The Papers of William Crabtree: the Peter Jones building

William Crabtree graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool in 1929, having studied under Professor Charles H. Reilly. His final year thesis was a design for a department store in Oxford Street.  

As a result of Crabtree’s work during his degree, Charles Reilly suggested to his friend John Spedan Lewis, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, that Crabtree be given the commission to design the new Peter Jones building.

Crabtree’s papers dating from 1933 to 1940, covering the period when Crabtree worked as an architect on the Peter Jones building and Crabtree’s time as a consultant architect for the John Lewis Company, have recently been added to the University Archive.

Print of the Peter Jones building.
CRB/2/7. Print showing the Peter Jones building.

The Peter Jones building is named after Peter Rees Jones (1842–1905), the son of a Carmarthenshire hat manufacturer who developed a flourishing retail business, the success of which was reflected in the five-story red-brick store that stood on the site of the present Peter Jones building. After Peter Jones’s death in 1905, the business faltered and the store was purchased by John Lewis, who handed it over to his son John Spedan Lewis in 1914. 

By the early 1930’s, Spedan realised that Peter Jones, with its old Victorian layout, needed refurbishment. John Slater and Arthur Moberly were appointed as joint architects, together with Crabtree, with Charles Reilly engaged as consultant.

The Peter Jones building, completed in 1939, is celebrated as an example of the Modern Movement in Britain. Crabtree was influenced heavily by leading Modernist designers, having studied Mendelsohn’s Schocken stores in Germany. Peter Jones was the first property in London to use the glass curtain wall effect, creating a fluid exterior, and the interior was illuminated by lightwells.

Letters
CRB/1/2. Examples of letters from manufacturers, including discussions of samples of glass and other materials.

William Crabtree’s papers, donated to Special Collections and archives in November 2019 by Crabtree’s son (Dr. John Crabtree), include correspondence between Crabtree and manufacturing and engineering companies, discussing topics such as the building design and materials, as well as many letters between Crabtree and Charles H. Reilly

Letters from Charles Reilly
CRB/1/3. Examples of correspondence between William Crabtree and Charles Reilly, discussing details of the design of the Peter Jones building, the design of the John Lewis building in Oxford Street, London (never built) and other architectural projects.

Also included are minutes, agenda papers and memorandums from committees governing the development of John Lewis building projects, that offer a fascinating insight into the design and building process.

Building Committee Agenda Papers
CRB/2/2/1. John Lewis Partnerships Building Committee agenda papers.

The catalogue for the papers of William Crabtree is available online.

Richmond, P., ‘Later Architectural Work: 1918–1939’, in Marketing Modernisms: The Architecture and Influence of Charles Reilly (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2001), pp. 162-176.

‘Retail therapy: with sympathy and imagination, a well-loved London landmark has been given a new lease of life by radical alteration and thorough internal revision.’ The Architectural Review, vol. 215, no. 1288, June 2004, p. 88+.

New exhibition: Binned, banned, bombed: selection and survival in Special Collections & Archives

Have you ever wondered why there is what there is in Special Collections & Archives?

Our collections are a fascinating mixture of what survives physical degradation, individual actions, historical events and official censure. But just because something has survived for a long time doesn’t automatically mean it has a place in Special Collections & Archives.

The survival of printed books and archival collections usually contains an element of serendipity; a modicum of good fortune which means they have been able to transcend neglect, wilful destruction, environmental dangers and the censure of authority. But there is also the hand of the librarian and archivist in evidence, selecting and preserving through careful management to ensure the items are kept secure and made available for years to come in a way that is appropriate to both the resources available and the intellectual content of the broader collections.

Our new exhibition displays a range of items from the collections to provide an insight into some of the issues we deal with whilst working to ensure our collections are cared for and made available to facilitate your research and requests. 

For more information on the exhibition, please see our website here.

Visit us anytime between 9:30am-4:45pm Monday – Friday at the Ground Floor Grove Wing of the Sydney Jones Library to view the display, no appointment is needed. Also, keep an eye on our twitter for information on special events focused around the material used in the exhibition.

The Graduate papers of Norah Dunphy. Architectural Drawings.

Twenty-eight architectural drawings from Norah Dunphy’s time as a student at the University of Liverpool and in employment in the North-East have recently been added to the University Archive.

Norah Dunphy was a student of the Liverpool School of Architecture. Graduating in 1926, she was the first woman to obtain the degree of Bachelor of Architecture in the country. She studied architecture under Professor Charles Reilly and obtained a first-class certificate in civic design under Professor Abercrombie. Norah Dunphy was also the first woman in the country to be employed as a town planner, appointed as Town Planning Assistant to the Tynemouth and North Shields Corporation in 1931.

The drawings were donated by Norah Dunphy’s daughter, who attended an event organised by the School of Architecture to highlight the achievements of their female graduates ( https://alumni.liv.ac.uk/news/stories/title,1123305,en.html ).

The catalogue for Dunphy’s architectural drawings is available online. If you would like to book an appointment to view these drawings, or if you have material that you wish to donate to the University Archive, please email us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk.

The Papers of Frank W. Walbank

The following is guest blog post written by Emilio Zucchetti (PhD candidate at Newcastle University). Emilio visited SC&A throughout the summer of 2019 as part of an internship offered by his funding body, Northern Bridge Consortium.

“I agreed on an internship within Special Collections and Archives, promising that I would catalogue the papers left by Frank William Walbank (archive reference D1037), Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool (1951 – 1977). At first, I thought that it would be a great job for an internship. I was not too excited because I barely knew Walbank’s work, and he is not one of the authors with whom I have to be constantly in dialogue for my own research, since I focus on the late Republic. On the contrary, Wallbank worked mainly on the Hellenistic Age. He is remembered as the “Polybius Man” (how Mary Beard called him in an article for The Times Literary Supplement, 29th May 2013) because his most important work is a three volumes commentary of Polybius’ text that occupied him between 1944 and 1979. Dedicating thirty-five years to Polybius, producing the commentary and a plethora of academic articles expanding on some details, made him probably the greatest expert on the subject of the 20th century.

Photograph of archive boxes containing the LRI archive
Archival boxes in Special Collections and Archives

Even though I knew about some interesting adventures in his personal biography, I was still expecting to find correspondence and notes about Polybius and the Hellenistic age, depicting a rigorous scholar, to the point that I pictured him to be quite boring. Well, I was terribly wrong. Letters of colleagues asking him about passages or details in Polybius constitute indeed an important part of the archive, together with many detailed notes on bibliography in several languages (including Russian and Hebrew). On top of this, however, a very complex figure emerged. A good man, certainly, but also a very political man, involved in anti-fascist activities and part of the Communist Party in 1938-9; a Marxist in analytical terms, until very late in his life (though his research has never been held back by doctrinal positions). Some of the important documents in the archive were indeed mentioned in his Hypomnemata, a memoir composed in 1992 and covering the years between his birth (10th December 1909) and the end of WWII. The archive gives us all the possibility to brush his memoir against the grain, to complete his reluctances, to extend the narrative to the years he did not manage to cover (and for which he had prepared a long set of memorialistic notes, conserved in the archive).

Spending an entire summer in Merseyside could be quite tough, notwithstanding how lovely is Liverpool, with his great music and foodie culture – especially if you are used to the Italian countryside, where I grew up. However, even with a very wet and sometimes cold summer the archive helped me keeping my energy level high. I enjoyed going through the documents, creating this catalogue, looking up which articles or books was he commenting on, finding scholars’ names I knew before and learning some new ones. To make everything work better, and immerse myself in Walbank’s world a little more, I visited his houses, where he lived in Liverpool and Birkenhead: a very curious form of tourism, I reckon. I met many wonderful academics, whom I only knew by name (and I was somewhat frightened of), such as John K. Davies, Bruce Gibson, Robin Seager, Christopher Tuplin, and, most important of all, Dorothy Joan Thompson, distinguished Cambridge scholar who happens to be Frank Walbank’s daughter. All of them gave me a nuanced image of Wallbank, telling me memories and stories, jazzing up my picture of him, and listening to me, rambling excited about what I was finding in the collection.”

Emilio’s detailed catalogue of the Walbank papers is available, please do contact scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk with any queries.

New Exhibition: Liverpool University Press: ‘Forward-looking for 120 years’

This exhibition celebrates the 120 year anniversary of the conception of the Liverpool University Press (LUP) in 1899. Drawing on archival material held within the Liverpool University Press archive and LUP publications held within Special Collections and Archives and the University Libraries, this exhibition seeks to document and display the key points in the rich history of the Press.

As with the scholarly communities it serves, LUP’s fortunes have waxed and waned over many decades but the unfailing commitment of Press staff, authors and editors, and a wider community of scholars who understood the distinctive and important contribution of university press publishing, have helped to lay the strong foundation on which LUP stands today.

Publishing more than 150 books a year, 34 journals and a number of digital products, and still the only university press to have won both The Bookseller and IPG awards for Academic Publisher of the Year, Liverpool University Press has been widely acclaimed for its willingness to embrace change. To that end, the team at LUP have chosen to celebrate the future as well as the past in 2019 with the strapline ‘Forward-looking for 120 years.’

(reference D80/5/2)

The exhibition is available to view at Special Collections and Archives, Ground Floor Grove Wing, Sydney Jones Library. It will run from September 2019-January 2020. We are open Monday to Friday, 9:30am-4:45pm.

Tweet us at @LivUniSCA & @LivUniPress; alternatively, contact us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk for more information.

Sport in the University Archive

It’s been a summer full of sport in the UK and around the world, from the Women’s World Cup in June, to Wimbledon and the Tour de France in July, and the Netball World Cup which took place here in Liverpool. Inspired by this, we have been taking a look at some of the sportier items from the University Archive.

Sports at University College Liverpool began with the University College Athletic Club in 1885, which was initially open to male students and consisted of Cricket, Lawn Tennis, Rugby Football, Gymnastics and Cycling. On the creation of the University of Liverpool in 1903, the Athletic Club became a part of the Guild of Undergraduates. The first Annual Athletic Sports took place on 5th May 1894, and featured below are a few of the items from the collections relating to these events over the years.

A104/10 – First Report of Annual Athletic Sports
A104/19 – Poster advertising Sports Day [1986]
A104/19 – Programme for Annual Athletic Sports 1940, with results filled in

For a number of students competing with a sports club is a highlight of university life, with many clubs being formed over the years at the University of Liverpool. Some of these are represented in the University Archive, such as the Liverpool University Women’s Boating Club (D552), which includes an album of compiled photographs and press cuttings relating to the team and the various events they competed at.

D552
D552

The Rugby Football team was one of the original clubs included in the University College Athletic Club, and it was decided in 1918 that an official University Rugby club should be run. The below press cuttings are from a 1931 volume compiled by Thomas L Ellis, a member of the Liverpool Rugby Union Football Club, who acted as Secretary in 1932-1933 and Captain in 1933-1934.

D696

D696

A Netball Club was first established at the University of Liverpool in 1924. The netball kit pictured below belonged to Isabel Harkness, who studied at the university and played for the Netball First VII team between 1932-6, and was the captain of the team for the 1935-6 season. She is identified as the captain in the below team photograph in Liverpool University Athletic Union; the first one hundred years, 1884-1984 by Beryl Furlong (GLD/2/2/1).

D326/25 – 1st VII Netball Team (1935-1936)
D502/2 – Netball kit owned by Isabel Harkness

Also held within Special Collections and Archives is the archive of the British Universities Sports Association (D741) and the various organisations that preceded it. One of these was the Universities’ Athletic Union, formed 100 years ago in 1919 by universities across England and Wales, including the University of Liverpool, to promote inter-university sport competitions across the UK. Initially known as the Inter-Varsity Athletic Board of Great Britain and Ireland, students from different universities came together to compete both at home and as a team at international competitions. The UAU continued until 1994, when it merged with the British Universities Sports Federation to become the British Universities Sports Association.

D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs
D741/B38/3 – Athletics photographs

International student sports competitions have been and continue to be held across the world, with the International Confederation of Students being established in 1919 and the International University Sports Federation in 1949. Between these organisations, many international student competitions were held, including the summer and winter Universiade. The Universiade celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with the summer games in Napoli and the winter games in Krasnoyarsk, with the first games being held in Turin and Zell am See in 1959.

D741/J8/1 – Programme for the winter games held in Bardonecchia, Italy (1933)
D741/J8/3 – Report on the French team’s performance at the Monaco games (1939)
D741/J8/8 – Regulation booklet for the first Universiade in Turin (1959)

All of these items are available to view in the Special Collections and Archives reading room. Please email us at scastaff@liverpool.ac.uk to book an appointment.

The University of Liverpool: A History through Archives

Reflecting the growth and achievements of the University since its beginnings The Archive of the University of Liverpool contains records recording the history of the University over 137 years from its beginnings as University College in 1881 through to the present day. The archive reflects the functions of the University through the records it produces and includes administrative records, personal papers of former staff and students, photographs, objects and ephemera relating to the history of the University of Liverpool.

This exhibition celebrates 50 years of the establishment in 1968 of the official repository for the University Archives. The repository currently comprises over 2000 linear meters of material and continues to grow, receiving a wide range of deposits from the University, it’s staff and alumni, benefactors, affiliated members and other external donors and individuals.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Grant of Arms: Grant by Garter Principal King of Arms, Clarenceux King of Arms and Norroy King of Arms to the University of Liverpool, (30 October Edward VII [1903])
  • University of Liverpool medals, buttons and badges
  • University of Liverpool Appeal poster, 1920
  • Guild of Undergraduates Dance and Debating Society programmes, 1919-1922

The exhibition is available to view on the Ground Floor Grove Wing Special Collections and Archives exhibition area during the opening hours of the Sydney Jones Library.

This Week’s War: 150

Aside

In June we had a very hairy time with with Convoys & just as things were becoming too thick I got a […]. Immediately got the job preparing a position in St Jean.

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

This Week's War logo showing soldiers and poppies

This Week’s War: 147

Aside

May. Reasonably quiet. Got to know the line very well. Towards the end of the month they began to get lively…. the Huns put 15,000 gas shell… & stuff in the Ypres that night but with care & careful dodging, we got away with only two mules lost…

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

 

This Week's War logo showing soldiers and poppies

This Week’s War: 140

Aside

April. Began taking up convoys & seeing Ypres & the line by day. Pretty quiet month.

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

This Week's War logo showing soldiers and poppies

This Week’s War: 136

Aside

Sailed for La Belle France with Geoff Cooper… Posted to BOI section with Old Jacobs. Got the centre section right away and stuck to it throughout.

March 12th 1917. Diary of Professor Charles Wells, Emeritus Professor at Liverpool University [D81/1].

This Week's War logo showing soldiers and poppies

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.

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/) .