Author Archives: krspecialcollections

“Such a desperate action” – two stories from the battlefield

Print of the Battle of Waterloo (1816) [MS 351/6 A4170/5]

There was widespread rejoicing at news of the Battle of Waterloo – the anniversary of which is today – and the conclusion of the war: this was an occasion equivalent to VE or VJ Day at the end of the Second World War. Wellington was lauded as a victor and hero and esteemed as both one of Europe’s leading generals and as its saviour. Heroic depictions of the military exploits appeared, such as the example below representing the death of Lieutenant Colonel Miller of the Guards at the Battle of Waterloo in  J.A. Atkinson’s Incidents of British bravery during the late campaigns on the continent… (Ackermann, London, 1817).

Death of Lieutenant Colonel Miller of the Guards at Waterloo [MS351/6 A4170/2 no 6]

Yet Wellington understood, as he recorded in his official despatch to Lord Bathurst of 19 June 1815, how victory on the battlefield often came at the cost of the loss of many lives: “Your Lordship will observe that such a desperate action could not be fought, and such advantages could not be gained, without great loss; and I am sorry to add that ours has been immense.”

Extracts from the correspondence of two soldiers held in the Special Collections provides an eloquent picture of the realities of life on the front line during the struggle for supremacy in Portugal in 1811 and on the Western Front in the First World War.

Engraving by Bartolomeo Pinelli of the campaign in Portugal, 1810-11

Lieutenant Colonel John Gurwood (1790-1845), who was the editor of  Wellington’s Dispatches, served under the Duke in the Peninsula from 1810. He was wounded at Sabugal, 3 April 1811, and distinguished himself leading the forlorn hopes at the storming of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo. As a lieutenant of the 52nd Regiment of Foot in 1811, he describes in a letter to his mother of 16 March 1811 the intensity of the action by the British and allied army in expelling the French forces from Portugal during the course of March:

“We have been fighting for the last 4 days. The French retired … on the 6th at one in the morning… On the 11th we drove them through Pombal… On the plain of Redeinha [Redinha] we had 3 off[icer]s and 22 killed and wounded… On the 14th as soon as the fog cleared off… we got into one of the hottest affairs imaginable. We lost 1 officer killed, 3 cap[ains] wounded and a number killed and wounded… On the 15th were at it again…” [MS 321/5]

A career soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Dudley Samuel, DSO, had served with the Midlands Mounted Rifles in the Boer war. He was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Third Volunteer Battalion, City of London (Royal Fusiliers) Regiment in December 1902 and served with the London Regiment throughout the First World War, eventually being appointed as commander of the 40th (Jewish) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers in 1918. Dudley Samuel was wounded four times during his service and received mention in despatches. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1917.

Major Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

Major Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

Dudley Samuel was involved in the Battle of Loos (25 September – 8 October 1915). The Artois-Loos Offensive aimed to break through the German Front in Artois. Whilst the British had some initial success north of Loos on the first day, a pause in the attack allowed the German army time to call in reinforcements for the Second position and the British suffered heavy casualties here on 26 September.

On 27 September he wrote to his wife Dorothy that they have come out from the Battle “as usual much depleted” with heavy losses and many killed.

“The Garhwal Brigade was heroic, it is the only word, it has been practically wiped out… Everyone stood to arms at 3.30am Saturday… At about 4.45 the guns started. At 5.50 we exploded an enormous mine the earth shook, a very muffled roar and it looked as if a whole trench went 300 feet in the air, then dense volumes of smoke were released everywhere and the German guns started on us and the Brigade advanced to the attack… Very few of the attackees came back, and I’m afraid all are killed or wounded. Three battalions are practically wiped out…

For us personally it is a great tragedy, so many friends in the Leicesters and Native Regiments gone… Our losses are over fifty, but we can’t tell yet. We of course are fortunate….” [MS336 A2097/5/2]

Part of an envelope, with the mark of the field censor, for a letter from Dudley Samuel to his wife [Ms 336 A2097/8/2/331]

The Battle of Waterloo and the Duke of Wellington were well remembered and received many marks of recognition during the 19th century: a previous blog looks at the battle and the Duke remembered. The Special Collections contains much other material reflecting different aspects of warfare from literary reflections to the service of VADs at the University War Hospital in the First World War.

Look out for further blogs, or why not visit the Archives and Manuscripts to find out more.

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Celebrating British beer

15 June is officially `Beer Day Britain’, which has been celebrated annually since 2015. This date is significant as it was when the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. Ale is mentioned in clause 35 of the great charter:

Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely the London quarter.

Over the past few years there has been a renaissance in home-brewing, micro-breweries and beer culture generally, as drinkers explore new styles and experiment with new recipes as an antidote to the standardised fare on offer from the large breweries. In honour of ‘Beer Day Britain’, we brewed a beer to accompany this blog post, inspired by a recipe from the University of Southampton’s Special Collections.

Malt

In earlier times home-brewing was just one small part of a more self-sufficient culture wherein people supplied many of their own daily needs, before the rise of mass markets and modern commercial society. In some respects beer culture has come full-circle with the resurgence of home-brewing and the smaller craft-breweries, although it remains to be seen whether home-brewing will ever move beyond a dilettante pastime and supplant the mass produced beverage entirely!

The University of Southampton’s Special Collections has a number of sources on home-brewing including William Cobbett’s Cottage Economy published in 1822. Cobbett, a radical journalist and polemicist who sympathised with the plight of the rural English in the face of the industrial revolution, applauded what he saw as the imminent resurgence of home-brewing by the masses:

The paper-money is fast losing its destructive power; and things are, with regard to the labourers, coming back to what they were forty years ago, and therefore we may prepare for the making of beer in our own houses, and take leave of the poisonous stuff served out to us by common brewers.

In addition to helpful tips and recipes for home-brewing Cobbett’s Cottage Economy also offered its readers advice on animal husbandry, bread-baking and bee-keeping. However, modern readers partial to a cup of tea should beware; Cobbett has nothing positive to say about tea-drinking, which he views as having supplanted the comparatively weak ‘small beers’ that often accompanied a hard day’s labour in agrarian economies:

The drink which has come to supply the place of beer has, in general, been tea. It is notorious that tea has no useful strength in it; that it contains nothing nutritious; that it, besides being good for nothing, has badness in it, because it is well known to produce want of sleep in many cases, and in all cases, to shake and weaken the nerves. It is, in fact, a weaker kind of laudanum, which enlivens for the moment and deadens afterwards. At any rate it communicates no strength to the body; it does not, in any degree, assist in affording what labour demands. It is then, of no use.

In addition to its alleged lack of nutritional value and the concomitant ill health effects, Cobbett goes on to dismiss tea-drinking as a time-consuming and expensive habit as well as ‘an engenderer of effeminacy and laziness’ [p.18]; as fatal to pigs where a bushel of malt is not (‘it is impossible to doubt in such a case’) [p.19]; as responsible for leading young men to idleness with young girls faring no better as the ‘gossip of the tea table is no bad preparatory school for the brothel [p.20]’. Thankfully for our sakes, having revealed the nefarious effects of tea-drinking, Cobbett goes on to provide the ingredients and the recipe required for the home-brewing of beer. Those interested in Cobbett’s recipe can find a modern recreation published online.

Our beer was brewed using a source from Southampton’s Special Collections: The Complete Family Piece published in 1739 by George Faulkner, Containing good and useful instruction for brewing fine, strong, good, wholesome, and palatable Drinks, as Beers, Ales &c. in small Quantities, and at easy Rates, for the Use of all private families. The four basic ingredients of malted barley, hops, yeast and water included in most beers of today have been used in Britain since at least the late 1300s and they form the basis of this recipe from 1739. Modern drinkers may be rather astonished, however, to find this recipe advocating the addition of ingredients such as ivory shavings in the ‘wort’ to keep it from going stale. This particular ingredient may be harder to come by nowadays and was not included in our beer, brewed by the author and his brother; we named our version ‘Family Piece’, honouring both our brotherhood and the source of our inspiration.

It would be fair to say that we did not recreate this beer, rather we produced our own, inspired by elements of this 1739 recipe. Neither did we use the rather large quantities of barley-malt included in the 1739 recipe nor did we ‘put in a Pint of whole Wheat and 6 Eggs; then stop it up: and Let it stand a Year, and then bottle it.’ We did, however, adopt the time-consuming technique of mashing our grains three times in order to produce a stronger beer with a final estimated ABV of 6.8%. We also included the handful of rosemary flowers from the 1739 recipe, although floral notes were not evident in the final product.

Rosemary flowers

Ingredients for 4.5 L (1 gallon):

1.5kg of Malt. (We used a lager malt but would have preferred to use Golden Promise. Our malt was probably more finely crushed than eighteenth century malts would have been, which may lead to more efficiency in the brewing process and a higher final ABV).

8g of Target hops (home grown).

1 g of Rosemary Flowers.

Saison yeast (mixed house culture).

5.2 litres of liquor (‘Liquor’ is just a brewer’s term for water. We added a few millilitres of a chemical solution know as AMS, which is used by modern home-brewers to transform their hard tap water into soft water, closer to the kind of pond water or spring water favoured by traditional brewers).

OG: 1.054

FG: 1.003

Final ABV was 6.8%.

Bitterness: 25 IBUs (estimated)

SRM (colour): 4

Hops and rosemary added to mash at 90 minutes

Hops

Recipe:

Throw a handful of malt into 2.8 litres of liquor (treated with AMS) and then bring to 80°C.

Place 1.5 kg of Malt in a bag into the mash-tun with the liquor (The 1739 recipe states that you should wait until the steam has cleared, thus we put the malt in the liquor at 50°C – this stage is known as ‘mashing in’ and the typical mashing temperature used by modern brewers is about 60°C).

We added another litre of liquor with AMS because we weren’t happy with our liquor to grain ratio at this stage (there was too little water).

Leave to ‘Mash’ for 2 hours at 50°C – our temperature was 56°C after 2 hours. (This first or ‘primary mash’ is usually all modern brewers will do, but we also cooked the malt another two times as per the 1739 recipe).

After 3.8 litres of liquor in we got 2.1 litres of ‘wort’ from the primary mash – the wort is the liquid extracted from the mashing process – which we then boiled for 1 hour 30 mins.

Add 8 grams of Target Hops and 1 gram of rosemary flowers at 90 mins into the boil.

Put the malt bag back into the mash tun and add another 2.8 litres of liquor with AMS at 60°C into the mash tun with the malt to begin secondary mash for 1 hour 50 mins.

Put 2nd wort into 1st wort for boil.

Add 1.4 litres of liquor to the mash tun for 3rd mash.

When your mash has cooled down, siphon off into a demijohn and add your Saison Yeast.

Ferment in the demi-john for 15 days.

After approx. 2 weeks of fermentation you can then bottle the beer, add ½ tsp of sugar per 500 ml bottle to aid further fermentation in the bottle.

Bottle condition for a further 2-4 weeks. Then Enjoy!

Bottles of beer

It should be borne in mind that home-brewing by modern dilettantes typically involves the production of much smaller quantities of beer compared with that described by the 1739 recipe in The Complete Family Piece. In those days people were home-brewing beer in quantities sufficient to last for the entire year or a larger part thereof, just as a self-sufficient farmer might only deem it worthwhile his time and energy to produce a crop sufficient to last a season or a year. Additionally, agricultural labourers would often consume weaker ‘small beers’ throughout the day, whereas nowadays we tend to rely on tea or coffee to power us through the working day and we partake of beer, if at all, in the evenings and on the weekends only.

It should also be pointed out that the June 15th date for Britain’s National Beer Day taken from the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 refers more precisely to ale rather than beer. Traditionally, a distinction was made between ale (un-hopped) and beer (hopped) and it wasn’t until the later fourteenth century that the English began brewing with hops, thanks to immigrants from the Low Countries who brought their hoppy beers with them. Although the story of a Parliamentary ban on hops may be apocryphal (Henry VIII had both ale brewers and beer brewers in his royal household), there was nonetheless a strong distinction between the two styles for a few hundred years in the early modern period.

The Country Housewife’s Family Companion (London, 1750) [Perkins TX151]

Another source from Special Collections’ Perkins Library, the Country Housewife’s Family Companion, published in 1750 by a Hertfordshire farmer named W. Ellis, includes a recipe for October or March stout beers. It warns the home brewer to beware of whools, weevils and other insect infestations amongst the malted barley, which can ruin a good beer:

…wevilly Malt will cause the Beer to give its Drinker a Sickness, and when many of these stinking poisonous Insects are among it, a very panick Sickness indeed. The Londoners have no Notion of this; and that in some Country Towns, where are several Malt-Kilns, they are never free from Wevils all the Year.

Modern home brewers, besides avoiding insect infestations, should take great care in ensuring their ingredients and materials are kept clean and sanitised. The author of the Country Housewife’s Family Companion also advises those suffering from Gout or Gravel to ‘put some Treacle into the Copper when he puts in his Malt Wort to boil; this opens the Pores, and promotes perspiration, to the great relief of the Body.’ Whatever the actual medicinal qualities of beer, it surely has its effects! We advise all June 15th revellers to enjoy their beverages in moderation, whether home-brewed or not, and to drink responsibly… Cheers!

Highfield Campus 100: 1950s

It’s a University!

The 1950s saw the move for Southampton obtaining university status gain ground more rapidly than anticipated.  In 1952 Southampton became the first university to be created in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, receiving its royal charter on 29 April of that year.

Blazer with badge of the University crest, 1950s [MS310/26 A1073]

In announcing that the University had come into existence, Sir Samuel Gurney-Dixon noted to the Council “those who in the past had worked long and hard to create the tradition and the conditions which had made this possible, in particular Dr Claude Montefiore, Alderman J.S.Furley and the late Principal, Mr Kenneth Vickers”.

The Duke of Wellington was appointed as the first Chancellor of the University, with Sir Robert Wood its first Vice Chancellor and Professor Forsey Deputy Vice Chancellor.  The University of Southampton Act which transferred all rights to the newly created University, received its Royal Assent on 6 May 1953. On 3 July the ceremonious installation of new Chancellor, the Duke of Wellington, took place at the Guildhall in Southampton.

Part of a congratulatory letter from the University of Manitoba

As well as representatives of many overseas universities attending the event, delegates from various universities presented their addresses of congratulations to the Chancellor at Connaught Hall.  A garden party was held at South Stoneham House –  at which a message carried in relay by members of the Southampton Athletics Union from the Chancellor of the University of London was presented to the Duke of Wellington – and in the evening the Chancellor hosted a dinner for the first honorary graduands of the University.

A message from the Chancellor of the University of London to the Duke of Wellington presented by Peter Holdstock of the Athletics Union at the garden party, 3 July 1953 [MS1/7/291/22/4]

It could be said that the decade started quietly with no major developments; yet by the end of the 1950s Southampton had embarked on a major expansion which was to continue well into the next decade. In 1952/1953, the number of students at the University was 935, rising to over 1,300 by the end of the decade. As it became apparent that a permanent increase in a university population could be expected, and that provincial universities would need to expand to take these increased numbers, the University began to proceed with its building programme and planning for future developments over the period 1957-67. Sir Basil Spence, the designer of Coventry Cathedral, was the consultant architect for the layout of the expanded University and for a number of buildings constructed  in this period.

The main building projects in the early part of the decade were the completion of the remaining blocks of Glen Eyre Hall in October 1954 and the conversion of a purchased site into the botanic gardens, supported by a donation from the former Mathematics’ lecturer Miss Annie Trout. By the late 1950s a number of building projects were in hand, some to be completed in 1960 onwards. The new Economics block was opened by Emeritus Professor Percy Ford in October 1959, whilst in December of that year Sir Samuel Gurney-Dixon opened the Library extension, the Gurney-Dixon building to extend library space to 400 user places and to accommodate 150,000 books.

Gurney-Dixon Library extension, 1959

With the acquisition of University status in 1952/3, changes were introduced to departmental structures and to courses as the University began to  issue its own degrees. In 1953, the Department of Legal Studies became the Faculty of Law, offering University degrees rather than preparation for Law Society examinations.

During the decade a number of new chairs were created: for German (Dr W.I.Lucas) and Geography (Dr F.J.Monkhouse) in 1953; in 1957 in Engineering as Dr P.B.Morice became Professor of Civil Engineering; in 1958 for Economic Theory and Geology; and in 1959 in Modern History (J.S.Bromley), Theoretical Mechanics (Dr Bryan Thwaites) and Engineering (Dr L.G.A.Sims).

Other staff changes saw the departure of some long serving members of the University. Professor George Frank Forsey, resigned as Chair of Classics in 1954: he was replaced by Professor H.C.Baldry. Professor Neil Kensington Adam who had been responsible for development of the Chemistry Department stepped down after nearly twenty years service. And in 1957 Frank Templeton Prince, who was a reader in the Department of English, was appointed as Chair of English to replace Professor B.A.Wright.

Whilst it has been observed that there was more of a gender balance of male and female students at Southampton than some other universities, this was not reflected across all of the university.  There were, for instance, as one student recalls, no female post-graduate students in chemistry at Southampton during the period 1955-8. Indeed there was only one female member of staff in Chemistry at that time – Dr Ishbel Campbell.

Department of History graduates, 1959 [MS310/23 A1048]

Student life was still governed by a certain formality in this period. Students at Glen Eyre halls of residence were expected to attend dinner in the dining hall at 7pm on weekdays and for lunch at 1pm on Sundays. A former student noted that  “it was still an era when all students were required to wear a black academic gown at dinner in the evening”.

Signed programme for the University College Drama Society’s production of Hamlet, 1950 [MS416/15 A4311]

The Students’ Union was to be the hub of most student activities. Student societies encompassed a range of faculty and departmental societies, including Engineering, Law and Geography, alongside union societies such as the Camera Club, Choral, Debating, Jazz and Operatic Societies, the Organ Club, the Scottish and Old Time Dance Society and the Theatre Group. The Athletics Union supported clubs ranging from athletics, cross country, fencing, lacrosse to mountaineering, rugby, sailing and tennis.

Scottish and Old Time Dance Society, 1951 [MS224/16 A943/1]

Held on Shrove Tuesday each year, the annual Rag Day included a procession of tableaux on lorries, with a trophy awarded to the winning hall or society.

Rag day procession, 1957 [MS310/23 A1048]

As former student Peter Smith recalls: “The annual Rag Day was a highlight of the Winter term … Somehow the townsfolk tolerated generously the antics of the students in fancy dress out collecting money, including in the afternoon a procession of decorated floats on lorries lent by local firms… The Engineers were always very prominent during Rag – they were often accompanied by their human skeleton mascot “Kelly”…. There was always an annual Rag Ball … at the Guildhall and a revue format.”

Engineers Society with the mascot “Kelly”, 1956 [MS224/14 A941]

There were a wide range of other activities on offer in the student calendar. Dances ranged from the regular Saturday night dances at the Union called “hops”, to the formal Union ball at the Guildhall in Southampton in February, featuring a dance programme of quicksteps, waltzes and foxtrots. Societies produced performances and production of plays and shows and at Glen Eyre halls of residence the annual Christmas pantomime was written and produced by students.

The Union Ball, 1959 [MS310/23 A1048]

As the University moved into the 1960s it was already embarked on its ambitious programme of expansion, leading to a new and exciting phase in its development. To find out more about life at the University in the 1960s look out for the next blog in June.

Celebrating museums in all guises

For International Museum Day on 18 May, organised by the International Council of Museums to raise awareness of the role of museums in society and this year focusing on the theme of the museum as a cultural hub, we take a look at a slightly different museum: The Lady’s Monthly Museum, a popular women’s magazine from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The Lady’s Monthly Magazine, vol. 8 (1802)

The magazine was one of a number of such publications that positioned themselves to appeal directly to women, providing access to a range of articles and subjects and providing women with the opportunity to contribute to these publications.

First published in 1798, The Lady’s Monthly Museum or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction: being an Assemblage of what can Tend to please the Fancy, Instruct the mind or Exalt the Character of the British Fair, was billed as ‘a convenient size for the pocket’, even if it its title was not. It was to merge with The Lady’s Magazine in 1832 when it became The Lady’s Magazine and Museum of the Belles Lettres. Further merges took place and the magazine eventually ceased publication in 1847.

“Cabinet of Fashion” in The Lady’s Monthly Museum

The magazine featured articles on fashion — with a ‘Cabinet of Fashion’ illustrated by coloured engravings, often based on earlier plates from other magazines — portraits of persons of interest and biographies, essays, poems, as well as serialised stories. The later made it one of the first publications to publish novels prior to their becoming available as books.

Serialised story in The Lady’s Monthly Museum

Whilst the magazine was to provide women writers with the opportunity to contribute, its proud boast when it was first published that its contributors were “ladies of established reputation in the literary circles” masked the fact that regular contributors were often poorly paid. One such regular was the novelist and poet Mary Pilkington.

Women’s magazines tended to reflect the views about women’s role in society. The more stimulating content of earlier magazines became more narrowly focused and domestic as nineteenth century progressed and the concept of domesticity became the ideal. Content would only broaden again towards the end of the century.

Nevertheless, magazines that were produced for women and relied a great deal for contributions by women could perhaps be said to play something of a role of a cultural hub.

Biographical article in The Lady’s Monthly Museum

We hope that you enjoy engaging with a museum whatever form that takes. For further details of International Museum Day see the International Council of Museums website.

“Ill-advised man!”: the Duke of Wellington and his duel

On 13 April 1829 the Roman Catholic Relief Act was passed by Parliament. It was guided through the parliamentary process by the Prime Minster the Duke of Wellington and the Home Secretary Robert Peel, overcoming vehement opposition, including from the King George IV.

Draft of points agreed with George IV relating to Catholic emancipation, 27 January 1829

Part of a memorandum by Wellington listing the points settled on a visit to George IV about the Roman Catholic emancipation question, 27 January 1829 [MS 61 WP1/993/73]

The act represented the legislative move towards Catholic emancipation and for Catholics to be able to take a seat in the Parliament at Westminster. Daniel O’Connell, who had won the by-election in Clare in 1828, and who was leader of the Catholic Association and in the campaign for Catholic emancipation, was now able to take his seat as MP.

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington

Wellington had not originally supported the move for Catholic emancipation and was harshly criticised by those most vehemently opposed. None more so than George Finch-Hatton, tenth Earl of Winchilsea. Winchilsea accused Wellington of “an insidious design for the infringement of our liberties and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State”.

Stung, Wellington challenged him to a duel:

“… Since the insult, unprovoked on my part, and not denied by your lordship, I have done everything in my power to induce your lordship to make me reparation, but in vain. Instead of apologizing for your own conduct your lordship has called upon me to explain mine….

… I now call upon your lordship to give me that satisfaction for your conduct which a gentleman has a right to require and which a gentleman never refuses to give.”

First page of Wellington's challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

First page of Wellington’s challenge to Lord Winchilsea, 20 March 1829 [MS61 WP1/1007/29]

The duel took place at 8am on Saturday 21 March at Battersea Fields, South London. Wellington was accompanied by his second Sir Henry Hardinge, whilst Winchilsea’s second was Edward Boscawen, first Earl of Falmouth. The physician, John Hume, attended in case of injury and subsequently sent a detailed report to the Duchess of Wellington.

“Lord Falmouth … gave his pistol to Lord Winchilsea and he and the Duke remained with them in their right hands, the arm being extended down by their sides. Lord Falmouth and Sir Henry then stepped back a few paces when Lord Falmouth said ‘Sir Henry I leave it entirely to you to arrange the manner of firing’, upon which Sir Henry said, ‘Then, gentlemen, I shall ask you if you are ready and give the word fire, without any farther signal or preparation’, which in a few seconds after he did, saying, ‘Gentlemen, are you ready, fire !’ The Duke raised his pistol and presented it instantly on the word fire being given, but as I suppose observing that Lord Winchilsea did not immediately present at him he seemed to hesitate for a moment and then fired without effect.

I think Lord Winchilsea did not present his pistol at the Duke at all, but I cannot be quite positive as I was wholly intent on observing the Duke lest anything should happen to him, but when I turned my eyes towards Lord Winchilsea after the Duke had fired his arm was still down by his side from whence he raised it deliberately and holding his pistol perpendicularly over his head he fired it off into the air….”

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

Part of the account by Dr Hume of the duel, 22 March 1829 [MS 61 WP1/1004/16]

News of the duel was met with shock, with some newspapers carrying censorial reports.

Jeremy Bentham was moved to write to the Duke the following day:

“Ill advised man ! Think of the confusion into which the whole fabric of the government would have been thrown had you been killed, or had the trial of you for the murder of another man been substituted in the House of Lords to the passing of the emancipation bill !”

[MS 61 WP 1/1004/17]

Generally, however, Wellington found that this event enhanced his reputation and he was praised in various accounts for his “manly forbearance”.

Further details of the duel can be found in the Wellington Papers Database: John Hume’s full account of the duel is well worth a read.

In the company of Wellington

On St Patrick’s day we mark the anniversary of the arrival of the Wellington Archive at Southampton in 1983. Since then, the Special Collections has acquired a wide range of material that relates to this archive and we take the opportunity to explore some of these.

Part of Wellington Archive

Part of Wellington Archive

The Wellington Archive [MS61] represents the political, military and official papers of Wellington, so collections that provide a more personal perspective on the Duke are always of interest. Christopher Collins entered Wellington’s service in 1824 and worked as his confidential servant for the remainder of the Duke’s life. Amongst the papers in this collection [MS69] are notes and letters from the Duke issuing instructions about ordering straps with buckles and boots, arrangements for mending razors, for preparations for his room at Walmer Castle and the cleaning and maintenance of uniforms.

Note from Wellington to Collins sending instructions for preparing his room at Walmer Castle, 1838 [MS69/2/15]

Note from Wellington to Collins sending instructions for preparing his room at Walmer Castle, 13 September 1839 [MS69/2/15]: “have some fire in my room; some hot water for tea; and some boiling sea water for my feet”.

Collins kept a notebook listing the Duke’s diamonds, ceremonial collars, field marshal batons and coronation staves, 1842 [MS69/2/1] and amongst the objects in the collection are the blue ribbon of the Order of the Fleece and the red ribbon of the Order of the Bath which belonged to Wellington [MS69/4/11-12].

Red ribbon of the Order of the Bath [MS69/4/11]

Red ribbon of the Order of the Bath [MS69/4/11]

Collins also kept notes on Wellington’s health [MS69/2/3] and the collection includes a number of recipes, such as one for “onion porage” to cure “spasms of the chest and stomach”, 1850, below.

Recipe for "onion porage" [MS69/4/19]

Recipe for “onion porage” [MS69/4/19]

Three letters from Wellington to William Holmes, Tory Whip, in December 1838 [MS272/1 A9231/-3], likewise deal with the Duke’s health and in particular reports in the Morning Post about this. The Duke complained in a letter of 22 December 1838: “If people would only allow me to die and be damned I should not care what the Morning Post thinks proper to publish. But every devil who wants anything writes to enquire how I am.”

A small series of correspondence of Wellington, and Deputy Commissary General William Booth, which is a more recent acquisition, provide some insight into the management of Wellington’s estates at Waterloo, 1832-52 [MS414].

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington [MS351 A4170/9]

Illustration of the Duke of Wellington [MS351 A4170/9]

A number of military archive collections, including some of officers who served with Wellington, now join company with the Wellington Archive at Southampton. Papers of Sir John Malcolm, 1801-16, [MS308] provide important evidence for Wellington in India, at a formative stage of his career, in comparatively informal and personal correspondence with a friend and political colleague; it includes Wellington’s letters written in the field throughout the Assaye campaign. MS321 is composed of seven volumes of guardbooks of correspondence and papers of Lieutenant Colonel John Gurwood, who was editor of Wellington’s General Orders and Dispatches. The collection relates to Gurwood’s military career as well as his editorial work.

Letter from Gurwood to his mother in which he reports he led the "forlorn hope" at Ciudad Rodrigo, 20 January 1812 [MS321/7]

Letter from Gurwood to his mother in which he reports he led the “forlorn hope” at Ciudad Rodrigo, 20 January 1812 [MS321/7]

Sir Robert Hugh Kennedy served as Commissary General of the forces commanded by Wellington in the Iberian Peninsula, with Sir John Bisset serving in Kennedy’s stead in 1812, and their collection of letter books, accounts and other papers cover the period 1793-1830 [MS271], providing evidence of the work of this department during military campaigns over this period. An order book of the general orders of Sir Edward Barnes, Adjutant General of the army in Europe, 10 May 1815 – 18 January 1816, covers the period of the battle of Waterloo and the allied occupation of France [MS289]. And the diary of George Eastlake, recording a visit to northern Spain with Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin in September 1813 to discover Wellington’s requirements for naval assistance, provides details of Wellington’s headquarters at Lesaca as well as the army camp at Bidassoa [MS213].

A journal sent by General Francisco Copons y Navia to the Duke of Wellington details the operations undertaken by the Spanish First Army for the period 2-20 June 1813 in relation to those of General Sir John Murray. Murray had landed with a British force at Salou in Catalonia on 3 June and laid siege to Tarragona [MS253].

"Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne" [MS360/1]

‘Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne’ [MS360/1]

Formerly part of a larger series of documents, Special Collections holds two booklets, signed by F.Mongeur, the Commissaire Ordonnateur for Barcelona, at Perpignan on 3 June 1814, that relate to the administration of Barcelona in 1814. The first, the ‘Journal du blocure de la place de Barcelonne’ has a daily record from 1 February to 3 June 1814 of the French forces [MS360/1]. The succeeding document in the series is a general report, in French, on the administration of the siege of Barcelona by the armée d’Aragon et de Catalogne, between 1 January and 28 May 1814, which gives details of the period of the evacuation of the place, as well as of the food and consumption of foodstuffs and expenditure on supplies during this period. There is a detailed analysis of the composition of the forces, the different corps of troops, companies and detachments making up the garrison at Barcelona [MS360/2].

Signature of Daniel O'Connell, 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Signature of Daniel O’Connell, 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Material relating to politics in the Wellington Archive is paralleled by that within a number of significant other collections at Southampton. The archive of the Parnell family, Barons Congleton [MS64] which contains extensive material relating to Irish politics. Amongst the papers of Sir John Parnell, second Baronet, is material for the Union of Ireland and Great Britain, whilst the papers of the first Baron Congleton include material about Roman Catholic emancipation.

Letter from Daniel O'Connell to Sir Henry Parnell, 13 June 1815 [MS64/17/2]

Letter from Daniel O’Connell to Sir Henry Parnell, 13 June 1815, relating to Catholic emancipation [MS64/17/2]

The Broadlands Archives [MS62] also contain much on British and Irish politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as papers of two nineteenth-century Prime Ministers in the form of Lords Palmerston and Melbourne. A collection of correspondence between John Wilson Croker and Palmerston for the period 1810-56 [MS273] includes much on political, military and official business. Papers of Wellington’s elder brother, Richard, Marquis Wellesley, include material relating to his tenure as ambassador in Spain, 1809, and as Foreign Secretary, 1809-12 [MS63].

Letter from Simon Bolivar to Lord Wellesley, 22 January 1811 [MS63/9/7]

Letter from Simon Bolivar to Lord Wellesley, 22 January 1811 [MS63/9/7]

Since its arrival in 1983, which also heralded the development of the Archives and Manuscripts as a service, the Wellington Archive has acted as an irresistible draw to other collections to join its company.

To find out more about Wellington, or research that has drawn on the collections held at Southampton, why not join us at this year’s Wellington Congress. Registration is open until the end of March.

Francis Cleyn the Elder

We take the opportunity of the new Special Collections exhibition – exploring image-making in relation to the Leonardo da Vinci drawings on display at the City Art Gallery – to look at a collection of drawings held by the Special Collections.

The Librarian of the Hartley Institution was authorised to spend £5 a year (around £313 today) on Old Master drawings and by the late 1870s there was a growing collection. The album of 163 sketches by Francis Cleyn the Elder was one of these acquisitions.

Cover of Cleyn album [MS292]

Cover of Cleyn album [MS292]

Unprepossessing in appearance, with its limp paper and parchment binding of the first half of the seventeenth century and sheets of a stained and dirty rag paper, the album represents one of the largest collections of Cleyn’s drawings and designs. Cleyn was best known for his tapestry designs, but he was also an accomplished designer of seals, title pages, book illustrations and decorative interior design schemes. Many of the sketches in the album have been identified as preparatory studies for engravings, sculpture and tapestries.

Cleyn was the chief designer at the Mortlake Tapestry Factory for Charles I of England and under the Commonwealth. Originally from Rostock, Cleyn worked first for King Christian IV of Denmark before Christian loaned his services to his brother-in-law, James I of England. James I set up the Mortlake Tapestry Factory in 1619: by the reign of his son Charles I it employed as many as 140 people and produced some of the finest tapestries woven in Europe in the 1620s and 1630s.

Drapery studies by Cleyn, including kilt of Roman soldier [MS292 f.18r]

Drapery studies by Cleyn, including kilt of Roman soldier [MS292 f.18r]

Sketch by Cleyn of winged putti [MS292 f.5r]

Sketch by Cleyn of winged putti [MS292 f.5r]

Cleyn was considered one of the best ‘storytellers’ in English art and played a remarkable role in tapestry design. Among the drawings in his album are five for a series of ‘Love and Folly tapestries, for Charles I, which were probably prepared in 1626, perhaps in connection with the King’s marriage to Henrietta Maria, and three designs for the Mortlake series of ‘Horses’ tapestries — Perseus and Andromeda, Meleager and the Calydonian Boar, and Minos and Scylla, from a set of six.

Preparatory sketch by Cleyn for a tapestry ‘Perseus and Andromeda’ [MS292 f.34r]

Preparatory sketch by Cleyn for tapestry Perseus and Andromeda [MS292 f.34r]

The ‘Horses’ tapestries were among the possessions of Charles I inventoried after his death whilst the Leonardo da Vinci drawings currently on display in Southampton and 11 other venues around the UK became part of the Royal Collection in the reign of Charles II in the late seventeenth century.

Drawings from the Cleyn album are on display in the Special Collections exhibition The Leonardo Link Image-Making from Anatomy to Code which opened on Monday 18 February.

Sir Marc Brunel (1769-1849) and the Duke of Wellington

The Wellington Papers held by the Special Collections, Hartley Library, contain extensive correspondence with Marc Brunel, born in France in 1769 and the father of the more celebrated Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Marc was also a gifted and innovative engineer whose most famous project was the Thames Tunnel, the first successful tunnel ever to be built under a body of water, and for which achievement he was knighted by Queen Victoria. This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth.

Marc’s first major contact with the Duke of Wellington was after the financial failure of his project to construct boot-making machinery for the army, although he had previously corresponded with him on other projects including a plan for a new bridge at Rochester in 1819-20. The demand for boots collapsed after Waterloo, which resulted in Marc’s incarceration for 88 days in 1821 in a debtor’s prison, along with his wife Sophia. He felt that he had been treated very unfairly by the Government, and appealed for help to the Duke, who managed to secure a grant of £5000 to obtain his release. Wellington wrote to Charles Arbuthnot in July 1821 “..Mr Brunel has rendered most important services to the public in all departments of the state whose business is to superintend the provision of the equipments for carrying on war” [MS 61 WP1/673/3].

Marc Brunel’s many other inventions included a stocking knitting machine, improvements in printing and Liverpool’s first floating landing stage. Another major achievement was his improved block-making machinery for the Admiralty, pulley blocks being essential parts of rigging on sailing vessels, and the reason he first came to England in 1799. In September 1821 he sent drawings of two chain bridges to the Duke of Wellington with a letter explaining his reservations about the design of the first, and why he believed his own design was superior.

Drawing of two chain bridges by Marc Brunel [MS 61 WP1/679/8]

Drawing of two chain bridges by Marc Brunel, 1821 [MS61 WP1/679/8]

The Special Collections holds a number of letters, including drawings, from Marc Brunel concerning the Thames Tunnel. The Tunnel was planned to link Rotherhithe and Wapping and Marc designed an ingenious tunnelling shield to achieve this. This idea is the basis of modern tunnelling shields, including that used in the Crossrail project under London. Brunel’s original patented design was circular, but unfortunately, partly due to lack of funds, a rectangular shield was adopted for the Thames, allowing disastrous inundations.

Tunnelling shield: drawing by Marc Brunel, 1838 [MS 61 WP/2/49/34]

Tunnelling shield: drawn by Marc Brunel, 1838 [MS61 WP/2/49/34]

Letter from Brunel relating to tunnelling shield, 1838 [MS61 WP2/49/33]

Letter from Brunel relating to tunnelling shield, 1838 [MS61 WP2/49/33]

“I may, I presume, take the liberty of saying a word from our Region (1of morning). All is going on well here; but it is through an expedient applicable to the emergency. Emergencies I may say. Pelted as we have been by the River with all kind of missiles besides water, I have resorted to protection which I frequently illustrate by the Blinds of your Grace’s windows. . . . Every one of the boards may be unhinged easily without affecting the stability of the rest.”

Lithograph showing men at work in the tunnel from Marc Brunel A new plan for tunnelling

Lithograph showing men at work in the tunnel from Marc Brunel A new plan for tunnelling [Wellington Pamphlet 1094]

Work began on the tunnelling project in 1825, but suffered many setbacks and was not completed until 1843. The ground under the river did not consist of the solid clay that had been hoped for, but included water-bearing sand and gravel. This caused a number of very dangerous inundations, one of which carried away the young Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was assisting his father with the project, and causing him serious injuries. Working conditions were made even worse by the state of the river at that period, which was little more than an open sewer, causing much sickness among the workmen. Throughout the project, Marc Brunel kept the Duke of Wellington informed of its progress, as on 1 September 1837 when work had just resumed after another inundation.: “It is from the lowest regions of the Thames that I have the honor of addressing you. … [I] found the Shield undisturbed and not one brick missing to the structure”. [MS61 WP2/47/65]

Plan of the Wapping shaft: drawn by Brunel, 1842 [MS61 WP2/83/12]

Plan of the Wapping shaft: drawn by Marc Brunel, 1842 [MS61 WP2/83/12]

The last letter that we hold from Marc Brunel is dated March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15], when the tunnel was complete except for the carriageways to the entrances. Brunel requests a pension from the government, and outlines his long career:

“I came to this country five and forty years ago. In 1802 I erected . . . the Block Machinery at Portsmouth, which remains to this hour successfully at work . . . I was subsequently employed in erecting Saw Mills on a new principle in both Woolwich and Chatham Dock Yards. . . .Several other mechanical inventions, the Great Circular Saw, now so extensively used, the Cotton-winding machine, which led to the general use of cotton thread, are also instances if improvements of which I am the Author.”

Wellington has written a draft reply across the letter:: “[The Duke of Wellington] is the Commander in Chief of the Army … not the President of the Board of Trade. He has no control over the Public Purse.” The Duke received a great many requests of this nature, and had there are many other examples of such replies.

Reply from Wellington to Brunel, 29 March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15]

Draft of reply from Wellington to Marc Brunel, written across the top of the letter, 29 March 1844 [MS61 WP2/118/15]

Marc Brunel’s tunnel under the Thames is still in use today as part of London’s railway network. Trains began running here in 1869, although the tunnel was originally intended for horse-drawn traffic and pedestrians. Brunel was unable to construct the carriageways down to the tunnel as the money had run out, but pedestrians were able to access it by a spiral staircase.

Some of the Brunel items feature in the new Special Collections exhibition The Leonardo link: image-making from anatomy to code which will open on Monday 18 February.

Highfield Campus 100: 1919

Welcome to the first in the series of Special Collections blogs that chart the development of university life at the Highfield campus from 1919 onwards.

University College at Highfield, from the south wing, c.1919 [MS1 Phot/39/ph3100]

University College at Highfield, from the south wing, c.1919 [MS1/Phot/39 ph3100]

The development at Highfield was part of an ambitious expansion plan by the University College of Southampton to create new and enhanced facilities to attract more students and to compete with other educational institutions.

The first part of this plan was the acquisition of the lease of Highfield Hall by the College’s Principal Dr Alexander Hill. This was opened in early 1914, partly as a home for Dr Hill and his family, and partly as a hall of residence for a number of staff and students.

Highfield Hall showing winter garden, c.1914 [MS 1/Phot/39 ph 3128a]

Highfield Hall showing winter garden, c.1914 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3128a]

The progress and plans for the buildings at the Highfield site were to be subject to various modifications as compromises had to be made to keep the project within budget.

Details of plans from 1912

Detail from proposed plans, 1912

Firstly, due to increasing building costs, the construction of the proposed administration building was postponed. It then became clear that only two wings of the Arts building, without its centre, could be constructed with the money available. This “Arts block” consisted of 28 large and various small lecture rooms as well as private rooms for professors and laboratories for biology, chemistry, physics and engineering connected to the Arts block and each other by covered ways.

South wing and front of building under construction, c.1913 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3089]

South wing and front of building under construction, c.1913 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3089]

Front of building under construction, c.1913 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3095]

Part of front of building under construction, c.1913 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3095]

Despite the compromises that had to be made with the construction, a sense of optimism prevailed and in a letter to the Court of Governors in early 1914 the President of University College, Claude Montefiore, wrote: “There is a need for a strong university college in the southern counties, which shall ultimately develop into a local university…. A natural seat of such a university or university college is Southampton.”

The first instalment of buildings was officially opened by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Haldane, on 20 June 1914.

The architect presenting the keys to Lord Haldane at the official opening of the Highfield buildings, 1914 [MS1/2/5/17]

The architect presenting the keys to Lord Haldane at the official opening of the Highfield buildings, 1914 [MS1/2/5/17]

Eight days later Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and war was declared on 4 August. The College made the decision not to move its operations from the High Street and a special meeting of the Council on 7 September was called to consider offering the War Office the new buildings at Highfield as a temporary hospital.

University War Hospital, 1915 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3106]

University War Hospital, 1915 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3106]

The Highfield buildings continued to be used as a war hospital into 1919. The War Office gave up the tenancy in May, although discussions had begun early in that year for the return of the buildings to the University College. The College took the view that as the buildings had been new when they were taken over by the War Office, there would be damage that could not be made good. Instead, as noted in the Council minutes of 24 February 1919, it would prefer “that they should remain as ‘honourable scars’ testifying to the service which the College was able to render to the state during its time of trial”.

Notice of thanks from the Army Council to University College for the use of the Highfield buildings as a military hospital 1914-May 1919 [MS 1/2/5/20]

Notice of thanks from the Army Council to University College for the use of the Highfield buildings as a military hospital 1914-May 1919 [MS1/2/5/20]

On assessing the extent of the damage, however, the Principal Dr Hill reported to the Council on 23 June that “the architect … was astonished at the amount. … The fitting up and furnishing of the new buildings would be extremely costly, even though the utmost use should be made of all materials which could be removed from the old buildings. The absolutely indispensable equipment would cost several thousands of pounds”. Renewed negotiations with the War Office led to the agreement for “all the huts, fittings, furniture and other equipment provided for the war hospital” to be retained by the College to enable it to accommodate the influx of students and wounded military personnel wishing to return to study.

University College buildings, showing huts, 1925 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3076]

University College buildings showing huts retained from War Hospital, 1925 [MS1/Phot/39 ph 3076]

When the move was finally made from the “Old Hartley” to Highfield campus for the start of the academic year 1919 “upward of 300 full time day students had been admitted and more were coming in every day….” marking a new beginning for both the University and for college community life.

What awaited the new students who joined the College in the autumn of 1919?

In terms of the facilities, the new buildings at Highfield were praised as an improvement on those at the city centre, although accommodation was restricted. Lecture rooms could be small and some facilities had to serve multiple purposes.

Department of Modern Languages [MS1/2/5/17/49]

Department of Modern Languages [MS1/2/5/17/49]

Omnibus room which served as a staff common room, committee room and overflow library [MS1/2/5/17/90]

Omnibus room which served as a staff common room, committee room and overflow library [MS1/2/5/17/90]

Whilst the wooden huts left by the military provided much needed additional accommodation, they still had in some cases traces of their hospital origins. The staff refectory bore the inscription “dysentery” on its door for some time. And although they provided more spacious accommodation than the rooms in the main buildings, the huts were fairly spartan environments.

Hut used as a chemistry laboratory [MS1/2/5/17/30]

Hut used as a chemistry laboratory [MS1/2/5/17/30]

There was also no room specifically designed as a library since this has been part of the central block which had not been constructed. Stock had to be distributed across the College in the various departments.

Department of Chemistry Library [MS1/2/5/17/209]

Department of Chemistry Library [MS1/2/5/17/209]

Maintenance grants were available to support students wishing to study at the College. The rates set by the College’s grants committee in 1919 ranged from £90 pa for single men who were residing with their parents and did not contribute to household costs, to £150 pa for single men and £200 pa for married men who resided independently. No mention is made of grants for women students.

Seniors, 1919, with Dr Hill in the centre [MS1/7/291/22/1 p. 43]

Seniors, 1919, with Dr Hill in the centre [MS1/7/291/22/1 p. 43]

Whilst student numbers had been maintained during the war years by an increase in women students, there was an influx of male students returning to study in 1919. Men and women staff and students might teach and study together, but otherwise existed quite separately. There were designated common rooms for female staff and students, away from those for the male staff and students, and halls of residence were equally separate.

Women staff common room [MS1/2/5/17/92]

Women staff common room [MS1/2/5/17/92]

In keeping with a new beginning at a new location, new staff joined the University for the 1919 academic year although the overall staff complement remained quite modest: G.F.Forsey was appointed lecturer in Classics, finally marking a separation of this subject from English; E.E.Mann became a lecturer in civil and mechanical engineering; A.E.Clarence Smith was appointed a lecturer in physical chemistry; W.H.Barker became lecturer in geography; and the first lecturer in Economics joined the staff. By 1919 the starting salary for the lecturers was £350 pa, whilst that of a professor was £500. This was apparently quite low in comparison with other higher education institutions of the time.

Fancy dress event, 1919 [MS1/7/291/22/1 p.45]

Fancy dress event, 1919 [MS1/7/291/22/1 p.45]

Student activities and student societies had continued throughout the war period, although on a more modest scale. The academic year of 1919 was as much one of transition and adjustment for student social and sporting activities as for academic matters. The student magazine returned to a termly publication rather than the annual one it had been during the war and student societies began developing their future plans. Yet while student events were organised, the lack of space at Highfield campus meant that certain groups such as the Physical Culture Society and the Scientific Society were unable to initiate meetings again at the start of the 1919/20 academic year. Moreover the annual soirée for new students was held at the old Hartley Institution building as there was no room large enough at Highfield.

As we move into the 1920s, the University College entered a new phase: to find out more about this look out for the next blog in February.

2018 – Year in Review

As we move in to 2019 and new endeavours, we take a moment to reflect on some of the Special Collection activities of the previous year.

Exhibitions and events

2018 saw a programme of very different exhibitions hosted by Special Collections. The first exhibition of the year in the Special Collections Gallery and Level 4 Gallery was Print and Process, 1 March to 8 June. The exhibition, which revealed and identified a broad range of print processes, included prints from the Library’s Special Collections, from the University Art Collection and from Fine Art students at the Winchester School of Art.

Print in Process exhibition

Print and Process exhibition

In late June, we held a conference on Basque child refugees together with the Basque Children 37 Association and the University’s School of Modern Languages. In conjunction with this Special Collections played host to the exhibition In Search of the Basque children: From Bilbao to Southampton by the Salford based artist Claire Hignett. Inspired by the archives of the Basque child refugees, Claire Hignett’s exhibition used the properties of domestic textiles to explore memory and the items we keep as souvenirs of our lives.

Floor game from Claire Hignett exhibition

Floor game exhibit from the Claire Hignett exhibition

The autumn exhibitions under the title The Great War Remembered formed part of the University’s Great War, Unknown War programme marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. My War, My Story in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery drew on the Special Collections to present a range of stories from the First World War, including of the University War Hospital at the Highfield campus. We were delighted to have on loan as part of this exhibition the oil painting The Shadow of Cross of War, A Night Scene in University War Hospital, 1918 by William Lionel Wyllie. On show in the Level 4 Gallery were John Garfield: Armistice 1918 – The Cost a photographic journey through cemeteries and memorials of the Great War, and My Ancestor, Their Story which drew on family material from members of staff and students at the University.

Soldier of the Great War

In addition to the research sessions and visits for our own students – such as that mentioned in a blog by Dr Jonathan Conlin – we have an on-going series of events and visits for external visitors. These have included themed drop-in sessions on local history and nineteenth-century society and sessions showcasing British culture for Chinese teachers in June. Special Collections took part in Hands-on Humanities for the second year in a row in November 2018, running interactive events relating to handwriting and printing and creating a digital mosaic image from the items created on the day.

Writing and printing activities at Hands-on Humanities Day

Writing and printing activities at Hands-on Humanities Day

We hosted a visit by the Hampshire Archives Trust, including a talk about the history of the University War Hospital and a private view to The Great War Remembered exhibitions, on Saturday 1 December. Special Collections also ran workshops on promoting collections as part of the Southern University Libraries Network training day on Tuesday 11 December.

Social media

As well as the on-going programme for the Special Collections blog, highlights of which are mentioned below, autumn saw the move from using Facebook to the new Twitter account@hartleyspecialc Features on Twitter so far have included tweets about unusual items in the collections and a glimpse behind the scenes for the national Explore Your Archive campaign and extracts of a student account of armistice 1918.

Sample of knitted spaghetti, one of the unusual items featured on Twitter for Explore Your Archive

Sample of knitted spaghetti, one of the unusual items featured on Twitter for Explore Your Archive

The past year marked a range of anniversaries tied to the collections and blog features have included: the 35th anniversary of the arrival of the Wellington Archive at Southampton on St Patrick’s day 1983; the coronation of Queen Victoria in June 1838; the anniversary of the birth of Isaac Watts, father of English hymnology and son of Southampton; and the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS. Some of the commemorative days featured have been International Women’s Day; Knit in Public Day; National Sporting Heritage Day; Dear Diary Day; Read a Book Day focusing on the dangerous art of reading for women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and British Polo Day.

During May we ran a series of blogs on resources relating to Ireland in Special Collections, such as the poem Farewell to Killarney. Heywood Sumner; the celebrated Hampshire naturalist Dr Canning Suffern; William Mogg, a Southampton-born sailor who was involved in Arctic exploration in the 1820s; Richard St Barbe Baker; Charlie Chaplin and, to mark the start of the World Cup, Lord Mountbatten and his association with football organisations, were some of the individuals to be the subject of blogs. The art of watercolours, cooking for court and countryside, China in the 1880s and botanical treasures of Stratfield Saye are some of the other subjects that have featured. University related blogs focused on the student societies – the Boat Club and the Scout and Guide Club – the University as a War Hospital and what the library accession registers showed about cooperation during the Second World War.

New collections

There was an increased volume of new archive material acquired by the Special Collections during the year. Of particular significance was the Honor Frost Archive, which provides a fascinating insight into the work of a pioneering figure in the field of maritime archaeology. We also were fortunate to acquire a small collection of material relating to Sir Denis Pack, one of the Duke of Wellington’s generals in the Peninsular war, and additional collections of papers of Basque child refugees.

Another significant new collection that arrived during 2018 was the Rollo Woods music collection. Rollo Woods (1925-2018) was a former Deputy Librarian at the University of Southampton, but also a leading expert on folk music who wrote several books on the subject. He was a founder member of the Madding Crowd, the Purbeck Village Quire and the West Gallery Music Association. In 2015 Rollo was awarded the gold badge of the English Folk Dance and Song Society for a lifetime of work promoting the folk arts. His collection includes manuscripts of music that he acquired and his working papers relating to his research on West Gallery Music.

Pages from a Dorset carol book, 1803: part of the Rollo Woods music collection [MS 442/1/2]

Pages from a Dorset carol book, 1803: part of the Rollo Woods music collection [MS442/1/2]

The most recent acquisition has been the papers of Gertrude Long. This collection contains a wealth of hitherto unseen images of the University War Hospital, complementing the papers of Fanny Street, another VAD who worked at the Hospital, and whose papers are another recent arrival.

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs Jennie Ford and Ethel Taylor

Fanny Street (centre) with her fellow VADs [MS416/13/4]

Looking ahead to 2019

With the imminent arrival of further acquisitions, new cataloguing projects, a programme of exhibitions – opening with The Leonardo Link: Image-Making from Anatomy to Code on 18 February 2019 – the Wellington Congress 2019 on 12-13 April and Jewish Archives Month in June, it is already looking to be an active year. 2019 is also the centenary year of the move of the University to the Highfield campus and Special Collections will be contributing to celebrations for this. Look out for the first Highfield Campus 100 blog at the end of the month.