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 …

Women’s Suffrage in the D H Lawrence Collection

One hundred years after the ‘Representation of the People Act’, which awarded the vote to women over the age of 30 who owned property, it seems like a good time to rediscover some gems from the archives that provide intimate snapshots of the fight for the vote. Louisa ‘Louie’ Burrows, a friend and onetime fiancée …

Happy Birthday, NHS!

On 5th July 1948 the Secretary for Health Aneurin Bevan officially launched an ambitious new service: the National Health Service. At its core were three principles: That it meet the needs of everyone That it be free at the point of delivery That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay At the …

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 …

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 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 …

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 …

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 …