Mum’s gone to Iceland

Famous for its harsh landscapes and heroic sagas, Iceland was a source of endless fascination for 19th century travellers. Many were sent on geological, botanical or other scientific expeditions. Ida Pfeiffer was different. Born in Vienna in 1797, she was bitten by the travel bug aged 5 when she accompanied her parents to Palestine and Egypt. Her father …

Student society archives: the SNoGS time capsule

We are continuing with our mission to collect material that reflects contemporary experiences of student life, and you may have seen us at Welcome Fairs pestering student societies to dig out the papers, photographs, posters and flyers that tend to get passed down from committee member to committee member. If you are a society officer …

Kate Greenaway’s Album

In 1879, Kate Greenaway’s first book ‘Under the Window’ was published to immediate commercial and critical success. Her drawings of cherubic children in smock-frocks and bonnets playing in sunny English gardens have continued to charm audiences for 140 years and she remains one of the most popular and influential children’s illustrators. Originally she began her …

Work placement with Manuscripts and Special Collections: the Stephen Lowe papers

This is a guest post by Georgia Cannon, second year undergraduate music student. As part of my Music degree, I chose to do a work placement module. I never realised there would have been an opportunity for working at Manuscripts and Special Collections, but I put it as my first choice knowing it would be …

From Rags to Witches: the grim tale of children’s stories

Once upon a time, fairy tales were not for children – and some were even banned by the church as a threat to faith or morality. Using original archives and rare books from the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts & Special Collections, From Rags to Witches: the Grim Tale of Children’s Stories will explore a range …

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 …