Roscoe’s University: Liverpool Royal Institution 1817 – 2017

To celebrate the bicentenary of the Liverpool Royal Institution, opened by William Roscoe on 25 November 1817, an exhibition is on display at the Sydney Jones and Harold Cohen libraries until the end of the year.

In addition, a reading of selected passages from Roscoe’s 80-page opening address will take place in the School of the Arts Library between 3 and 5pm of the 100 year anniversary date, with a tour of the exhibition. The free public event is hosted by Eighteenth-century worlds.

The display in the Harold Cohen cases, including the Toucan from within William Swainson’s Zoological Illustrations (1820) .

The Harold Cohen Library is showcasing scientific books from the Library of the Liverpool Royal Institution, including a selection of coloured plates of insects and birds which made use of the new technique of lithography. The plate of a toucan from the first volume of William Swainson’s Zoological Illustrations (1820; above image) recalls the Google doodle for Swainson’s (224th) birthday in 2013 (below image).  John Blackwall’s A History of the Spiders of Great Britain and Ireland (1861-1864) describes 300 spiders and illustrates 272 of them. It was the life’s work of the Manchester businessman, who retired to North Wales to complete it. The copy in the Liverpool Royal Institution Library was one of the first to be borrowed when rules changed to allow the fee-paying subscribers (“proprietors”) to take books home. The borrower, Rev. H. H. Higgins, had a professional interest, having arranged the invertebrate display in Liverpool’s Free Public Museum when it moved to William Brown Street.

The exhibition in the Special Collections and Archives exhibition area in ground floor Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library.

Papers of James Wishart

The works of James Wishart, former Head of Composition at the University of Liverpool, have been archived and catalogued by Ellie Pickles, a Music undergraduate working in SC&A as part of the School of the Arts work experience placement scheme. The project, which has taken place over the past seven weeks, has involved cataloguing and listing compositions, letters and posters belonging to Wishart into an Excel spreadsheet, as well as organising the documents physically.

Ellie’s catalogue of the Wishart papers will now be available to search on the SC&A archives catalogue, and the works can be consulted in the SC&A reading room.

The catalogue has been created to coincide with a performance of James Wishart’s 23 Songs For A Madwoman, hosted by the Lunchtime Concert Series in the Victoria Gallery & Museum on 15th November at 1pm.

This Week’s War: 172

Aside

“Went with L. Dale to Dawson’s + bought a lot of things for soldiers’ parcels.”

Entry dated Friday November 9th 1917. Diary of Alfred Osten Walker [LUL MS 9]

This Week’s War: 171

Aside

“More terrible news for you! While spending those few days in shell holes, I developed a passion for the army issue of rum. The conditions were so cold and wretched and the entertainment so poor, that rum certainly engenders a little warmth. So I used quite to look forward to the form of an officer with a rum jar looming out of the darkness, though I could not swallow the stuff under ordinary circumstances. As a matter of fact, though the rum feels warm when trickling down the throat, its genuine warming properties do not compare with those of a cup of hot tea, even to one like myself to whom spirits are a new joy.”

Entry dated November 9th, 1917, War Diary 1917 – 1919, by Aleyn Lyell Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].

Remember, remember, the 5th of November: Guy Fawkes and gunpowder in the collections, from 1679 to 1990

This weekend sees the British tradition of Bonfire Night (or, Guy Fawkes Night) taking place across the country, marking 407 years since the plot to destroy Parliament and assassinate James I was foiled. Although the plot was concocted by 13 members, the name synonymous with the event is Guy Fawkes (or Guido Fawkes); most likely as he was the individual discovered by authorities guarding the gunpowder. The event holds much traditional cultural interest to this day – for instance, The Houses of Parliament are still ceremoniously searched by the Yeomen of the Guard for before the State Opening. To celebrate, we have selected some of the best BANGing works from the collections here at Liverpool University relating to Fawkes and Fireworks.

The Gunpowder-treason … its discovery; and … the proceedings against those horrid conspirators… (1679)

Parliament declared the 5th of November as a day of commemoration and thanksgiving (this was enforced until 1859). For many years to come pamphlets were published on the anniversary date of the event, to remind readers of the consequences of disloyalty to the king and parliament. This pamphlet (SPEC Knowsley 118), published in 1679, printed the confessions of the conspirators and the speech of James I.

The art of making fireworks… (c. 1810)

Although bonfires were a common sight, fireworks were not a popular mode of celebration on the 5th of November until the 1650s onward. This locally printed pamphlet (SPEC G35.14(3)) from the early nineteenth century demonstrated how to make fireworks using gun powder and various other household objects with detailed instructions and colour diagrams (a health and safety nightmare by modern standards).

Guy Fawkes; or, The fifth of November (c. 1840)

This small Protestant chapbook (SPEC Oldham 157(17)) produced in the mid nineteenth century was aimed at retelling the story of Guy Fawkes for children. Chapbooks became a popular method to disseminate tales with a moral meaning to children. The main characters in this particular publication build a guy for a bonfire, and the narrator uses the opportunity to provide a religiously-driven message – the conspirators of 5th of November are presented as Catholic sinners, who acted against the authority of the King.

V for Vendetta (1990)

Skipping forward around 150 years: although still synonymous with celebration, fireworks displays, and bonfires, the anti-establishment sentiments of the 5th of November hold much cultural weight in modern literature and media. V for Vendetta is a DC Comics series by Alan Moore and artist David Lloyd (also developed into a 2006 movie). The series follows V, an Guy Fawkes mask wearing anarchist, who rebels against the dystopian United Kingdom setting of the fascist dictatorship Norsefire. In the Science Fiction Foundation Collections held here, we have a 1990 copy, the first edition printed in the U.K. (PN6737.M66.V46 1990).

As usual, the items featured in this post are available to consult in the reading room here at Special Collections and Archives. Please email scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk for more information. However, our reading room is silent study; please leave all fireworks at home.

New Accession: Cunard Associated Deposits

Earlier this month SC&A received a donation of material commemorating the Queen Mary and her launch in 1934 and memorabilia from a Sylvania Mediterranean cruise in 1965. These items were donated by Kit Syder in memory of her Grandparents, Tom and Hilda Roby who collected the items through their connection with the John Roby Ltd Company (later Roby & Utley) and as passengers on a Cunard cruise. This accession is particularly timely as today marks 50 years since the Queen Mary made her final voyage from Southampton to her new home in Long Beach, California.

D1169/1/1 – The Journal of Commerce and Shipping, Telegraph (1 Oct 1934)

It is perhaps difficult today to appreciate how significant the Queen Mary was when she entered service, for not only was she the largest and fastest ship the world had ever known but she was also the most expensive. Items within this new accession help to demonstrate the impact the Queen Mary had on the country and her wide-ranging appeal.

They include a supplement from The Journal of Commerce and Shipping, (as the first ship to be launched by the newly formed Cunard White Star Line Ltd. the Queen Mary dominated news headlines); a scale model by Bassett-Lowke Ltd, complete with printed instructions and a fold-out scale drawing; a hand-held Queen Mary puzzle from the ‘R. J. Series of Popular Puzzles’ and collectable confectionery and cigarette cards that used illustrations to demonstrate the scale and features of the Queen Mary to the public and potential passengers.

D1169/1/2 – The Queen Mary puzzle

The new accession also includes items relating to Thomas Utley (Rainhill) Ltd (a brass foundry which made fittings for the shipping industry) in the form of a promotional booklet and catalogue, staff photograph and news clipping. The promotional booklet as shown was produced by Thomas Utley (Rainhill) Ltd. Rainhill Liverpool to highlight a selection of the sidelights and windows supplied to the Queen Mary.These items will be of particular interest to those who are researching suppliers to the Queen Mary and will complement Sir Percy Bates’ correspondence that can be found within the Cunard Archive’s ‘Chairmen’s Papers’.

D1169/2/2

 

Pictured below is just one of the menu cards collected by Tom and Hilda Roby on their Mediterranean cruise on the Sylvania in 1965. Further items from this cruise include copies of the Cunard Ocean Bulletin and even Cunard-themed cocktail stirrers, matches and a bar of soap!

D1169/3/1 – Dinner menu card from a Sylvania Mediterranean Cruise (15 Feb 1965)

The full catalogue for this new accession (D1169) will be available online via the Cunard webpage.

This Week’s War: 170

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“News of last few days confirms that Germans and Austrians have completely routed the [Valiais]? forces and are marching down Venezia. They claim to have captured 200,000 men and 1,000 guns.”

Entry dated Saturday 3rd November 1917, Diary of John Glasier [GP/2/1/24].

This Week’s War: 169

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“We are still in our muddy camp: it was raining all morning while we were on parade. It is fair now, after dinner, but the weather is very unsettled. However, it is not so very cold, and a crowded bell tent is quite warm at night.”

Entry dated Oct. 23 1917, War Diary 1917 – 1919 by A. L. Reade [ALR. A. 1. 2].

This Week’s War: 168

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“Mrs B. called again to tell me that 2 bombs had been dropped close to… Milgate, last night. Heard the reports about 10.30 last night followed by a 3rd one which shook the house (probably in the fields somewhere.. One bomb fell rather near Clifford Farmer’s house in Leeds).”

Entry dated Saturday October 20th 1917. Diary of Alfred Osten Walker [LUL MS 9].