The Life of a Communist: My placement working on the political papers of Fred Westacott

This is a guest post by second-year History and Politics student Niamh Southwell The ideas of Communism have always been a landmark moment in the study of political theory, however apart from the major leaders in these areas, often the effort of local champions for the cause are dismissed. Luckily for me, I had the chance …

Ballads at KMC

This is a guest post by Clare Clarke, a former volunteer librarian. As a volunteer I have had the privilege to work with a range of fascinating collections, including material from the French Revolution, Fred Westacott pamphlets and works on or by D.H. Lawrence donated by the family of Emile Delavenay, a French academic. My …

Getting Political with the Archives

“Books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them.” ― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart This is a guest post by student placement Lizzie Fenwick, School of Politics and International Relations. Prior to signing up for a placement here, I was one of many students on campus who were not really aware that the University …

Ken Loach, Ken Coates and the European Union

In researching his 2016 British Academy award winning film ‘I, Daniel Blake’, director Ken Loach visited the St Ann’s Advice Centre in Nottingham (a community organisation offering advice on welfare benefits, employment and debt). Back in October 1966, two tutors of the University of Nottingham’s Adult Education Department, Ken Coates and Bill Silburn, had conducted …

Veterinary Verse: The life and rhymes of Connie Ford

With a rich history of rebellion, Nottingham has spawned many world-class writers over the past few hundred years – from Byron to D.H. Lawrence and to Alan Sillitoe. However, the archives of Manuscripts and Special Collections hold the collection of one more rebel writer who can be added to Nottingham’s illustrious literary history: Connie Mae …

Nottingham Advantage Award Placement: Working on Westacott

This is a guest post by Sophie Burton, an undergraduate student in the Department of History. For the Nottingham Advantage Award ‘Experience Heritage’ module I have been conducting a weekly placement at Manuscripts and Special Collections. The placement has informed me about the different roles within the heritage sector. I have undertaken digitisation work on …

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 …

The Morning After the Nay Before

For anyone who has somehow missed the extensive – and sometimes heated – campaign, this morning the results of the Scottish Independence Referendum were announced. The Union between Scotland and England has been in force since May 1707, after both the Scottish and English Parliaments had passed their own separate Acts ratifying the Treaty of Union. …

Papers of a ‘Professional Revolutionary’

The next exhibition at Lakeside Arts Centre’s Weston Gallery features the papers of a local activist and Communist Party officer, Fred Westacott. Flyers, pamphlets and speeches in his personal archive document a lifetime of campaigning, as a supporter of a variety of local and international causes, from the Miners’ strikes to the Vietnam War protests. …