University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections

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Manuscripts and Special Collections is part of Information Services at The University of Nottingham and is located at King's Meadow Campus.

Our printed, manuscript and archive collections together provide a rich resource for studies at all levels for a wide range of subjects. The Library has been collecting manuscripts since the early 1930s and now holds approximately 3 million documents, extensive holdings of printed collections, and the East Midlands Collection of local material.

Our website includes further information, online catalogues, online exhibitions, learning resources, research guidance resources to assist users of original material, and other digitised content.

This archive has Designated Collections of national importance: the Portland (London), Portland of Welbeck and Newcastle of Clumber family and estate papers, and the D H Lawrence Collection.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive, Gallery

Opening hours

Mon-Thu 09.00-18.00
Fri 09.00-17.00

The Reading Room is closed for Bank Holidays and University closures.

Admission charges

Free

The D.H. Lawrence, Portland (London), Portland of Welbeck, and Newcastle of Clumber papers have been Designated as Outstanding Collections by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

The latter collections comprise family, estate, political and literary papers, 12th – 20th centuries. These collections are of outstanding significance for the study of how the two families influenced the political, literary and economic history of England. The families represented in these collections are significant to national and international life.

The D H Lawrence collection comprehensively covers the work of D H Lawrence and is particularly strong in original material relating to his native Nottinghamshire. It demonstrates the significant cultural impact of Lawrence on the latter half of 20th century, including that on the publishing industry and demonstrates his status as a figure of both national and international importance.

Manuscript holdings include the papers of leading Nottinghamshire families and their estates, the records of local businesses and organisation, including those of the Archdeaconry of Nottingham, the personal papers of political, diplomatic, literary, scientific and academic figures, as well as some of the historical records of the University and its predecessor, University College Nottingham. The Wollaton Library Collection of medieval manuscripts and printed books is the subject of current projects.

The printed collections include the subject areas of 18th to 19th century drama, children's educational literature, the history of medicine, Icelandic literature, the French Revolution, and D.H. Lawrence. Collections acquired from institutional libraries are also held, as well as a general special collection of early or rare books many of which have been transferred from general library holdings.

The East Midlands Collection contains books, pamphlets, periodicals and other materials on the historic counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

Collection details

Literature, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • D.H. Lawrence
  • Cavendish-Bentinck family, Dukes of Portland, of Welbeck
  • Pelham-Clinton family, Dukes of Newcastle, of Clumber
  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Archdeaconry of Nottingham
  • Designated Collections
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Collected Words exhibition Nottingham Lakeside Arts

Collected Words: From the Literary Collections at the University of Nottingham

  • 8 September — 3 December 2017 *on now

In 2015 Nottingham became one of only 20 cities around the world to be recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature – a reflection of the city’s unique literary heritage and creativity. This exhibition of material from the literary archives and collections of printed books held by the University of Nottingham, highlights the work of Nottinghamshire writers and the treasures to be found in the historic collections of local literature lovers. It also looks at the University’s role in shaping the reputations and inspiring the early careers of local poets and authors.

This exhibition offers the opportunity to see a range of literary material including a masterpiece of medieval poetry and the recently acquired previously unknown typescript of Pansies (a late collection of poems by DH Lawrence which attracted the attention of the Home Office on grounds of indecency).

It looks at how authors down the centuries have been inspired by different aspects of Nottinghamshire, ranging from the beauty of the countryside to the often harsh realities of industrial working life. The importance of local aristocratic families as early book collectors and authors is also examined, drawing on the literary papers from the Library of the Dukes of Portland at Welbeck Abbey, which contains gatherings of the manuscripts of poets including the Duchess of Newcastle, known to some as Mad Madge but celebrated by others as the earliest writer of science fiction.
Visitors will also see a curious manuscript describing the antics of ‘Restoration rock star’ poet, the Earl of Rochester.

The involvement of the University’s Writer in Residence, award winning author Jon McGregor, with Creative Writing MA students in editing the literary journal The Letters Page, is showcased with a selection of submissions. The drafts, proofs, typescripts, scrapbooks and rejection letters to be found in writers’ archives are used to show the trials of getting published, and the exhibition also reflects upon the changing fortunes of published authors, including how DH Lawrence himself was considered for a time to be ‘a skeleton in the cupboard’ by some at the University.

The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

LUNCHTIME TALKS
Djanogly Theatre
Nottingham Lakeside Arts
Admission free
1pm – 2pm
A series of talks will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book in advance through the Box Office: 0115 846 7777

New Additions to the DH Lawrence Collections
Thursday 28 September

In this talk Dr Andrew Harrison will discuss and interpret several recently acquired items in the University’s internationally recognised Lawrence Collections, including a manuscript of ‘Laura Philippine’ and a rare typescript of Pansies, which is displayed for the first time in the exhibition.

Dr Harrison is Assistant Professor in English Literature and Director of the DH Lawrence Research Centre at the University of Nottingham.

Reading Nottingham’s Unread: Republishing James Prior’s Forest Folk
Thursday 12 October

First published in 1901, Prior’s pacy novel is set in Blidworth against a background of the Napoleonic Wars and Luddite riots. It lay unnoticed for many years, although DH Lawrence rated Prior’s work. Then, in 2016, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Spokesman Books co-published DAWN OF THE UNREAD, graphic accounts of vengeful local writers resolute on being read by new generations. In the ferment, Forest Folk clawed its way into view. How will it fare in the bookshops of 2017?

Tony Simpson edits The Spokesman, journal of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, and is a director of Russell Press printers.

Local Author Alison Moore: Location and Landscape
Thursday 26 October

Man Booker Prize shortlisted writer of fiction, Alison Moore, will be exploring the influence of location and landscape in her novels, including a work in progress. She will be looking at inspiration, research and the fictionalisation of settings including the English Midlands, the Scottish Borders, the Rhineland and the seaside.

Alison Moore’s first two novels, The Lighthouse and He Wants, were Observer Books of the Year. A third novel, Death and the Seaside, is out now. She is also an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Nottingham.

Castrating Rochester: John Wilmot's Manuscript Poetry
Thursday 16 November

This talk looks at the peculiarities of the manuscript canon of the poetry of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-80), and its examples in the collections at the University of Nottingham, not least the autograph manuscripts of Rochester's poems to his wife, which are more restrained in their expression than most of his writing. It will also mention the importance to Rochester studies of Vivian da Sola Pinto, a key figure in the development of the School of English at Nottingham.

Dr Adam Rounce is Associate Professor in English Literature at the University of Nottingham and an expert in Restoration and Eighteenth-century poetry and literature.


FILM SCREENING
‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ (PG), with introduction by Nottingham based performance poet Andrew Graves
Thursday 26 October, 7.30pm (1 hour 29 mins plus introduction)
Djanogly Theatre
Nottingham Lakeside Arts
Tickets £5 (£3 concessions) from the Box Office: 0115 846 7777

This award winning film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010), an honorary graduate of the University of Nottingham. Directed by Karel Reisz and produced by Tony Richardson, it had its UK release this month in 1960. Nottingham was used as the location for much of the exterior filming, and the novel’s anti-hero, Arthur Seaton, worked at the Raleigh bicycle factory.

The film will be introduced by Nottingham based performance poet, writer and film fanatic, Andrew Graves, who will examine the piece's themes, lasting appeal and the important part it played in the British New Wave cinema of the 1960s. Often cited as the hardest working poet in the East Midlands, Andrew is currently touring with his new book and Saboteur Award shortlisted show, God Save the Teen. He was also tutor of the Broadway film course ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down…’, which explored depictions of the working classes in British cinema.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://nottingham.ac.uk/manuscriptsandspecialcollections/exhibitions/collectedwords.aspx

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/manuscriptsandspecialcollections/exhibitions/online/robinhood.aspx

This online exhibition features examples from the tales of Robin Hood in the collections held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham. It also highlights resources for the study of the historical Sherwood Forest and its laws.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Archdeaconry Resources

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/collectionsindepth/archdeaconry/

The archive of the historic Archdeaconry of Nottingham is one of the most extensive manuscript collections held at the University of Nottingham Library.
It is a major research resource in the primary context of ecclesiastical court history, and touches also on many issues of local church estates and property, parish and community concerns, family structure and individual lives. For particular periods - such as the mid-17th century - analysis of the documents can enable historians to see how local patterns reflected national changes in religious observance.
These web pages provides a range of supporting material to assist researchers using the Archdeaconry of Nottingham collection.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Conflict

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/learning/conflict/

This website presents digitised copies and transcripts of original archive material to explore three periods of conflict: The invasion of England by William of Orange in 1688; the 1745 Jacobite rebellion; and Sir Henry Clinton's role in the War for America (the American War of Independence), 1774-1783. It includes commentary explaining the significane of the material. It is suitable for A-level, FE and HE students, and lifelong learners.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

D H Lawrence Resources

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/collections/dhl-resources/

A website giving information about the D H Lawrence Collections at The University of Nottingham Library. They form one of the major international research resources for the study of D H Lawrence (1885-1930), the well-known Nottinghamshire born writer, who was briefly a student at University College Nottingham in the early 20th century.
The website contains a range of supporting material related to Lawrence and his work, to enhance the understanding of his works both for serious students and general readers. These resources do not, at the moment, provide direct access to digital versions of the full texts of his writings or personal papers.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Laxton: Living in an Open Field Village

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/learning/laxton/

This learning resource contains images and transcripts of original archive materials relating to the village of Laxton in Nottingham, the only place in England which has retained the open field system of farming down to the present day. The website explores aspects of life in Laxton between 1635 and 1908. Despite the fact that Laxton was never fully enclosed, it was a typical example of a Midlands open field village and its history can therefore shed light on life in hundreds of similar places.
The website is suitable for GCSE, A-level, FE and HE students, and lifelong learners.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Laxton Open Field Village Teaching Plan

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/teaching/laxton/

This series of six lessons and activities for KS3 and GCSE explores Laxton, the last surviving open field village in England. The focus is on one individual (Joseph Rose), the wider Rose family, and how they lived in Laxton throughout the generations. What changed and what stayed the same? How typical was their experience on an individual, local and national level? The lessons can be used to explore issues around the Agricultural revolution, open field systems, arable and pasture land, strip farming, measurements of area such as acres and furlongs, manorial courts, the enclosure process, crop rotation and fallows.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Odour of Chrysanthemums: a text in process

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/Learning/Odour.aspx

This website allows researchers to study four different versions of D H Lawrence's 'Odour of Chrysanthemums'. It traces the development of this celebrated short story set in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire and based on Lawrence's experience of working-class life around Brinsley Colliery.
Three of the texts have been converted to electronic text format. The fourth is provided as digital image, this is the original proof with markings by Lawrence.

Creator

  • The University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Information Services and the D. H. Lawrence Research Centre

Publisher

  • The University of Nottingham

Online exhibitions

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/Exhibitions/Online/About.aspx

This webpage hosts digital versions of exhibitions based on the holdings of Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham. Exhibitions are mounted in the Weston Gallery of the D H Lawrence Pavilion, part of the Lakeside Arts Centre, four times a year.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Politics of the 4th Duke of Newcastle

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/learning/dukeofnewcastle/

This website presents digitised images and transcripts of original diaries written by the 4th Duke of Newcastle, and other original documents from the 'Age of Reform'.

It explores three themes: the South Nottinghamshire election of 1846; working class unrest: Luddism, Reform riots, and Chartism; and Catholic emancipation and the Maynooth Grant in Ireland. It includes commentary explaining the significance of these materials. It is suitable for A-level , FE and HE students, and lifelong learners.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Public Health and Housing

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/learning/healthhousing/

This website explores some of the problems facing the authorities and inhabitants of Nottingham in the mid-nineteenth century. Many of these problems - such as those caused by a growing population and the arrival of new industrial techniques - were also common to other towns. The website includes images and transcripts of original archive materials including parliamentary reports, borough records, correspondence, maps and photographs.
The website is suitable for GCSE, A-level, FE and HE students, and lifelong learners.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Public Health and Housing Teaching Plan

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss/teaching/healthhousing

Series of 5 activity plans for teachers, exploring Nottingham throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century. It is aimed at KS3 pupils looking at the Industrial Revolution and GCSE pupils looking at Medicine Through Time. The activity plans include evidence chosen from a selection of original documents relating to health, housing, slums, disease, cholera and medicine.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Research Guidance

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/ResearchGuidance/

These web pages aim to provide guidance and assistance for researching using original archives and manuscripts. There are currently eleven units: Dating Documents; Historical Weights and Measures; Using Archives; Accounting Records; Deeds; Deeds in Depth; Manorial Records; Maps and Plans; Medieval Books; Reading and Understanding Medieval Documents; and Caring for the Collections. Each unit uses examples from the collections held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Spotlight on the Collections

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/Exhibitions/Online/SpotlightOnTheCollections.aspx

These web pages feature six broad subject areas – such as health and travel – for which there is abundant research material in the University of Nottingham's manuscript and rare book collections. Each topic contains about seven themes. It introduces the subject with a brief text to support the images, transcripts of documents, and – in the case of the University’s history – a selective bibliography and chronology.

Creator

  • The University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections

Publisher

  • The University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections

Wives, Widows and Wimples

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ManuscriptsandSpecialCollections/Learning/MedievalWomen/Introduction.aspx

A web resource drawing on our medieval collections, featuring full-size digital images taken from stories of knights and their quests; works of learning and instruction in moral conduct; records of saints and of religious practice; and legal documents relating to landholding and marriage. There are transcripts and modern English summaries of all the handwritten documents. Suitable for students at A level or above, lifelong learners, and anyone interested in medieval history and culture.

Creator

  • Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham

Publisher

  • The University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham
Nottinghamshire
NG7 2NR
England

Website

www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss

E-mail

mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk

Telephone

0115 951 4565

Fax

0115 846 8651

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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