Shakespeare Shelf-Help

“I can see he’s not in your good books,” said the messenger.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“No, and if he were I would burn my library.”             (Much Ado about Nothing, William Shakespeare)

On the 23rd April, a literary date famed for being Shakespeare’s birthday, World Book Night will take place for the fourth year running. Since its inception in 2011, World Book Night, with the assistance of volunteer ‘givers’ has been responsible for issuing thousands of free books to individuals who lack the opportunity to read, whether it be because they do not have access to books or are unaware of the enjoyment that can be gained from reading. It is no coincidence that the organisers of this event have chosen this symbolic date to celebrate the reading and giving of books.

One of the twenty titles chosen for World Book Night 2014 is 59 Seconds, a self-help book written by Professor Richard Wiseman. At first glance this may seem like an unusual choice of book when contrasted with other selected titles, such as After the Funeral by Agatha Christie or The Boy with the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera. Importantly however the range of books selected encompasses a variety of genres, demonstrating the accessibility of literature and the notion that there really is something for everyone. 59 Seconds is for example described as being ‘easy to dip in and out of’ and providing ‘simple but effective solutions to every day problems’.

Hall V.8

Hall V.8

As previously mentioned World Book Night shares the 23rd April with William Shakespeare. It is appropriate then to devote this post not only to the celebration of reading but also to commemorate the birthdate of one of the greatest playwrights. Many Shakespeare Collections are held in Special Collections and Archives, containing numerous items of significant interest. The R. G. Morton Collection is particularly enagaging as it holds the second folio of Shakespeare amongst other literary treasures. The Lilian Hall Shakespeareana Collection and the Gerald Henry Rendall Collections are equally unique and intriguing, encompassing Shakespearean ephemera, annotated books, and numerous pamphlets.

More information about World Book Night and how to get involved can be found on their website. In addition to the previously mentioned Shakespearean material in our Special Collections and Archives, our online catalogue can be searched to find further items of relevance to the playwright.

Lorna Goudie – Library Assistant

Movember Mondays: 4

Our fourth and final Movember Monday introduces a style there might still be time to grow – the pencil moustache. Modelled here by a stylish couple from the Cunard archive, alongside the most popular moustaches from this month’s previous weekly posts.

Read more on Movember moustaches and support the University’s Wolfson Centre and Library staff teams.

Photograph of Cunard couple

Couple enjoying Cunard hospitality, photograph from the Cunard Archive


Photograph of Liverpool University Dental School students

Liverpool University Dental School students, Moustache of the Week: 3

Heinrich von Wlislocki, Gypsy Lore Society, Moustache of the Week: 2



Principal Rendall of University College Liverpool, Moustache of the Week: 1


Movember Mondays: 1

For the four Mondays in November, we are exploring Special Collections & Archives through the medium of moustaches: ‘Movember Mondays’. This week, our gallery highlights the neatly-clipped style sported by leading Liverpool figures in the worlds of business and education, as featured in the Cunard Archive and the University Archive.Read more on Movember moustaches and support the University’s Wolfson Centre and Library Staff teams. 

Lord Royden

Lord Royden (Cunard Archive: D42/PR2/5/15)

Thomas Royden, 1st Baron Royden (1871-1950), was the eldest son of Thomas Bland Royden, of the Liverpool shipbuilders Thomas Royden & Sons. The firm’s last ship was launched in 1893, but Thomas Royden went on to become a director of Cunard Steam-Ship Company from 1905, and of Cunard White Star Ltd from 1934, until his death.


He was successively deputy Chairman (1909-1922) and Chairman (1922-1930), giving up his parliamentary post as Coalition Conservative MP for Bootle on his latter appointment. He was known as a keen sportsman – naturally including rowing and sailing.

Cunard Archive D42/PR2/5/1 Portrait of Colonel Denis H. Bates

Cunard Archive D42/PR2/5/1 Portrait of Colonel Denis H. Bates

Colonel Denis Haughton Bates (1886-1959) was from 1929 Chairman of T & J Brocklebank Ltd, a Liverpool shipping firm which was later part of the Cunard Line. The original Brocklebank firm had been founded in 1801 by the sons of Captain Daniel Brocklebank, a privateer in the American War of Independence.Colonel Bates’s moustache appropriately reflects his military status, as an Honorary Colonel in the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry, and Colonel in the Territorial Army. He was awarded the Military Cross and mentioned in despatches for his service during the First World War.

Principal Rendall of University College Liverpool

Principal Rendall of University College Liverpool

Canon Gerald Henry Rendall (1851-1945) was the first Principal of University College, Liverpool (1881-1897) and a Classical, Biblical and Shakespearean scholar.

His archives include Christmas cards, menus and invitations relating to social events in Liverpool 1880-1897, including the sprightly cartoon – and raffish moustache – shown below. The Medical Faculty attached to his coat tails represents the incorporation into University College, Liverpool of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary Medical School (the predecessor of the Waterhouse-designed old Royal Liverpool Infirmary building which now houses the Wolfson Centre).


LUL MS 3.56(5): cartoon portrait of Gerald Henry Rendall