A Tale of Scales and Slippers

Pantomime is as part of a British Christmas as mince pies, tinsel, and repeatedly losing the end of the sellotape when wrapping presents. Nottingham Playhouse‘s Christmas panto this year is Cinderella, and despite the novel presentation of On Demand performances and plans for socially-distanced theatre audiences, the storyline will remain comfortingly familiar. The panto plot …

The Art of Making Fireworks: a children’s guide

As we go into a second national lockdown and organised Bonfire Night displays across the country have been cancelled, I decided to have a look through the archives for any pretty images of fireworks or happy recollections of past celebrations. It was going to be light-hearted and cheerful post, but the collections here never fail …

The Fall and Rise of Little Fanny

One of the best aspects of working with Manuscripts & Special Collections is that, every so often, we will stumble across something extraordinarily beautiful, profound or moving – and sometimes, we find something like ‘The History of Little Fanny: exemplified in a series of figures‘ (Briggs Collection Pamphlet PZ6.H4). Somehow missed off the list of great children’s …

“Macaroni looks like serpents”: A Victorian arm-chair traveller’s guide to Europe

“Superficial, incomplete, trifling! Such is the true character of this book. Inaccurate we hope it is not…the world, old as she is, would not sit still for her picture.” So begins the 1849 book ‘Near Home, or The Countries of Europe Described’ by Favell Lee Mortimer, nee Bevan (1802-1878). Now almost forgotten, Mortimer wrote 16 …

Children’s Stories from Special Collections

To mark The Society of Storytelling’s annual National Storytelling Week from the 26th January, we’re highlighting some of the wonderful children’s stories held in our collections. It may seem strange for a University to have books of fairy tales, but one of our major holdings is the Briggs Collection of children’s educational games and literature from …

Book illustrations in Briggs and Porter Collections

Recent increasing use of our rare book collections has highlighted their potential for the study of book illustration. The collections offer a wide variety of illustration, from early woodcuts and engravings, to chromo-lithographs and photographs. Illustrative material is not always identified in catalogue entries, but two collections, the Briggs Collection of Children’s Educational Literature, and the Porter Collection of …