiments, served as local MPs, and held other important civic offices, such as magistrates or Master of the Hunt. The archives we hold very …

The Cold War in the Cold Store

In the week before Christmas Manuscripts and Special Collections’ staff carried out an internal relocation of material and repackaging exercise that involved the entire section. To make this happen we decided to close the library to the public, freeing all staff to work in the library’s archival store. That week we donned warm layers and …

Georgian Delights

When King George IV died in June 1830, The Times asked, ‘What eye has wept for him? What heart has heaved one throb of unmercenary sorrow?’. George was a controversial figure throughout his lifetime (1762-1830). As Prince of Wales, after 1783, George became notorious for his frequent love affairs and lavish self-indulgence, spending wildly on …

Digital preservation of Students’ Union materials

As a collections archivist with Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSC), I work closely with people who donate their materials to the University to ensure that the right material is preserved. At the University we have an ongoing relationship with services and departments who have recognised the importance of passing records to the archive. We already …

The Witches of East Mids

Early Modern European society is notorious for its waves of enthusiastic witch-hunts. The causes have been debated by historians, but they were almost always a combination of religious, societal and economic upheaval and uncertainty. Powers commonly ascribed to witches include turning food inedible, flying, and making people and livestock ill and crops fail. Witches were …

MRI Collections Project draws to a successful close

The MRI Collections Project, which Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSC) has been working on for the last 12 months, ended on 30 September.  During this significant project, which was funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources award, MSC catalogued, preserved and selectively digitised the papers of the Nobel Prize winning physicist Professor Sir Peter Mansfield …

Meet our German manuscripts and Special Collections

Have you ever wondered what DIY books were available to borrow from an East German public library? Is the distribution of pigs in 1930s Germany a persistent niggling gap in your knowledge? Do you worry that when the 18th century dispute between the Houses of Hesse-Homburg and Hesse-Darmstadt comes up in casual conversation, you won’t …