Collected Words: From the Literary Collections at the University of Nottingham

In 2015 Nottingham became one of only 20 cities around the world to be recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature – a reflection of the city’s unique literary heritage and creativity. From 8 September, the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts will host an exhibition showcasing material from the literary archives and collections of …

Bound for Serampore

Visitors to the Weston Gallery are often prompted to share their personal connections to an exhibition. It’s always wonderful to see people engaged and to know that it’s made an impact in a way that visitor statistics can’t capture. The story one recent visitor shared about the Threads of Empire exhibition was not just his family’s …

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 …