Meet our German manuscripts and Special Collections

Have you ever wondered what DIY books were available to borrow from an East German public library? Is the distribution of pigs in 1930s Germany a persistent niggling gap in your knowledge? Do you worry that when the 18th century dispute between the Houses of Hesse-Homburg and Hesse-Darmstadt comes up in casual conversation, you won’t …

The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer (1340s – 25 October 1400) is widely considered the greatest English poet and author of the Middle Ages. He played a significant role in legitimising the use of the Middle English vernacular in literary works in an age when many authors in England wrote in French and Latin. He died in 1400 and …

Mapping Modules

This is a guest post by Sasha Gardner, undergraduate student undertaking a placement to identify rare books and archives useful for students taking modules in Classics and English. As a first-year English student, discovering the vast array of books and journals available at Hallward and other libraries on campus was an exciting moment. But many …

The Bigger Picture

This is a guest post by Anjali, an Politics and Economics student, written as part of the Nottingham Advantage Award run by the Careers and Employability Service. Culture and heritage forms a big part of an individual’s identity. As an individual who is a young British Indian woman, living in a world where a person such …

Spooky Scary Skeletons

Guest post by Anja Rohde, Library Assistant. On Wednesday 27th January 1943 Nottingham students awoke to an unusual sight – a skeleton was suspended from the clock tower of the Trent Building. This was ‘Mrs Criker’, one of the mascots of Goldsmiths College, London, and it had been kidnapped by Nottingham students. At the start …

Censorship and Banned Books

An auction house in Derbyshire is selling a rare 19th century edition of ‘Fanny Hill – Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure’ by John Cleland, which was banned not long after its publication in 1748. It’s the story of an orphaned girl who goes to London looking for domestic work and instead ends up working …

By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes

The Witchcraft Act of 1735 brought an end to the legal acceptance that magic and witchcraft were genuine. It became a crime to claim magical or supernatural powers, with a maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment. Instead, witches, cunning folk and wise men were viewed as fraudsters conning the desperate and the naïve. This complete …

Remembering Hans

Today, 4 August, marks the 143rd anniversary of the death of Hans Christian Andersen, the prolific Danish author best remembered for his fairy stories, including The Little Mermaid, The Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling. Andersen was born in 1805, the only child of poor and uneducated parents who told him the family rumour …

Mum’s gone to Iceland

Famous for its harsh landscapes and heroic sagas, Iceland was a source of endless fascination for 19th century travellers. Many were sent on geological, botanical or other scientific expeditions. Ida Pfeiffer was different. Born in Vienna in 1797, she was bitten by the travel bug aged 5 when she accompanied her parents to Palestine and Egypt. Her father …

Kate Greenaway’s Album

In 1879, Kate Greenaway’s first book ‘Under the Window’ was published to immediate commercial and critical success. Her drawings of cherubic children in smock-frocks and bonnets playing in sunny English gardens have continued to charm audiences for 140 years and she remains one of the most popular and influential children’s illustrators. Originally she began her …