February: UK LGBT History Month, a guest post by Darren Mooney

Thursday 27th July 2017 will probably be a fairly quiet day here at the University of Liverpool. The excitement of the previous week’s graduation ceremonies will have dissipated, and many will be looking forward to a relaxing summer. However, Thursday 27th July 2017 also marks the 50th Anniversary of when The Sexual Offenses Act 1967 came into effect in England and Wales, legalising same-sex relationships between men (lesbian relationships were not illegal).

In 1957 the ‘Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution’ published the Wolfenden Report, which recommended that male homosexuality should be decriminalised. However, it took another 10 years of public debate and parliamentary discussion until the Sexual Offenses Act was officially passed. This decriminalisation was limited in scope, as it only applied if there were two participants aged 21 or over, and the act took place in private. Failure to comply with these rules could potentially result in 2-5 years imprisonment.

Since then a lot of things have changed. Laws have been repealed, and new legal rights created, and social attitudes towards gay people have been transformed.

Back in 2011, we here at the Diversity and Equality team decided to research if, how, and when the issues of ‘homosexuals’ had come up here at Liverpool University. When I was a student in the early 00’s, I had friends here at Liverpool who were active in the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans Committee’ in the Guild. We went on lobbies of parliament and NUS LGB Conferences, they ran campaigns and lobbied for new Guild Policies on LGBT issues. So, I knew at least that there was some activity going on from the early 2000’s to today.

So I took myself off to Special Collections and Archives in the Sydney Jones Library to see what they had, I spoke to the Guild and went through old minute books, and I even went through my own archive in case there was anything of use.

Gay Times, Issue 115, April 1988. Darren Mooney Personal Archive.

Gay Times, Issue 115, April 1988. Personal Archive of Darren Mooney.

The outcome of all of this was an exhibition which I called Pink Brick [a play on Red Brick]: LGBT Histories of the University of Liverpool, in the Victoria Gallery and Museum. A website was also developed to archive the exhibition materials and make available some of the references used. This is still a project in development, and each LGBT History Month we make sure that at least some of it is updated.

So, what did we find in Special Collections and Archives in relation to Liverpool University?

The earliest reference to ‘homosexuals’ I came across was an article in the Guild Gazette newspaper, whereby the columnist ‘Cornus’ undertakes some investigative journalism to find out what the ‘homosexual victims’ think about the idea of decriminalisation:

“Should homosexuality be made lawful? Do we heed the plaintive calls of O- W- [Oscar Wilde] and other cultured sodomites or do we maintain our steadfast disgust and intolerance against such practices?

This was 27th November 1961, the same year the Beatles first performed in the Cavern, the Runcorn Bridge was opened, and the pill becomes available on the NHS (Guild Gazette, Tuesday 27th November 1961, reference R/LF379.5.G95.U55).

Gay Times, Issue 154, July 1991. Personal Archive of Darren Mooney

Gay Times, Issue 154, July 1991. Personal Archive of Darren Mooney.

In 1971 a group of students who were members of the Liverpool Campaign for Homosexual Equality (C.H.E) group floated the idea of setting up a student society. They had their first stall at the 1971 Fresher’s Fair, and on the 15th May 1972 the Guild Council formally approved the establishment of the ‘Homophile Society’, what is now called the LGBT Society. In the 1980s the Liverpool University GaySoc often held discussion groups regarding prominent LGBT issues, which are as significant to LGBT+ people today as they were back then.

A161 67 Bi Coffee

A161/67 Liverpool University GaySoc Flyer, dated April 1982.

A161/67 Liverpool University GaySoc Flyer, dated 1981

A161/67 Liverpool University GaySoc Flyer, dated 1981

Nationally, the NUS passed the first comprehensive motion on gay rights in April 1973 [‘NUS Supports Gay Rights at Exeter Conference’ Guild Gazette, 8th May, 1973] , and held the first ever Gay Rights Conference in October of the same year [‘What they said at the Gay Lib Conference’ Guild Gazette, 31st October 1973]. The NUS continued to hold events, such as the “N.U.S Gay Rights Campaign National Week of Action”, as shown in the below flyer created by the Liverpool University GaySoc.

A161/67 Liverpool University GaySoc Flyer, dated 6th May 1976

A161/67 Liverpool University GaySoc Flyer, dated 6th May 1976.

Also held at Special Collections and Archives, the David Owen archive also provides an insight into the support for Gay rights from the SDP party in the 1980s. Below is the Gay Social Democrat, marketed as the “official journal of Social Democrats for gay rights”, and published as a quarterly newsletter.

D709/3/8/2/2 Gay Social Democrat newsletter

D709/3/8/2/2, Gay Social Democrat newsletter, dated June 1984

As a personally strong advocate for gay rights, Lord Owen is here outlining in the Gay Times the principles of the Liberal party, which will uphold legal rulings to support gay rights and focus on eliminating social stigma.

D709/3/18/6/34, Gay Times, Issue ... p. 32.

D709/3/18/6/34, Gay Times, Issue 91, April 1986, p. 32.

Since 2000, we have seen the ban on LGBT people in the military lifted, the age of consent reduced to match that of straight people, employment protections introduced, the right to marry, the right to legal transition, and the right to adopt introduced.

Darren Mooney is the Equality and Diversity Officer at Liverpool University.

You can explore some of the items referenced in this post further on the LGBT Histories of the University of Liverpool project website. As always, the items featured in this post that are referenced as Special Collections and Archives are available to view in our reading room, Sydney Jones Library.

New collection: Professor Hair

The papers of Paul Hair (1926-2001), history professor at the University of Liverpool, have now been catalogued. This large collection includes a wealth of material on Hair’s various research interests, teaching positions, and roles in historical societies.

HAI/6/22: Professor Paul Hair

HAI/6/22: Professor Paul Hair

Hair, originally from Northumberland, won a scholarship to the University of Cambridge in 1943 though his education was cut short by the Second World War; for his National Service he worked as a haulage hand in a coalmine. He returned to Cambridge to gain his undergraduate degree in 1949, before moving to the University of Oxford for postgraduate study. Perhaps inspired by his wartime experiences, his thesis was on ‘The Social History of British Coalminers 1800-1845’, supervised by the renowned socialist historian G. D. H. Cole.

As well as his extensive research into various facets of British social history, Hair is perhaps best known for his expertise on African language and history. It was to Africa that he turned his attention after university: between 1952 and 1965, Hair worked at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, the University of Sierra Leone, and the University of Khartoum in Sudan.

HAI/6/20: Hair (centre) and six history honours students at the University of Khartoum, April 1965

HAI/6/20: Hair and six history honours students at the University of Khartoum, April 1965

Starting as a lecturer in African history at Liverpool in 1965, Hair rose to become the Chair in Modern History (this position later became the Ramsey Muir Chair). From 1982 he was the first head of the new history department created by the merger of the medieval and modern departments. He retired from the University of Liverpool in 1992, though he remained an Honorary Senior Fellow.

This Week’s War: 117

Aside

What I have seen of our own men, and others, who have come back from the front, either disabled or on leave, has impressed me deeply. The seriousness, the self-sacrifice, the courage, and above all the cheerfulness drawn not from the surface but from deeper spirits, has reconciled me to much loss and too much sorrow; though every letter that I have had to write to parents when boys have fallen costs more more in effort and in pain.

29 October 1916, Letter to Dr. John Williams by his son, Dr. David Williams [University Archive, D733/1/4-5]

This Week’s War: 114

Aside

About Oct: 7th Norton & I were put on draft, but as my papers were through I was unable to go… We were both rather ate up about it.

7 October 1916. Diary of Professor Charles Wells, Emeritus Professor at Liverpool University [D81/1].

2015 in retrospect

Burns Night is a suitably celebratory prompt to look back on the Auld Lang Syne of 2015 in Special Collections & Archives and remember some of its highlights – the enthusiasm of students, staff, and visitors; new accessions and new discoveries in the collections; and collaborations with colleagues around the University, throughout Liverpool and further afield.

  • January – our first external visitors were the North West branch of CILIP, visiting the Science Fiction collections.
  • February – SC&A hosted a visit for volunteers from the National Trust’s Jacobean Speke Hall.
  • March – the grandaughters of Basque nationalist Manuel Irujo de Ollo visited the Irujo collections after attending a seminar in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. The great-nephew of Irujo’s contemporary, Professor of Spanish Edgar Allison Peers, visited with a current Liverpool Spanish student who worked at his publishing company on her year abroad.

Basque-2

Other visitors in March included authors Neil Gaiman and Cheryl Morgan, who explored the worlds of fantasy and comics with Science Fiction Librarian Andy Sawyer, and volunteers at the George Garrett archive.

neilgaimanvisit-2sm

IMG_0917At the University’s School of the Arts, Jenny Higham, SC&A Manager, introduced SC&A’s Renaissance resources at the Department of English seminar ‘Making Knowledge in the Renaissance.’

Inc. Ryl. 63.OS Claudius Ptolemaeus Cosmographia

  • April – Preparations for 2015’s Cunard 175 celebrations got underway in April with the BBC Inside Out team filming material from the official Cunard Archive; SC&A’s new exhibition cases were installed and our copy of Robert Hooke’s Micrographia was measured up for exhibition at the Victoria Gallery and Museum, to celebrate its 350th birthday.

SPEC Y81 3 1637

  • May – Liverpool’s annual Light Night on 15 May launched the LOOK/15 International Photography festival including Gypsy portraits from the Fred Shaw photograph collection. Cunard 175 culminated in the Three Queens choreographed sailing on the Mersey over the Bank Holiday weekend, with news items and interviews with Jenny Higham on the BBC North West Tonight and Granada News.

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  • June – the Cunard theme continued with a creative writing workshop inspired by the Cunard Archive, and both the Fairbridge Archive and the Science Fiction collection hosted external visitors.
  • July – LIHG, CILIP’s specialist Library history group took advantage of the CILIP conference at Liverpool’s St George’s Hall to include a visit to SC&A, visiting the Cunard exhibition and seeing highlights from the early printed book collection chosen for their provenance history.
  • August – the family of Sir Harold Cohen, eponymous founder of the Harold Cohen Library saw his Library, his archive, and the pen that made it all possible.

Phil Sykes with Mrs Penny Gluckstein and Amanda Graves in the Library Special Collections and Archives

  • September – the ships have sailed, but the posters on display in the Victoria Gallery & Museum keep the Cunard glamour alive.

CunardPoster-1w

  • October – more well-travelled visitors included Stanisław Krawczyk from the University of Warsaw, to give a talk on fantastic fiction in Poland, and Eric Flounders, Cunard’s former Public Relations Manager, spoke to a packed Leggate theatre audience on his 27 years of experience of Cunard.
  • November – as part of Being Human 2015, Will Slocombe (English Department) and Andy Sawyer presented Being Posthuman at FACT, and the Knowledge is Power exhibition opened at the VGM.

Knowledge is Power

  • December – SC&A hosted a thank you visit for the Friends of the University, who generously funded a programme to clean and box the incunable collection

Sydney Jones incunables 1

New accessions and newly catalogued collections, now available for research and teaching use, include: University Archive EXT – 70 years of papers from the Extension Studies Dept. 1935-2005 and D1042 (1968-2013) papers of the Academic Institution Management Service; CNDA – Cunard memorabilia from the Cunard Associated Deposits; D709/6 – new additions to the David Owen Archive; LUL MSS and LUL Albums – listings of scrapbooks, commonplace books and other individual volumes previously donated to the University Library; foreign language science fiction; 17th-century pamphlets from Knowsley Hall and 19th-century pharmacological books. Find all these and more by searching the Archive and Library catalogues on the SCA website

 

Utopia Calling – Remembering Eleanor Rathbone

January 2016 sees the 70th anniversary of the death of the celebrated social reformer Eleanor Rathbone. To commemorate this event, an exhibition of items from Special Collections & Archives’ Rathbone Papers seeks to highlight her life and times.  Eleanor’s political career, social campaigning, family and legacy are examined through photographs, political manifestos, correspondence, publications and ephemera.

Eleanor Rathbone (centre) and other Liverpool suffragists campaigning in support of the pro-women’s suffrage candidate in the Kirkdale by-election, 1910. RP XIV.3.101

Eleanor Rathbone (centre) and other Liverpool suffragists campaigning in support of the pro-women’s suffrage candidate in the Kirkdale by-election, 1910. RP XIV.3.101

Born in Liverpool and educated at Kensington High School, London and Somerville College, Oxford, Eleanor was the second daughter of William Rathbone VI (1819-1902) and his second wife Emily Lyle (d.1918).  The Rathbone family were a Liverpool dynasty of non-conformist merchants and ship-owners, philanthropists, politicians and social reformers, artists and patrons of the arts.  From 1788 until 1940 the Rathbone family home in Liverpool was Greenbank Hall, which was bequeathed to the University in 1944.

In 1909 Eleanor Rathbone became the first woman elected to Liverpool City Council, standing as the independent councillor for the Granby Ward until 1935.  During this period she was a prominent campaigner for the cause of women’s suffrage, and in 1909 helped to establish the Liverpool Women’s Suffrage Society.  In the years after the First World War, Eleanor became a leading voice in the movement which saw the introduction of widows’ pensions in 1925 and the equal franchise legislation of 1928.

In 1929 Eleanor Rathbone was elected as the Independent MP for the Combined English Universities, a position she held until her death in 1946. She was one of the first politicians to realise the potential danger from the Nazi party in the 1930s, and was a relentless critic of the government policy of appeasement. Instrumental in the establishment of the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees in late 1938, Eleanor was a formidable campaigner on behalf of refugees from Francoist Spain and Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Building on her earlier social work, Eleanor was a vocal advocate for the introduction of family allowances, more commonly known as ‘child benefit’.  The Family Allowance Act was passed in 1945, with Eleanor instrumental in ensuring the benefit was paid directly to mothers.

The exhibition is open during SCA opening hours (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-4.45pm), and is also accessible at weekends during the core Sydney Jones Library opening hours of 12pm to 5pm.  Please ask for access at the main Sydney Jones Library reception desk.  The exhibition runs until April 11th 2016.

University of Liverpool: A Brief History of Panto Day

The University of Liverpool has rich history of charitable events and endeavours. One of the most amusing ways the University has raised money in the past is the annual Panto Week, founded accidentally in 1897 when students ‘processed’ down from campus to a local theatre to catch the winter play. After the roaring success (and rowdiness) of the first ‘procession’ the day steam-rolled into an annual Panto day, filled with elaborate costumes and designated marching routes. And later (when a day just wasn’t enough) it became a fully fledged, ball-filled Panto week.

Students swiftly took over the organising of this event in 1901 and, during the 1906 Panto Day, the Student Guild started a Panto Committee which was solely responsible for the organising of the Panto every year. The annual day became as much a part of the academic year as any lectures or exams, as can be seen through a review of the 1908 Panto Day in Sphinx, the student magazine:

“So Panto Night has come and gone – it always does that; and this year everyone had good reason to be pleased with the Committee’s efforts…It need only be said that it was no better or no worse than it is accustomed to me. Some of the gags were good; some were not. I only heard the latter. But people seemed to enjoy themselves. Everybody was pleased. Everybody was rowdy; and after all that’s the object of Panto Night. Roués of four panto nights standing (ought it to be sitting?) and green freshers like myself, all of us did our best to proclaim the fact that a year is no year without a Panto night, and that after all it is Panto night which is the typical student event much more truly than the Soiree or even a lecture.” -The Sphinx: Feb 19 1908 p141 Ref: SPEC R/LF3795.5.u55.

Initially the annual Panto day was merely for the amusement of the University and those (unfortunate) members of the public who watched in bemusement as students marched down the hill to the Shakespeare Theatre on Fraser Street, rather than to raise money for charity. It continued this way until World War One, when the annual Panto day was suspended. After the war, the Guild President (a medic who had served in the war) decided that the profits of the Panto Day should be given to the Liverpool Hospitals. In 1925 Sphinx began releasing an annual special edition entitled Pantosfinx. These were sold from a week before Panto Day and all profits also money went to the Liverpool Hospitals:

“Although she has condescended to be comic she has withal a very good business head, and is never so persuasive as when she goes collecting for the Hospitals. So we send her down to you in the hopes that you will buy, even unto a second or third edition. The greater the circulation the greater our contribution. You may think it is not worth sixpence. It may not be, to you; but it certainly is to the Hospitals. If, on the other hand, you think it is well worth sixpence, don’t let it stick at that but hand the seller a shilling, or even a pound note – there are no limits to what a seller will take, and the Hospitals will certainly be grateful for it.

From cover to cover this is a student production. We have pulled many people’s legs, and must confess that we have rather enjoyed doing it. There is satisfaction, as in Rugger, in ‘bringing one’s man down’ – it is all in the game. Nor do we make apologies for anything. If we once started to apologise we should never end. Our advertisers, our printers, prominent citizens, the police, and the general public all suffer us gladly. Their patience is exemplary: and that, as the guide remarked, ‘brings us back to the Liver Building, Ladies and Gentlemen’ – and to what we were saying at the beginning.

It only remains, therefore, to issue this IMPORTANT WARNING to all Merseyside:
PANTO DAY IS ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3RD.

With your co-operation, and a clear sky, we shall double last year’s collection.”- Panto Sphinx: 1928 p3. Ref: R/LF379.5.p19.u55.

Pantosfinx was filled with amusing articles and curious items. All advertisements were paid for by local businesses but produced by students, often leading to witticisms, cartoons and innuendo, rather than professional adverts. However, this was in keeping with a broader style and tone, evident in its comedic guides to Liverpool, free ‘gifts’ and short stories. Pantosfinx was a magazine filled with joyful enthusiasm, all the more obvious for the fact it was for a good cause.

sphinx upload

Pantosfinx: Top Row Advert and article from 1928 Pantosfinx, Bottom Row Article from 1929 Pantosfinx. Ref: R/LF379.5.P19.U55

The University, and its students especially, took pride in the charitable aspect of Panto Day. Happily shown in the 1931 Pantosfinx is an article showing the new ambulance some of the money had helped to procure for the city:

Article from 1931 Pantosfinx. Ref: R/LF379.5.P19.U55

Article from 1931 Pantosfinx. Ref: R/LF379.5.P19.U55

Students also took these magazines and, in the name of good fun and charity, wandered around the city dressed in ludicrous costumes selling Pantosfinx, thus raising vast amounts of money for the Liverpool Hospitals (averaging over £4000 a year in the 1930s).

Students collecting money for Panto Day and the Liverpool Hospitals. Top left: 1923 D411/2/1, Bottom left: 1950 D784/1/5, Right: 1949 D784/1/2.

Students collecting money for Panto Day and the Liverpool Hospitals.
Top left: 1923 D411/2/1, Bottom left: 1950 D784/1/5, Right: 1949 D784/1/2.

Then came the day itself: a day generally filled with departmental floats and costumes processing throughout town before finally making it to the theatre for the pantomime. Each department would be judged on its designs and how much money it had raised for charity before one would be chosen as winner.

Panto Route from 1928 Pantosfinx, ref: R/LF379.5.P19.U55

Panto Route from 1928 Pantosfinx, ref: R/LF379.5.P19.U55

Initially the University would pile into the Shakespeare Theatre on Fraser Street to watch the annual Panto. However, when the Liverpool Empire Theatre opened the Panto Committee started renting out the entire theatre for the night, where the students would put on their own spoof panto alongside the theatre’s annual pantomime. With this came the annual panto programme, a hilarious parody itself of the theatre programme structure:

 

Various Pages from the Panto Programmes, 1929-1931. Currently unlisted.

Various Pages from the Panto Programmes, 1929-1931. Currently unlisted.

In 1933 the annual Panto Day became Panto Week and the necessity of panto attendance was lost (though many balls and events were added to the itinerary). The panto spoof continued, and Pantosfinx was still well sold. After the formation of the NHS proceeds were donated to a children’s medical charity instead of the Liverpool Hospitals. Panto week later became known as ‘RAG’ (‘raise and give’) week. The University of Liverpool still has an annual charity Panto hosted by Liverpool RAG society, a student society at the university, that still fulfils the need to do ludicrous and brilliant things to raise money for charity (https://www.facebook.com/LiverpoolRAG/) .

Explore Your Archive: Women in Higher Education

Archive Discovered ImageAs part of the 2015 Explore Your Archive campaign, this post delves into the University Archive to focus on the formative years of the University of Liverpool. In particular, we examine a series of records documenting the experiences of the earliest women students and staff to enter higher education here during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The University of Liverpool was part of the vanguard for progressive gender equality in nineteenth century higher education, and the evidence is available in the University Archive. Provisions for female education, hitherto sparsely availably, were incorporated in the federal Victoria University’s Charter from the beginning.

Women’s Access to Education

Established in 1881, the federal University from which Liverpool would later emerge admitted both male and female students from its opening session in 1882. In his comprehensive history of the University, Thomas Kelly remarks on the “important and surprising feature [of] the high proportion of female students’, being about two-fifths of the total number of day students in the first session, and over half in the second and third sessions (1882-4)”[1].

Liverpool obtained its Charter as an independent provincial university in 1903. Convocation was carried over from the original Charter, but the education of women was now extended to all faculties, without the previous exclusion from the Faculty of Medicine. The first female medical student was Phoebe Mildred Powell from Knotty Ash, who is listed in the Register of Undergraduates[2] as matriculating on October 27 1905, aged 19. After completing her initial studies in 1911, she became a Doctor of Medicine in 1912.

The amended Charter of 1903 also confirmed that women were not only eligible to take up any place as students, but also as members of staff. The first female staff members were Miss S. Dorothea Pease, appointed Mistress of Method in 1899, and her successor in 1902, Miss C. C. Graveson[3]. Miss Pease was also the Warden of University Hall from 1899 to 1900.

Women’s Accommodation

Although early provision of student residences at Liverpool was minimal, one of the earliest available Halls was in fact a residence for female students. University Hall – initially home to just five residents when opened in 1899 – was originally situated on Edge Lane, but was relocated in 1904 to nearby Holly Road, Fairfield. Within the Archive is a collection of materials pertaining to the Hall, including publications from the students’ University Hall Association, plans for building redevelopments, correspondence regarding operations and finance, student membership of the Association, Committee Minutes and – most interestingly – the press coverage of the Hall’s building extension in 1927.

As noted above, the female student population grew healthily along with the newly-independent University of Liverpool, and by the end of the 1920s the accommodation at University Hall needed to expand. In the inaugural publication of the Magazine of the University Hall Association at Whitsuntide 1927, contributors Nancy Nixon, a senior student, and Marian Poppleton, a fourth-year representative, noted the swelling ranks of the Hall (now housing almost 130, rather than a meagre five) and what this meant for the mark made on the wider University by its female cohort:

“[W]e intend to hold our own at the University. In games and swimming, we have already done so, and we have moreover won the Silver Cup this year in the University Competition in choral singing”. […] As it is our boast that we can rival any residential Hall in existence, we have a high standard to maintain.”[4]

Extension plans for the Hall came to fruition in November 1927, with the extension being officially opened by Sir Oliver and Lady Lodge on 11 November. Photographs from the occasion held in the University Archive show Sir Oliver being presented with a Louis XV snuffbox by MP and former Treasurer of the University Hugh Rathbone, and Miss Emma Holt, one of the many female benefactors of the scheme.

Sir Oliver Lodge at the 1927 University House Opening Ceremony

Sir Oliver Lodge at the 1927 University House extension unvieling. (Archive reference P8/4).

Sir Oliver’s impassioned address to his student audience was reported in the Liverpool Post and Mercury the following day, and clippings have been retained in the University archive alongside the photographs. Lodge spoke of his belief in female enfranchisement and access to opportunities:

“[Women] are taking their place in the work of the world, and they are entitled to share in such responsibility as is common to citizenhood.”

The Archive holds further evidence that, even aside from the occasional visiting dignitaries, life in Hall for these women was not without excitement: “The year was not without its thrills,” reports student Kathleen Wheelock, in her précis of the 1925-6 academic year. “We had a great scare one night, when a man was found under a fresher’s bed […]!”[5]

The 1926-7 cohort of University Hall residents.

The 1926-7 cohort of University Hall residents. (Archive reference P489.)

This archive comprises an array of record types, formats, ages and topics. A little exploration can take you a long way into history, be that history institutional, cultural, social or personal.

Here we have explored a mere snippet of those histories documented in the University Archive. More information about the University Archive and its arrangement can be found online at the SC&A website. What might you discover?

[1]Kelly, Thomas. For Advancement of Learning. The University of Liverpool 1881-1981. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press (p. 58).

[2] Archive reference S2012.

[3] Kelly (p. 116).

[4] Archive reference P8/6 (p. 9).

[5] Archive reference P8/6 (p. 7).

New Accession: student portfolio of architect Michael Bottomley

In September 2015 the University Archives received the student portfolio of the late architect and artist Michael Bottomley. Michael was a student of the Liverpool School of Architecture between 1945 and 1949. He was elected an associate member of The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1949.

D1132_ribacert

He later became a partner in Haigh Architects of Kendal, with whom he had worked a student placement during 1947. In addition to his work as an architect he was also an accomplished artist, working in watercolour and pastel and capturing the changing character of the historic town of Kendal during his lifetime.

D1132_busshelter

Michael’s student portfolio contains architectural drawings and plans for various projects on which he worked during his time at Liverpool University. The drawings form a diverse and interesting collection, often showing a high level of draftsmanship,  they stand not only as testament to his artistic talent but also represent a fascinating snapshot of the teaching practices and high quality of student architects’ work during this period.

D1132_house

 

New Exhibition: Accessions Old and New

Published and archival material from the University and Science Fiction collections is currently on display outside the Special Collections and Archives (SCA) reading room, as part of our current exhibition highlighting ‘Accessions Old and New.’

Recently acquired archives relating to science fiction authors Harry Harrison and John Brosnan complement SCA’s extant collection of published works by these writers, and several of their books and manuscripts are now on display. Items from the Harrison archive on view include story ideas for the comic Flash Gordon (Harrison wrote the daily and weekly scripts for this comic from 1958 to 1968), and an early outline of his book The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World (1972). Outlines and drafts produced by Brosnan also feature in the exhibition, including material relating to an unpublished sequel to his novel Mothership (2004), produced shortly before his untimely death in 2005.

One of SCA’s most recent acquisitions is the collection of Joel Lane, a noted writer and critic of horror, dark fantasy and occasional science fiction. As well as a selection of his books, other more peculiar-looking items lurk amongst the display cabinets…

British Fantasy Award for best collection, awarded to Joel Lane's 'The Earth Wire' (1994). The award represents Cthulhu, the fictional entity created by H. P. Lovecraft.

British Fantasy Award for best collection, awarded to Joel Lane’s ‘The Earth Wire’ (1994). The award represents Cthulhu, the fictional entity created by H. P. Lovecraft.

British Fantasy Award for best short story of the year, awarded to Joel Lane's 'My Stone Desire' (2008).

British Fantasy Award for best short story of the year, awarded to Joel Lane’s ‘My Stone Desire’ (2008).

These awards are amongst a number won by Lane for his poetry and stories. Their presence in SCA’s exhibition certainly makes people look twice!

One of the display cases is also dedicated to the Allotts: Miriam and Kenneth, former English professors at the University of Liverpool, writers and literary scholars. As well as material relating to their poetry and plays, the exhibition features a small selection of letters to the Allotts from the likes of Graham Greene, Philip Larkin and Sylvia Plath.

Our ‘Accessions Old and New’ exhibition, which also includes items relating to Charles Sydney Jones, will be up until the end of 2015.