Wish You Were Here

British Summer Time is here and the sun is shining – for the moment, anyway – and many people are looking forward to getting away for a short break over Easter, or a longer one in the summer. Prior to the twentieth century, holidays were the preserve of the upper classes. Overseas travel was prohibitively …

The Cotton Research Corporation Library

The Cotton Research Corporation’s papers and library of printed materials came to the University of Nottingham Library in the 1970s. During its institutional history the Corporation increasingly abandoned direct involvement in cotton growing projects and directed its attention toward research, building up a library of printed materials. Now in the process of being catalogued, the …

The Life of a Communist: My placement working on the political papers of Fred Westacott

This is a guest post by second-year History and Politics student Niamh Southwell The ideas of Communism have always been a landmark moment in the study of political theory, however apart from the major leaders in these areas, often the effort of local champions for the cause are dismissed. Luckily for me, I had the chance …

Putting Creative Writing Back On The Syllabus

This is a guest post by second-year English student Bertie Beeching. “The Manuscripts and Special Collections archive,” I recalled reading to myself when scanning through placement opportunities. A small and contemptuous part of my brain made me envision a small, dark room filled with filing cabinets. You can imagine, then, how overwhelming it was to …

The Curious Case of Benjamin Cockayne

By October 1719, Churchwardens Stephen Turpin and John Pimm had had enough of Benjamin Cockayne, the bad boy of Bramcote. For seven years, they had watched with increasing concern his immoral lifestyle, his drunkenness, and his routine abuse of his neighbours. They brought a case against Cockayne to the ecclesiastical authorities and there was no shortage …

Looking back to get ahead: Volunteering at Manuscripts and Special Collections

This is a guest post by third-year American Studies and History student Bron Bury. Your future As a student, regardless of what stage you are at in your degree, making an conscious effort to look beyond your time in education is key in maximising your future opportunities . You may have a vague idea of …

Medieval Christmas Mass

It’s entirely possible that the clerk who ripped the pages out of the 15th book of Roman Catholic liturgical music was just old enough to have attended church services in pre-Reformation England, but in truth we don’t know. These parchment leaves, MS 12/6-7, contain parts of masses for Christmas Day and the Feast of St Stephen …

Ballads at KMC

This is a guest post by Clare Clarke, a former volunteer librarian. As a volunteer I have had the privilege to work with a range of fascinating collections, including material from the French Revolution, Fred Westacott pamphlets and works on or by D.H. Lawrence donated by the family of Emile Delavenay, a French academic. My …

Getting Political with the Archives

“Books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them.” ― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart This is a guest post by student placement Lizzie Fenwick, School of Politics and International Relations. Prior to signing up for a placement here, I was one of many students on campus who were not really aware that the University …

Between the Covers: Books and Booksellers

The trade in books grew from the system of barter between monasteries and the fledgling Universities, which in the Middle Ages were the two primary producers and consumers of books. In England, early booksellers were called Stationers, after their stalls (or stations), working from a fixed location, as opposed to being itinerant sellers. When the …