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 …

Mr William Saville’s Crime

William Saville (1815-1844) is not a resident that Nottingham, or any other city, would boast about. The child of a violent drunkard who grew up to become a murderer would have been little more than a footnote in Nottingham’s history had it not been for the terrible events at his execution. The whole story is …

Happy Anniversary, Russian & Slavonic Studies!

Did you know that Russian has been taught at Nottingham for 100 years? The academic year 1915/16 saw the very first students enrolled on Russian language courses at what was then University College Nottingham. It began with one member of staff on a temporary contract to try to encourage the study of Russian, and led to the founding of …

Nottingham Blitz

Seventy-five years ago today, Nottingham residents emerged from their shelters into daylight to survey the devastation caused by an air raid and anxiously find out whether their friends and family were safe. For some, their worst fears were realised. Over 150 people were killed in the ‘Nottingham Blitz’, with several hundred more injured and over …

Picturing Shakespeare

Tomorrow, the 23rd April, is the quartercentenary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). We, and the Library more generally, have been celebrating Shakespeare throughout April. If you visited the Reading Room this month, you will have seen some of the wonderful books in our Cambridge Shakespeare Collection on display. It owes its existence to Henry Thomas Hall (1823-1894), a resident of Cambridge and …