It’s All Fun and Games

Did you play Snakes and Ladders, hopscotch and draughts as a child? The chances are you did, as did your grandparents, and possibly generations beyond that. These games are simple and fun, and for those reasons have become classic childhood staples. Many more games which have not survived the passage of time, for equally valid reasons. …

The Advantage of Fairy Tales

This is a guest post from Samina Rickards, a second year Classical Civilisation student. These past weeks I have been conducting a placement at Manuscripts and Special Collections, as part of the Nottingham Advantage Award’s ‘Experience Heritage’ module. In writing a blog post on my time here I wanted to highlight something I’d found interesting, …

The Fall and Rise of Little Fanny

One of the best aspects of working with Manuscripts & Special Collections is that, every so often, we will stumble across something extraordinarily beautiful, profound or moving – and sometimes, we find something like ‘The History of Little Fanny: exemplified in a series of figures‘ (Briggs Collection Pamphlet PZ6.H4). Somehow missed off the list of great children’s …

“Macaroni looks like serpents”: A Victorian arm-chair traveller’s guide to Europe

“Superficial, incomplete, trifling! Such is the true character of this book. Inaccurate we hope it is not…the world, old as she is, would not sit still for her picture.” So begins the 1849 book ‘Near Home, or The Countries of Europe Described’ by Favell Lee Mortimer, nee Bevan (1802-1878). Now almost forgotten, Mortimer wrote 16 …

Rhymes and ‘Rithmetic

Earlier this month the Government announced that all children in England will be expected to know up to the 12 times table by the time they leave primary school at age 11. It has been touted as an old fashioned approach and a return to traditional educational values, so we thought we’d share with you some …

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

Four hundred and eight years ago, people in England awoke to news that a terrible plot to assassinate the King and his Parliament had been foiled. It gripped the popular imagination then, and today we still mark the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot with bonfires and fireworks. This engraving is taken from a children’s educational book, …

Children’s Stories from Special Collections

To mark The Society of Storytelling’s annual National Storytelling Week from the 26th January, we’re highlighting some of the wonderful children’s stories held in our collections. It may seem strange for a University to have books of fairy tales, but one of our major holdings is the Briggs Collection of children’s educational games and literature from …

Christmas in the Collections

What image symbolises Christmas to you? Do you think of choirs of angels round a manger, or Father Christmas leaving presents under a tree decorated with baubles? Perhaps you take inspiration from the natural world and would choose a robin or mistletoe. References to Christmas are scattered throughout the collections at Manuscripts and Special Collections. This beautiful image …

Book illustrations in Briggs and Porter Collections

Recent increasing use of our rare book collections has highlighted their potential for the study of book illustration. The collections offer a wide variety of illustration, from early woodcuts and engravings, to chromo-lithographs and photographs. Illustrative material is not always identified in catalogue entries, but two collections, the Briggs Collection of Children’s Educational Literature, and the Porter Collection of …