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 …

Dead Man Found in Coffin

What are Horseshoehead, Purples, Tissick, and Rising of the Lights?  If you guessed along the lines of an equestrian accident, a colour, a small village in the Home Counties, and perhaps an indie band on the verge of greatness, then you’d be very wrong. These are just a few of the bizarre-sounding medical conditions that …

Colin Wilson Conference

On Friday 1 July, 60 researchers, fans and family members of the late Colin Wilson travelled to KMC to attend the 1st International Colin Wilson Conference. It was a truly an international affair, as delegates had come from as far afield as America, Australia and even West Bridgford. The extensive archive of the Leicester-born novelist …

Early Boots Adverts

“Gorgeous”. “Colourful”. “A real trip down memory lane”. These are just some of the comments from the 7000 people who have visited the Inspiring Beauty exhibition at Weston Gallery in Lakeside this year. As the quotes suggest, it is a gorgeous, glittering exhibition of advertising used by Boots to promote their No7 range of cosmetics, …

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, …

A back-of-the-envelope history of Christmas cards

If you were asked to guess what the very first Christmas card depicted, what would your answer be? Most people (according to an unofficial poll of my colleagues) thought either a Nativity scene or possibly one of a snowy landscape. Sensible ideas, but both wrong. The first Christmas card was commissioned in 1843 by Sir …

Putting the ‘camp’ into ‘campus’

It’s an urban legend that’s almost as popular as the old “the library is sinking because the architect forgot to take into account the weight of the books” myth.  Over the next couple of months, as new students arrive at universities up and down the country, there will be the annual resurgence of the rumour …

A Fresh Crop of Records

There has been a flurry of new documents, books and digital files arriving at Manuscripts & Special Collections these last few weeks (is it possible to have a flurry of digital files?). Here are just a few of the two dozen or so new acquisitions we have taken in since the start of the year. Reaping …

Celebrating Magna Carta

Eight hundred years ago today, King John affixed the Great Seal to Magna Carta, after a week of intense negotiations with the group of barons who had rebelled against his reign. It is probably one of the most famous failed peace treaties in history. Like his father and older brother before him, John believed the divine …

A General History of Elections

From online voter registration to fixed Parliamentary terms, this General Election has seen a few ‘firsts’. In this post, we take a very quick tour of elections through the ages. A dull campaign? The art of eye-catching election addresses – the leaflets prospective parliamentary candidates send to people in the constituency – took a while …