Microscopy

Post by Ursula Ackrill, Special Collections Librarian. “It seemed to me,” said Swammer, coming close to Peregrine, “it seemed to me, my dear Mr. Tyss, as if a flea were on your collar.” Peregrine Tyss, the protagonist of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s humorous fantasy novel ‘Master Flea’ (1822), does keep the company of a friendly …

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

In the 17th and 18th centuries, a time before Instagram, National Geographic, or even David Attenborough, there was great interest amongst Europeans in the animals which roamed distant realms. These fantastic beasts were eagerly read about in publications written by explorers brave enough to adventure to far-off lands, with detailed engravings made from eye-witness accounts …

The Cold War in the Cold Store

In the week before Christmas Manuscripts and Special Collections’ staff carried out an internal relocation of material and repackaging exercise that involved the entire section. To make this happen we decided to close the library to the public, freeing all staff to work in the library’s archival store. That week we donned warm layers and …

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 …