World Photo Day 2018

This coming weekend sees the return of World Photo Day for 2018. To celebrate, Special Collections and Archives staff have selected one of their favourite photographs from within the collections and explained why it is special.

Jenny Higham, Special Collections and Archives Manager

A147 Harold Cohen Reading Room

“As I’ve found it impossible to pick a favourite across all the collections, I thought I would choose this photograph of the main reading room in the Harold Cohen Library, taken for the firm of its architect, Harold Dod.  A recent deposit from the University’s Facilities, Commercial and Residential Services, the photograph shows the scale and style of the new building, funded by Liverpool businessman Cohen and opened by the former prime minister, Earl Baldwin of Bewdley on May 21st 1938.”

Katy Hooper, Special Collections Librarian

RPXXIIA.1.3

“This beautiful photograph album from the Rathbone papers shows May Rathbone at various young ages; the photographs, which are decorated with Victorian pen-and-ink drawings and/or studio props (from which historic photos can be dated), shows a determined little girl/young woman (the only child in her family to survive childhood), who later went on to become a doctor, mountaineer, and botanist.”

Jo Klett, University Archivist

D361/1/34. © Frank Neubert

“Sister Benn with a pair of forceps in an operating theatre, at Liverpool Royal Infirmary in the early-mid 20th C. What can I say?!”

Andy Sawyer, Science Fiction Librarian

PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“These are two of the most iconic photos in Science Fiction history: the first science fiction convention at Leeds Theosophical Hall in 1937.

The “group photo” is most of those attending, including Liverpool’s Eric Frank Russell, then at the very beginning of his writing career. And Les Johnson, Secretary of the Liverpool Science Fiction Group.”

L-R: Walter Gillings, Arthur C. Clarke, J. “Ted” Carnell. PX8721.B74 1937. ©Harold Godfrey

“The three unlikely suspects above are the three most important men in 20th century British Science Fiction.

Left to right: Walter Gillings, founder of the first British fan group who spent many years trying to establish a British science fiction magazine, which he finally did just before the Second World War.
Arthur C. Clarke, almost certainly the most famous British sf writer after H. G. Wells, then writing in fanzines and promoting the British Interplanetary Society. He had just moved to London (1936).
J. “Ted” Carnell, who after the war became editor of the influential NEW WORLDS magazine and later edited a series of “New Writings in Science Fiction” anthologies.

Without these three, it’s doubtful if the British would have had much of a presence in Science Fiction.”

Siân Wilks, Archivist (Cunard)

D42/PR2/1/97/F67

“Choosing just one photograph from the many thousands that can be found within the Cunard archive is an almost impossible task. With this in mind I have selected one of the few colour transparencies that can be found within the collection that show passengers dancing on board RMS Queen Mary. It looks like getting there really was half the fun!”

Niamh Delaney, Assistant Librarian (Special Collections)

P.170

“This image shows a family of Belgian Gypsies – Carlo Basili [or Vasili] and his children, at Barnet, Herts. It was taken by Fred Shaw, a member of the Gypsy Lore Societywho had met and photographed the family two years previously; he therefore had a friendly relationship with the family, and as a fluent speaker of various Romani dialects, was well known by Romany communities. Other examples of Shaw’s work are currently on display in Paris at the exhibition Mondes tsiganes: La fabrique des images (#MondesTsiganes @MNHI; more information can be found online here.)”

Josette Reeves, Archives Cataloguer

D587-1-4 [1912-1915]

“There are lots of photos of various sports teams in the University Archive, and many of them are posed shots of the teams holding their rackets/sticks/etc and looking terribly serious. So I love this one of the men and women’s tennis teams relaxing and drinking tea in Calderstones Park in around 1912 – they all look so happy. And just look at those clothes!”

Robyn Orr, Library Assistant

A241/F

“It was hard to pick just the one, but any photograph including a cat is a winner for me. This particular cat is having an examination of his back leg by the Vets at Leahurst Veterinary School, at some point between the 1960s and 1980s. His little shocked face says it all… You can see more Special Collections and Archives material relating to cats here!”

Michaela Garland, Graduate Library Assistant

D42-PR2-1-95-Q27 © Reuters

“This photo is really striking as it captures a moment in time when the Queen Elizabeth was undertaking her duties as a troopship. Perhaps these men were being transported into the chaos of WWII? It makes me wonder what they were thinking. This is probably also one of the few scenarios where being on the bottom bunk wouldn’t have been the most sought after option. I can’t imagine it being too much fun from the way the men are peeping out from the tiny lower bunks… who knows what would have been scurrying around under them? I also really like how the image is contextually ambiguous in that at first glance it could be just a candid shot of the men relaxing in their quarters, but as the troops are swigging their Pepsi Cola’s and the branding is front and centre, the image also comes across as being a very clever promotional tool.”

All of the above are available to view by appointment at Special Collections and Archives. Happy snapping!

‘Seeing Euclid’ at the Harold Cohen Library

Euclid’s Elements of Geography is the subject of a new display in the Harold Cohen Library. Throughout the summer, a network of exhibitions – ‘Seeing Euclid’ – will highlight the legacy of Euclid’s work in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, with displays of books and other artefacts from the first two hundred years of Euclid in print. Organised as part of the University of Oxford’s AHRC funded research project ‘Reading Euclid’, the exhibition is a collaboration between nearly thirty institutions across Britain and Ireland.

Written around 300BCE, Euclidean geometry has held sway in Europe for nearly two and a half thousand years. It has been used by surveyors to map fields and architects to design buildings, as well as being critically important to the teaching of mathematics at many different times and in many different places. Early thinkers turned to it as a source of philosophy, whilst later readers saw in it a monument to the genius of the Greeks, or an exercise for improving the mind. Nearly three hundred editions of the text appeared between 1482 and 1700 – with a particular resurgence in the seventeenth century – and more than 1900 copies of these editions survive in libraries and repositories across Britain and Ireland. As a consequence, this text represents an important meeting point in the history of mathematics, the history of ideas, the history of practice, and the history of the book.

The ‘Seeing Euclid’ website includes details of the displays at each of the participating institutions. The display at the Harold Cohen Library runs until the 15th July and is open to external visitors as well as members of the University, Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.

 

Items on display:

Contenta. Euclidis Megarensis Geometricorum eleme[n]torum libri… XV.

Paris: Henri Estienne, 1516

This is the earliest edition of Euclid’s Elements held by the University of Liverpool, and the first to be printed in France. Our copy was part of a British Museum duplicates sale of 1787.

Euclidis Megarensis, philosophi & mathematici excellentissimi, Sex libri priores, de geometricis principiis, Graeci & Latini

Basel: Johannes Herwagen, 1550

This item has been owned by a number of interesting characters, including royalty.

 

The elements of geometrie of the most auncient philosopher Euclide of Megara. Faithfully (now first) translated into the Englishe toung, by H. Billingsley, citizen of London.

London: John Day, 1570

This was the first English translation of Euclid. The edition boasts striking engravings, and a number of pop-up diagrams – which give the book a 3D, interactive aspect.

 

Euclides metaphysicus, sive, De principiis sapientiae, stoecheidea E.

White, Thomas

London: John Martyn, James Allestry and Thomas Dicas, 1658

This copy of a work by Thomas White (1593-1676) – English priest and scholar – contains an inscription by Dr. Sir Charles Scarburgh (1615-1694), physician to Charles II, James II, William III and Prince George of Denmark. Scarburgh was working on an edition of Euclid at his death, which was completed by his son in 1705.

More information about each of these items is available on the ‘Seeing Euclid’ website, and in the physical display.

 

Other works of Euclid at the University of Liverpool include:

Euclidis Elementorum libri XV. breviter demonstrati, opera Is. Barrow, Cantabrigiensis, Coll. Trin. Soc. Et prioribus mendis typographicis nunc demum purgati.

London: Abel Swall, 1687

This pocket-sized Latin edition, issued by English mathematician Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), contains the inscription of William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882), a Liverpool-born economist and logician. On the title-page are two further inscriptions: G. Stinton, E. Coll. Reg. Oxon, and Matt Walls.

 

Evclidis elementorvm libri XV. Græce et latine, quibus, cum ad omnem mathematicæ scientiæ partem, tum ad quamlibet geometriæ tractionem, facilis comparatur aditus.

Cologne: Maternus Cholinus, 1564

This early, compact edition has a number of ownership marks, many of which have been obscured – or in the case of a bookplate, torn out. There is also a pencil drawing of a building on one of the endleaves.

 

Euclid’s Elements of geometry. In XV. books: with a supplement of divers propositions and corollaries….Published by the care and industry of John Leeke and George Serle, students in the mathematicks.

London: George Sawbridge, 1661

This was the third complete edition of Euclid in English, and includes a reprint of the John Dee preface that first appeared in the 1570 translation. The edition also contains the first English printing of Euclid’s Data. With an engraved frontispiece portrait of Euclid and verse by G. Wharton:

World Poetry Day (1): International Women’s Day

This month we are celebrating both International Women’s Day (8th March) and World Poetry Day (21st March). Therefore, we are showcasing material held in the Special Collections and Science Fiction Foundation collections which contains poetry written by women who personally or professionally impacted greatly on their respective field of literature.

Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773)

Poems on Various Subjects was authored by Phillis Wheatley. Phillis was purchased as a slave by John Wheatley, a Boston Merchant and Tailor, in 1761. She was tutored by John’s children in reading and writing, and wrote her first poem ‘To The University of Cambridge, New England’ at the age of 12. She was relieved of her domestic duties by the Wheatley family, and encouraged  to continue working on her literature. An illustration of Wheatley by Scipio Moorhead, another Boston slave, is provided in the frontispiece; the below extract is taken from a poem within the volume written by Wheatley in return. Our copy belonged to one of the William’s of the Rathbone family (by date most likely IV or V), as signed on the title page. 

SPEC Y77.3.255

To S.M. a young African Painter, on seeing his Works (p. 114).
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live, 
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?

Radclyffe Hall, Rhymes and Rhythms (1948)

Rhymes and Rhythms was published posthumously in an edition of only 500 numbered copies in Milan. Our copy from the Zania collection is numbered as “5”. The text is provided in both the original language of English as well as Italian. Radclyffe Hall (1880-1943) is best known for her work The Well of Lonliness, which when published in 1928 was subject to a trial for obscenity and banned in Great Britain. A self-described “invert”, she lived with two long-term female partners during her lifetime, hence the dedication page inscription “Dedicated to Our Three Selves”.

SPEC ZANIA E68

Those Who Have Eyes… (p.61)
As I took my way down a certain street,
I saw a shop with a corpse of meat,
And a horse that hadn’t enough to eat,
And a cur that limped on neglected feet,
And a cat that rubbed its sores on a wall,
And a lobster that crawled about a stall,
And an organ monkey coughing and small.
But the sight that filled me with deepest rage, 
Was a nightingale in a six inch cage.

Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay (and various others), Five Finger Piglets: Poems (1999)

Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay contributed to this anthology for children, Five Finger Piglets: Poems. Duffy was appointed poet laureate in 2009, and she is the first woman, first Scot, and first openly LGBT person to hold the position; Kay is the third Scottish Poet Laureate, appointed in 2016, and also identifies as LGBT. Our copy of the anthology is held in the SPEC Patten series, as Brian Patten also contributed to this volume. The poetry is understandably centered upon many themes that would be familiar to children (such as friendship disputes at school and losing a ball in the neighbours garden), but, nonetheless, the volume is a excellently fun read for adults, too.

SPEC Patten 108 © 1999 Macmillan Children’s Books, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay

Excerpt from Dracula (p. 36-7), by and © Jackie Kay
I crawled along the pine floor to my father’s bed.
It was empty. Just a white pillow and a headrest.
My dad gave a large guffaw from the balcony. 

Took off his black cape; threw back his head, 
said, ‘Got you there didn’t I?
Okay. The Joke’s over. Back to your bed.’

Can you believe that? All I am asking is:
who needs imagination, a fear or a dread, 
when what we’ve got is parent’s instead?

Charlotte Brooke, Reliques of Irish Poetry (1816)

Reliques of Irish Poetry was first published in the late eighteenth century. Brooke (c. 1740–1793) was passionate in the preservation of Irish culture and heritage through translating traditional poetry. Our beautiful gilt-tooled calf-bound copy of the 1816 reissue includes an extensive biography of Brooke’s life, as well as poetry and prose in both English and Irish. The text contains poetry of varied types, including quasi-epic style heroics, elegies to loves lost, and odes to wars.

SPEC Y81.3.426

Elergy III, exerpt (p. 260, attributed by Brooke to Edmond Ryan)
For thee all dangers would I brave,
Life with joy, with pride exposing, 
Breast for thee the stormy wave,
Winds and tides in vain opposing.

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (2004)

As one of the most influential female Science Fiction authors of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) is best known for her fiction, including The Left Hand of Darkness (1969; which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970). However, in her 2004 collection of non-fiction essays The Wave in the Mind, she explores themes including the family, on being a woman, Tolkein, and writing. One particular interesting essay is her thoughts on stress rhythms in poetry and prose; she demonstrates, using various texts, the technique and necessity of reading with stress and rhythm in mind.

PX320.L34.W38 2004 © Ursula K. Le Guin

The observation of a pattern, even a arbitrary pattern, can give strength to words that otherwise would be bleating like lost lambs. (p. 78)

All the above can be consulted in the reading room. As usual, please do contact scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk for more information.

The Blind School: Pioneering People and Places

Three items from Special Collections & Archives have been included in a new exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, which explores the history of Liverpool’s Royal School for the Blind and the experiences of generations of its students.

The School, the first in Britain, was founded in 1791 by Edward Rushton. Born in Liverpool and apprenticed as a sea-boy at 11, Rushton contracted an eye infection on board a slave ship, an experience which left him both blind and with an interest in radical political causes.

Report of the state of the School for the Blind (Liverpool, 1817), SPEC Knowsley Pamphlet 241. Image courtesy of the Museum of Liverpool.

‘The Blind School: Pioneering People and Places’ is one of three exhibitions curated by History of Place, a national project run by Accentuate, which explores 800 years of disability history through eight different sites around the UK.

A group of volunteers working on the Heritage Lottery-funded project visited Special Collections & Archives as part of their research in 2016. The group consulted a number of items from the collection and later selected three items to appear in the final exhibition, all printed in Liverpool – An unselfish life: sermon preached at the Blind School Chapel (1878);  Report of the state of the School for the Blind (1817); and An address to the benevolent founders of the Chapel for the Blind (1828)The books are displayed alongside objects, spoken stories and a film made with visually impaired and blind students from St Vincent’s School in a narrative which challenges people’s attitudes towards blind people, both past and present.

The exhibition includes audio description, Braille, British Sign Language interpretation, and multi-sensory features, and is open at the Museum of Liverpool until April 15th 2018.

The launch event on 25 January 2018. Image courtesy of the Museum of Liverpool.

2017 retrospect

2017 was another busy year in Special Collections and Archives. To celebrate Burns Night, we have curated some of the highlights: collections that were conserved, catalogued, acquired, and the people whom we have been thrilled to meet and work alongside this past year.

February – Peers Symposium attendees

  • March – always a busy month for teaching classes, including the popular Children’s Literature module (see below photo). We also welcomed several visitors with special links to our collections, including a relation of Grace Wilson, the long term partner and wife of John Wyndham.

    March – Dr Esme Miskimmin leading a seminar using SC&A material for ENGL573 Children’s Literature module. ®McCoy_Wynne

  • April – Cunard archivist Siân Wilks worked hard to ensure that the catalogues for the Chairman’s papers (an excellent resource for business and maritime history) are available online; we hosted a meeting of members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association; our reading room reference collection overhaul was completed, undertaken by our former Assistant Librarian Lucy Evans and Archives Cataloguer Josette Reeves; and Special Collections and Archives Manager Jenny Higham delivered the session ‘Using Primary Sources’ for the Researcher KnowHow programme.
  • May –  filming took place in the archive for the UKTV Yesterday channel documentary series “Nazi Victory: The Post War Plan“, using University Archive material to explore the university life of a German student who was suspected of being a spy during WWII; we also installed a new exhibition: ‘Thomas Rickman (1776-1841) Architect and Antiquary’. The exhibition was curated by University of Liverpool academic Dr Alex Buchanan as part of a larger AHRC funded project. On Light Night, our Science Fiction Librarian Andy Sawyer interviewed John Higgins on stage at the Victoria Gallery & Museum to coincide with the Beyond Dredd and Watchmen: The Art of John Higgins.

    May – Thomas Rickman Exhibition

    May – John Higgins (L) and Andy Sawyer (R) chatting about John Higgin’s work

  • June – the first undergraduate open day of the year, at which staff were thrilled to speak to so many prospective students; and a large amount of Science Fiction material was transported to the Barbican Centre in London for their Into the Unknown exhibition (Science Fiction was certainly well travelled throughout the year in general).
  • July – many boxes from the Liverpool Poets archive were transported to London for the Southbank Centre exhibition The Mersey Sound at 50our reading room was refreshed through the acquisition of a new microfilm system, new specialist book rests, and new professional photographs were hung on the walls, giving a behind-the-scenes look at our collections and activities.

    July – a photograph of some of the beautiful spines and tooling work in our collections! ®McCoy_Wynne

  • August – we showed off our feline collections and friends for International Cat Day. Thankfully, all the pet cats featured in the blog post are dealing with their new found fame in a very grounded manner. Our University Archivist, Jo Klett, also completed a data cleanse of records to prepare for the launch of a new archives catalogue in the future.

    August – International Cat Day featured Oldham 173, The Tale of Tom Kitten

  • September – aside from greeting students both returning and new for the start of the 2017-18 session, we welcomed our new Graduate Library Assistant Michaela Garland to the team, bade farewell to Beth Williams for the Master of Archives and Records Management course, and former Graduate Library Assistant Robyn Orr took up the new post of Library Assistant, with responsibility for the day-to-day reading room service. The Unsettling Scientific Stories researchers visited us to consult the Science Fiction archive; and we also opened a new exhibition, Roscoe’s University: Liverpool Royal Institution 1817 – 2017, to celebrate the bicentenary of the Liverpool Royal Institution.

    September – Roscoe’s University: Liverpool Royal Institution 1817-2017 exhibition

  • October – we fittingly marked the 50th anniversary of the last voyage of the Queen Mary by showing on our blog the exciting new accessions donated that month; we hosted our Library colleagues to view our some of our new acquisitions in a Staff Open Afternoon; more enthusiastic prospective undergraduates visited us on the second open day of the year; SC&A staff took part choosing our favourite books for the Libraries Week fun on the Library Instagram; and these events were a final hurrah for our Assistant Librarian Lucy Evans, who left us to join the British Library as Curator of Printed Heritage Collections. She leaves a great legacy in many research-enabling catalogue records and on social media, including her work with the ERC funded TIDE project.

    October – D1169/1/2, The Queen Mary puzzle

  • November – we kicked off this month with a bang through a blog post on bonfire night; we also welcomed Niamh Delaney to the team as the Assistant Librarian, who has been very busy cataloguing our Special Collections material and keeping up SCA’s profile on social media since her arrival; we were also pleased to welcome visitor Christopher Graham, Vice President of the Council of the University of Liverpool, to view material from his time as President of the Guild; further, after the event The Bicentenary of Liverpool Royal Institution: A Celebration, we hosted attendees to view our Liverpool Royal Institution exhibition.

    November – Attendees of the Bicentenary event viewing the Liverpool Royal Institution material in our exhibition area.

    November – an eager attendee viewing the Liverpool Royal Institution exhibition.

  • December – and finally, our festive season and winter themed material took centre stage on both the University Library twitter (#livunisca) and a board displayed at the entrance of the Sydney Jones Library; we launched our SC&A merchandise (available to purchase at our reception during opening hours); and our collections reached dizzying heights to celebrate International Mountains Day 2017.

    December – The merchandise table located in the SC&A reception area – available to purchase Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:45pm.

    December – SC&A Merchandise, including notebooks, pencils, erasers, magnets, bookmarks, and more!

December – one of our lovely Special Collections items (reference JUV.530) found on the #livunisca twitter advent

We wish our readers and visitors a happy new year and we look forward to welcoming  old and new faces in 2018. To arrange an appointment, please do email us on scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk and our staff will be happy to assist.

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.

Continue reading

This Week’s War: 145

Aside

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]

This Week’s War: 137

Aside

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.