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 …

Look at our new Digital Gallery!

Around 1,500 digitised images from our collections are now available on the Manuscripts and Special Collections Digital Gallery. We have arranged the photographs, cartoons, portraits, maps, manuscripts, and pages from books into collections based on themes. These themes can be browsed from the front page of the Digital Gallery. Click the thumbnail to get to …

To the Moon! Descriptions of Lunar Travel in the Special Collections

In 1947 a University College Nottingham student wrote an article for student newspaper The Gongster called “Operation Lunar, or, Why go to the Moon?”.  The lunar voyage is imagined as a perilous affair with little hope of the intrepid explorer returning alive, due to cosmic ray intensity, the unknown effects of zero-gravity on the body, …

Rain Rain Go Away!

One of the main topics of conversation over the last week or so has been the truly atrocious weather, and even as I type this the raindrops are pattering against the office windows. This is in stark contrast to last year’s heatwave, which officially began on the 22nd June and lasted until the 7th August …

In Sickness and Incest

On the 9th June 1732, Edward Robinson and Martha Robinson of Heanor were married in St Alkmund’s, the 12th century parish church of Duffield in south Derbyshire. At the time, the happy couple were living 18 miles away in Beeston, a few miles from Nottingham city. Perhaps they married there because Martha was originally a …

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 …

Schooling in the Third Reich

This is a guest post by student placement Vanessa. Manuscripts and Special Collections is a section of the University of Nottingham Libraries located on the University’s King’s Meadow Campus. The archive holds over 3 ½ million original and unique documents in over 700 manuscript and archives collections, dating from the 12th to the 21st century, …

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 …

Family Hair-looms

Does anyone care for a short story about death, documents and hair? Back in November, we tweeted this story with the theme of #HairyArchives as part of Explore Your Archives week. It proved quite popular, so we’re re-telling a version of it here for those of you who missed it. Usually, we take advantage of the …