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 …

Remembering Hans

Today, 4 August, marks the 143rd anniversary of the death of Hans Christian Andersen, the prolific Danish author best remembered for his fairy stories, including The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling. Andersen was born in 1805, the only child of poor and uneducated parents who told him the family rumour …

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 …

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 …

Smallpox

It has wiped out armies, killed Kings and Pharaohs, and devastated civilisations for at least 3000 (and possibly up to 10,000) years, yet the first written records mentioning smallpox only date back to 4th century China. Trade links and the expansion of empires probably brought the disease to Europe in the 7th century, and Europeans …

Scary Tales

In the words of her own grand-niece Rosalind Constable, Favell Lee Mortimer wrote “one of the most outspokenly sadistic children’s books ever written” [New Yorker, 1950 – subscription required], yet she topped the Victorian best-seller lists and was well-regarded as an educational author. Today is the 139th anniversary of her death, and the book referred …

1977-2017: 40 years of the Queen’s Medical Centre

On 28th July 1977, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened The Queen’s Medical Centre, the first specifically-built teaching hospital in the UK. This marked her Silver Jubilee. Manuscripts and Special Collections holds a number of the hospital’s papers and photographs, including those relating to the opening event, which were acquired in October 2012. The University …

Take a Gander at Goose Fair

The first week in October can only mean one thing: the annual Goose Fair has opened on the Forest Recreation Ground! Here are a few images of previous Goose Fairs, mainly taken from old picture postcards, to get you in the mood before you go.                 Originally fairs were …

Pirates!

Ahoy there readers! No, this is not a post about digital piracy or illegal file sharing, but the sea-faring pirates of old, to mark that most frivolous of parody holidays, International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Originally started in America as an in-joke between friends, it has become an annual charity fundraising day, where participants …

Happy birthday KMC!

Happy 10th birthday to us! Ten years ago today, the Reading Room at The University of Nottingham’s then-newest campus at King’s Meadow welcomed its first visitors. The Basement     Since 1973, Manuscripts & Special Collections had been based in the lower level of Hallward Library on University Park Campus. The lack of space had been a …