International Cat Day

Today we are feline very good in Special Collections and Archives – August 8th 2017 is International Cat Day. As we are cat-loving librarians and archivists, we have selected a taster of our best cat themed items from the Children’s books, Science Fiction Foundation Collections, Cunard Archive, and University Archive fur you to enjoy.

Children’s Literature

SC&A houses more than 7000 pre-First World War children’s books, of which the tale of mischievous cats throughout is a common feature. In The Tale of Tom Kitten, Tom and his siblings Mittens and Moppet play outside in their best clothes, only for them to be stolen by ducks (Oldham 173). Tit, Tiny, and Tittens: The Three White Kittens are a handful, too – they get themselves in all sorts of predicaments (JUV 308:60).

Oldham 173

JUV.308:60

The History of Whittington and His Cat is the feline rags to riches story we are all familiar with. The copy held here in Special Collections is in the form of a chapbook, a small paperback for children which would sell for a cheap price and provide a story with a moral message. This copy also includes the alphabet, allowing children to practice their reading skills from the most basic stage (Oldham 43).

Oldham 43

Science Fiction Foundation Collections

Continuing the theme of children’s literature, the below novel from the Science Fiction collections is written for the young adults audience in the Bantam Action series. In this short novel, robot cats are created to clean-up the city, but are hijacked and used for evil deeds (PR6061.I39.C99 1996). Cats also crop-up regularly in Science Fiction as representation of earth-like normality and domesticity on space ships (for presumably a similar purpose as a ships cat; see below). A personal favorite is Jonesy, Ripley’s ginger tom, from the Alien franchise.

PR6061.I39.C99 1996

Cunard

Cats were commonplace aboard ships for many reasons – they caught vermin, provided comfort to crew, and even predicted storms through their enhanced sensitivity to low pressure environments. Some ships cats have become famous; ‘Unsinkable Sam’, a German cat, survived the sinking of three ships during World War II! From the Cunard archive here, we see below Captain Rostron’s cat and her adorable kittens aboard the Mauretania, from the Cunard Magazine during the mid 1920s (D42/PR5/12).

D42/PR5/12. Cunard Magazine, Vol. 16.

University Archive 

A prominent deposit within the staff papers of the University Archive are the papers of Professor (and Sir) Charles Reilly. One of the most important figures in the history of twentieth-century architecture in Britain, Sir Reilly dominated architectural education and had a profound influence on architectural practice. The below photograph shows Sir Charles Reilly holding a rather uninterested Timoshenko the cat, in the garden of his home in Twickenham during the the World War II era (D938/2/15).

D938/2/15. Photograph by Louise Sedgwick ©

The Special Collections and Archives Cats

From the top left to the bottom right: Audrey and Lilly (Jo Klett, University Archivist), Clara (Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian), Chester (Robyn Orr, Library Assistant), Yan, Barry, and Hamilton (Jenny Higham, Special Collections and Archives Manager), and Reginald Ecclefechan (Lucy Evans, Assistant Librarian – Special Collections).

All of these items are available to view right meow in the Special Collections and Archives reading room (except our pet cats – we wish, though…). Please do see our website for more information on visiting us.

Science Fiction on Tour

Quite a number of books and other items from the Science Fiction Foundation Collection are on migration this year.

Some have only just nipped across the campus – comic books and novels illustrated by Liverpool artist John Higgins are now part of Beyond Dredd, the exhibition at our own Victoria Gallery and Museum until October 2017.

Others have gone further afield. A collection of books and magazines are being prepared for Guernsey Library’s “Engage Warp Drive: Science Fiction from the 1950s to the Present Day” which is planned for on 22nd September 2017  –  31st December  2017.  Currently Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire is celebrating the sleepy village of Midwich – disrupted by alien infiltration in John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos – as part of their Creating the Countryside  exhibition (until 18th June). Material on display includes a typescript of the novel and the typewriter on which Wyndham wrote it:

More books, by Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Marge Piercy (and more) back up Durham University Library’s Time Machines exhibition (until 3rd September).

The jewel in the crown however, is probably the 100+ books that make up part of the massive Into the Unknown exhibition at London’s Barbican Centre (3rd June – 1st September). Each section of the exhibition – which also features films and installations by acclaimed artists – is introduced by a display of books from the Science Fiction Foundation Collection, as well as manuscript material from the Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, and Olaf Stapledon archives.  Following its stint at the Barbican, the exhibition will embark upon an international tour, including Denmark and Greece.

The exhibition’s catalogue contains a chapter from Science Fiction Collections Librarian Andy Sawyer, who was one of the exhibition’s advisory team. Andy’s introduction to science fiction on the exhibition’s blog can be found at http://www.barbican.org.uk/bravenewwords/  .

Books from the Science Fiction Foundation Collection on display at the Barbican Centre’s “Into the Unknown” exhibition.

Books from the Science Fiction Foundation Collection on display at the Barbican Centre’s “Into the Unknown” exhibition.

Typescript from Olaf Stapledon#s LAST MEN IN LONDON on display at the Barbican Centre’s “Into the Unknown” exhibition.

Typescript from John Brunner’s STAND ON ZANZIBAR on display at the Barbican Centre’s “Into the Unknown” exhibition.

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Liverpool Port Trade Committee 

Notice to Dock Labourers of Military Age

The Board of Trade have given instructions to the Port Labour Committee to the effect that after May 18, 1917, men of Military Age working at the Docks in the undermentioned capacities can only hold Board of Trade Certificates of Exemption from Military Service on condition that they are employed as regular Weekly Servants:-

Dock Labourers                                  TimeKeepers

Receivers                                            Crane Drivers

Weight Takers                                     Checkers

Coal Heavers                                     Foremen Stevedores

Wharfingers                                       Foremen Dock Labourers 

Cunard Archive [D42/C1/1/18]

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This mornings papers announced the most unexpected news that a revolution has taken place in Petrograd. […] It takes the breath away! The most powerful autocracy in the world’s history overthrown in a day.

Friday 16th March, Diary of John Bruce Glasier. [GP/2/1/24]

 

 

 

Holford archive features in Royal Institute of British Architects’ new exhibition

“Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square” is a major new exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), offering a re-examination of two iconic architectural schemes proposed for the same site in the City of London. Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised Mansion House Square project is explored alongside its built successor, James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates’ No. 1 Poultry.  The design history of the two schemes highlights the differing movements and influences of the mid-20th century. Intended to replace an eclectic block of listed buildings, both became subjects of passionate debate, and high-profile inquiries.

A major new exhibition, Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square, at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London. Photo credit: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

Mies van der Rohe, one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century, designed his proposal for Mansion House Square at the very end of his career, between 1962 and his death in 1969. The glass tower of 19 storeys and accompanying public square and underground shopping centre would have been Mies’ first and only project in the UK. After a protracted planning process, the scheme was finally rejected in 1985. Lord Palumbo then approached James Stirling, fresh from his success at Stuttgart with the Neue Staatsgalerie in 1984, to conceive an alternative vision for the site. James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates’ No. 1 Poultry was completed in 1997, two years after Stirling’s untimely death. It has recently been awarded Grade II* listed status; while it still divides opinion, the building was designed with a consciousness of both its historic surroundings and Mies’ earlier design.

On display from Special Collections & Archives are two letters from the archive of William Graham Holford, Baron Holford of Kemp Town (1907-1975), architect and town planner. Holford studied at the University of Liverpool’s School of Architecture under Professor C.H. Reilly, and in 1936 was appointed to the Lever Chair of Civic Design, a post which he held until becoming Professor of Town Planning at University College London in 1948. During his career Holford sat on many committees, including the Royal Fine Art Commission, the National Joint Council of Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Builders, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the Royal Society of Arts. He was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1960 to 1962; amongst personal and consultancy papers, records of international visits, lectures and articles, his papers include records of the Institute during his presidency. These detail his activities and the influence he was able to bring to the questions of architectural politics of the time (D147/RBA).

The letters exhibited are one written by Mies van der Rohe to Holford on 15th February 1963, claiming “to be building such a building in London would indeed be an honour” (D147/C39/1/(ii)), and another dated August 1969 written by Peter Carter on the death of Mies van der Rohe (D147/C39/1/(i)). One of the numerous criticisms levelled against Mies’ scheme for Mansion House is that he took little personal interest in the project, which the 1963 letter helps to disprove. The correspondence is also indicative of the nature of the two mens’ collaboration, and, alongside digital images of Holford drawings also on display, provide an important insight behind the scenes of this much publicised project.

Holford papers D147.C39.1.(i) – letter from Peter Carter to Holford on the death of Mies van der Rohe.

The exhibition, which was rated 4 star in a recent Guardian review, opens on 8 March and closes on 25 June 2017.

Using Primary Sources: new open access e-textbook launched

Special Collections & Archives has been a key contributor in “Using Primary Sources”, a newly launched Open Access teaching and study resource that combines archival and early printed source materials with high quality peer-reviewed chapters by leading academics.

Edited by Dr Jonathan Hogg, Senior Lecturer in Twentieth Century History at the University of Liverpool, with over 30 academics contributing, this project is a collaboration between Liverpool University Press, the University of Liverpool Library and JISC, and is available for free on the BiblioBoard platform.

Special Collections & Archives has provided images for several chapters across the Medieval, Early Modern and Modern anthologies. Dr Martin Heale’s chapter on Popular Religion features high resolution images from some of SC&A’s illuminated medieval manuscript treasures, including the Dance of Death scene in MS.F.2.14, a French Book of Hours from the late 15th century.  Death is represented as a rotting corpse, followed by a procession of a pope, an emperor and a cardinal. The depiction is intended to have a moral message: a reminder the end is the same for all, regardless of their wealth or status. The accompanying chapter provides the context for the interpretation of such primary sources, so as to better understand attitudes to popular religion during this period.

Dance of Death, Book of Hours (Use of Chalons), LUL MS F.2.14 f82r

Both the Cunard archive and the Rathbone papers feature in Dr Graeme Milne’s chapter on Business History, whilst items from our children’s literature collections have been selected for Dr Chris Pearson’s chapter on the Environment. Some of these items are also used in teaching classes, where students have the opportunity to see and interpret the volumes for themselves.

A. Johnston, Animals of the Countryside, 1941. Oldham 485

Title page of A. White, The instructive picture book, 1866 JUV.550.2

From the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ephemera collected by Science Fiction author John Brunner to a 14th century English Book of Hours, “Using Primary Sources” is both a valuable showcase for SC&A’s collections, and an important open access resource for students.

The textbook can be accessed via the Library catalogue, or directly from: https://library.biblioboard.com/module/usingprimarysources.

You can read more about the project on the Liverpool University Press website, as well as an interview with editor Dr Jon Hogg.

Follow “Using Primary Sources” on Twitter @LivUniSources to find out when new themes are added to the e-textbook. Forthcoming chapters for launch in 2017 include Science & Medicine, Gender and Political Culture.

Peers Visiting Writer 2017:

On 17 February, colleagues in Hispanic Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, celebrated the 2017 Edgar Allison Peers Symposium with a day devoted to Spanish poetry. The Annual Peers Lecture was delivered this year by Luis García Montero, who is not only a Professor in Spanish poetry at the University of Granada but also an award winning poet (winner of the Premio Nacional de Poesía, Premio Nacional de la Crítica, Premio Loewe, and other awards.).

García Montero is a very socially committed and engaged poet (the Spanish Civil War features heavily in his poetry), and he is also deeply influenced by the work of the ‘Generación del 27’, including Damaso Alonso, Jorge Guillen, Pedro Salinas, Peers’s contemporaries. Peers himself invited Luis Cernuda to the University to give talks when Cernuda was in exile in the UK.

Speakers and delegates from the Symposium were invited to view a selection of items from the Edgar Allison Peers collection in Special Collections & Archives, alongside related Spanish Civil War era items from the E. J. Burford and Manuel de Irujo collections. Highlights included the contemporary press cuttings relating the escape of the University of Liverpool Summer School students from Spain, and Burford’s eyewitness account from Barcelona on the outbreak of war in July 1936. Attendees were also delighted to discover a scarce 1936 English translation of Spanish poetry by Rafael Alberti, A Spectre is Haunting Europe – Poems of Revolutionary Spain 

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“On the 24th of February, for the first time since the commencement of trench warfare on the Western front, the enemy began a movement of retreat… the area of ground already yeilded by him [Germany] is already great”.

The British Front in the West: February 1917 [SPEC S/D525 (P.C. 286)].

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Germany in reply to allies statement of terms, declares they will begin a wholesale war upon all shipping – rental vessels included. This created a serious situation with United States: and darkens peace hopes.

Wednesday 31st January 1917. Diary of John Glasier [GP/2/1/24].

 

The Mersey Sound

Photograph (n.d.) Photograph of Brian Patten, Adrian Henri, and Roger McGough. McGough/12/2/2

Photograph of Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten (n.d) McGough/12/2/2 Copyright: Mark Marnie

Influenced by the success of the Beatles and the resultant media interest in Liverpool, the heady days of the mid-1960s saw Penguin Books take the decision to devote a volume of their prestigious Penguin Modern Poets series to three virtually unknown young writers. The Mersey Sound’s optimistic print run of 20,000 copies was expected to last ten years.  Published in 1967, it sold out in three months, and went on to become the one of the bestselling poetry collections of all time.

As fresh, exciting and irreverent as the decade itself, the anthology “brought poetry down from the dusty shelf and onto the street”. The three voices of Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough, known popularly as the ‘Liverpool Poets’, were key figures in the city’s burgeoning underground culture.  Linked by art schools and cultural happenings rather than academia, each poet has their own individual style, but are united in their influences and the immediacy of their subject matter and language. Their popularisation of poetry, and interest in its connection with art and music, marks an important development in post-war poetics, and lent a peculiarly English (and indeed Liverpudlian) twist to the Beat movement.  As former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has written, “The Liverpool poets are important because the early appearance of the work marked an unusually dynamic and original movement in British poetry, and because their continuing achievement has been loved by a large public”.

Fifty years since The Mersey Sound was first published, we are celebrating the enduring popularity of Adrian Henri, Brian Pattern, and Roger McGough with a Special Collections and Archives exhibition.  The notebooks, typescripts, artwork, posters and photographs, taken from our archives, and collected by the poets themselves, piece together the story of the three unique poets from Liverpool and their rise to national acclaim.

Adrian Henri, stanza from the poem 'The New Our Times' later published in The Mersey Sound. Henri C/1/4

Adrian Henri, stanza from the poem ‘The New Our Times’ later published in The Mersey Sound. Henri C/1/4