Censorship and Banned Books

An auction house in Derbyshire is selling a rare 19th century edition of ‘Fanny Hill – Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure’ by John Cleland, which was banned not long after it’s publication in 1748. It’s the story of an orphaned girl who goes to London looking for domestic work and instead ends up working …

Family Hair-looms

Does anyone care for a short story about death, documents and hair? Back in November, we tweeted this story with the theme of #HairyArchives as part of Explore Your Archives week. It proved quite popular, so we’re re-telling a version of it here for those of you who missed it. Usually, we take advantage of the …

Cheers to Nottinghamshire’s Pubs!

It’s almost that time of year when people eat, drink and make merry. Public Houses, taverns and inns have been at the centre of English community life for hundreds of years. Their origin can be traced back to Roman Britain, when places to seek rest and refreshment were established along the network of Roman roads. …

By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes

The Witchcraft Act of 1735 brought an end to the legal acceptance that magic and witchcraft were genuine. It became a crime to claim magical or supernatural powers, with a maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment. Instead, witches, cunning folk and wise men were viewed as fraudsters conning the desperate and the naïve. This complete …

The Night Nottingham Castle Burned

On the evening of Monday 10 October 1831, people gathered by the banks of the River Leen to watch the spectacular sight of Nottingham Castle, ablaze, sparks flying. The scene was captured by artist Thomas Allom and engraved by R. Sands. The mounted print, 25cm by 31cm in size, shows a pair of men dancing …

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

World Rabies Day takes place each year on September 28, the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur. Better known for developing the pasteurisation process, he was also involved with developing the first efficacious rabies vaccine. It’s not a disease that many people in the UK have reason to give much thought to, but roughly …

Reaping What You Sow

Autumn is harvest time, and there has been much in the news about how the heatwave of summer 2018 has affected arable farming. Wheat harvests came early, but salad crops suffered from the lack of water. We are better protected from food shortages and weather anomalies than our ancestors, but the weather still has a …

A Token of Childhood

Are the souls of your children of no value? Are you indifferent whether they be damned or saved? They are not too little to die…not too little to go to hell….not too little to go to heaven. And so begins James Janeway’s cheerful book, ‘A Token For Children: An Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and …

Silence

The grumpy 13th century scribe who couldn’t help but open his story by reminding his audience how underpaid and underappreciated the arts (especially storytellers) are would probably despair if he had known similar complaints would still be expressed in the 21st century. He wrote seven centuries ago, but his tale was set seven centuries before …

‘Wish You Were Here!’ Picture Postcards: The Wrench Series

Guest post by Abigail Cobley, Document Production Assistant at Manuscripts & Special Collections. Picture postcards offer a unique and fascinating insight into social history. Much can be gained about life in the past from studying postcards showing street scenes, holiday destinations, military events, and artistic watercolour prints (to name but a few). In the 21st …