Author Archives: sjmaspero

“On myself I have spent but little, I have perhaps unwisely yielded too much to distress & to relieve others I have involved myself”: the philanthropic works of Mary Mee

Continuing with our “Celebrating women”” blog series as part of Women’s History Month, we focus this week’s post on the life of Mary Temple, wife of the second Viscount Palmerston – affectionately known within Special Collections by her maiden name, Mary Mee. Born in 1752, she was the second daughter of Benjamin Thomas Mee of Bath; Mary’s father was a substantial city merchant with offices at 34 Fenchurch Street. Her brother, also called Benjamin, was a partner in the family firm, a director of the Royal Exchange Assurance Company and of the Bank of England.

Mary Mee's pocketbooks and diaries

Mary Mee’s pocketbooks and diaries

Mary Mee’s husband, Henry Temple, Lord Palmerston, was a few years her senior, and originally a family friend. This was his second marriage; his first wife had died in childbirth. Mary and Henry married on 5 January 1783 and had four surviving children: Henry (Harry), later the third Viscount Palmerston, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister; William (Willy); Frances (Fanny) and Elizabeth (Lilly). The marriage was a love match and the couple were clearly very happy together; we touched on their relationship in a previous post, Love stories from the Broadlands Archives. Mary Mee’s papers came to us as part of the Broadlands Archives, the family’s country residence just outside Romsey. We are blessed to have extensive family correspondence plus Mary’s diaries and charity account books.

The Temples were a liberal and enlightened family for the period and Lord Palmerston appears to have been happy to live in a house with well-educated women. The library at Broadlands was extensive and Mary was well read; we explore these themes in a previous post The dangerous act of reading. Examples of the importance Mary placed on education can be found in her correspondence: she wrote to her daughter Frances in 1794: “you and Harry shall write me one letter in English, the next in French, the third in Italian […] as it will be an improvement to us all .” [MS62 BR6/2/3 4]

Broadlands, the family home of the Temple children and later inherited by Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston

Broadlands, the family home of the Temple children and later inherited by Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston

Mary was an incredibly kind and compassionate women and dedicated much of her life to helping people less fortunate than herself. She established a soup kitchen and an ordinary (an inn which provided meals at a fixed price) in the Romsey area. She also established several schools, including a “school of industry” for local girls. She worked tirelessly supporting local people and her efforts must have had a significant impact on the nearby population. Despite this, there has been very little research done on Mary’s life.

The welfare of others was clearly a long standing interest of Mary. An early reference comes in 1795 when she writes to her daughter Frances asking if the “poor children” have had their new clothes [BR6/2/3]. That same year she writes to her husband about Count Rumford’s “experiments upon heat” in the kitchen of the poor house at Munich. With “something less than four pence stirling”, she tells him, “he can cook a dinner of good rich pea soup for a thousand persons.” [BR11/22/1]. We don’t know when Mary’s first soup kitchen was established. Her uncle W.M.Godschall informed her on 17 January 1800 that “they have begun a soup shop at Guildford at three pence per quart”. [BR19/6/52] Maybe this was her inspiration, as on 30 January, he writes again:

Your Ladyship has built a publick kitchen at Romsey: I thinks it right to send you some soup by way of furniture; the enclosed receipt [not present] is what they have for the past week made use of at Guildford to the great comfort of hundreds of the inhabitants who pay for it a penny per quart, less distressed people two pence and strangers three pence; [BR19/6/53]

Almost one year later, December 1800, she writes to son Henry “I am sorry to say my soup house meets with no encouragement and no lady will subscribe. I am therefore going to open it on my own account.” [BR21/6/7] Lacking external support, she decided to finance the venture from her own pocket. In the same letter, she comments “we are all upon economy. I allow no soups, second courses or pastry & only one piece of bread at dinner”. While the Palmerstons lived a highly privileged life and wanted for little, she was still thinking of others less fortunate then herself when money was tight, not always easy when you have a household for which to provide. The soup kitchen proved a success: on 5 January 1801, Mary had sold 120 quarts of soup. Later that month she adds “I find I must close my soup house when I leave B[roadlands] not having found a proper person to take care of it”: does this mean she is doing much of the work herself? Additionally she makes one of her earliest references to her school, which will be increased to 60 pupils with a sub-governess. [BR21/7/5] By February of that year her focus seems to have moved from the soup kitchen to the school:

I finished my soup manufactory which went off with great [?] for I sold the last day 150 quarts and as many were pint and half pint customers I had a large number of dealors. They all seemed to sorry to lease their shops, and the advance on all articles of life making it necessary to endeavour to lessen the evil to the very indignant. I decided to attempt selling rice drest in different modes but then who had I to dress it? […] My school has likely taken up a great deal of my time since I closed my soup manufacture. I have near sixty scholars and a teacher besides the governess […] I feel more obliged to Count R for having put me in a way to do some good in a place which is too extensive for particular charity it must be some on a large scale [BR21/7/8]

Printed rules and regulations to be observed by the children admitted into Lady Palmerston's school of industry, 1801 [BR19/17/1]

Printed rules and regulations to be observed by the children admitted into Lady Palmerston’s school of industry, 1801 [BR19/17/1]

By November 1801 she had obviously decided that affordable food was still a necessity for the local population, as on 5 or 6 November she tells her son Harry: “I am going to see my school & propose my ordinary – bread for 2 a farthing each – dinner not settled”. [BR21/7/29]  On 10 November she gives an update: “my children’s ordinary opens tomorrow – a farthing for breakfast […] and their dinner 6d a week”. [BR21/7/30] Later the same month she refers again to her soup house [BR21/7/31] which we previously thought closed and on 23 November we learn that “the soup sells remarkably well & the ordinary goes on with great success.” [BR21/7/32] At the end of the month she jokes to Harry that if he behaves well, she will make him the heir to her soup fortune [BR21/7/33]: this off-hand remark gives us a small insight into the amount of money Mary invested personally in these ventures.

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston as a young man: Mary's eldest son

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston as a young man: Mary’s eldest son

Moving into 1802, she tells Harry in February “this week will conclude all our festivities & even my soup & ordinary and I shall have nothing left to sell but coals and rice. I bought the former cheap enough to enable me to let them have a bushell for one shilling & the present price is 15d. Three pence in a shilling is an object to a poor person”. [BR21/8/3] We also learn that she has acquired “the house next to my house of industry that I wanted and I mean to make it a working room for those who have left my school to prevent their going either to the [?lack] shop or degenerating into idleness”. Mary clearly wishes to continue to provide support for these young women once they are too old for school. This premise is supported by another reference from 1802 which regards her endeavours to find ‘service situations’. She asks daughter Lilly:

Get me a lady’s maid’s place for Sally Morgan & a nursery maid or house maid’s place for the teacher Miss Woodman – I know you can do anything. Therefore I consider them both provided for. [BR6/9/18].

In April 1802, Harry receives a long and heartfelt letter from his recently widowed mother. It discusses a variety of matters but particularly useful for our purposes is the summary of her finances giving us an idea of the personal pecuniary cost of Mary’s work:

With respect to my debts I am sure you will wish to have them paid and believe me my dearest Harry that my having left such heavy ones has not been owing to extravagance. On my self I have spent but little I have perhaps unwisely yielded too much to distress & to relieves others I have involved myself [BR21/8/19]

A hand made 'reward of industry' prepared for pupils at Mary Mee's school

A hand made ‘reward of industry’ prepared for pupils at Mary Mee’s school

References to her schools continue; they were clearly significant establishments. In November 1802 she reports she has found “the cheapest & prettiest presents for my assistant ladies who attend my school.” In a letter dated circa 3 January 1803 she tells friend Emma Godfrey “all yesterday I was taken up with rewarding my girls […] tomorrow 60 cloaks are to be cut out and on Friday they will dine 75 for I have invited all those who are amiable”. [BR18/5/5/101-4]. The occasion was her school’s annual fete: “to day almost every soul has been down to witness my girls annual fete – 75 dined 26 were rewarded & 11 who had left my school had each a bonnet […] all my own children were waiters […] I am up my eyes in account books.” [BR18/5/5/109-12]  It’s hard not to wonder if her mention of ‘account books’ means yet more debt.

Account book of M.P.: "money laid out in presents, given away in charity or lent or given away in presents." The accounts relate to the school fete. [BR18/2/2]

Account book of M.P.: “money laid out in presents, given away in charity or lent or given away in presents.” The accounts relate to the school fete. [BR18/2/2]

References to her ventures become less frequent – Mary dies in 1805 – but she was clearly still keeping herself occupied with philanthropic endeavours. This excerpt comes from a letter sent on 14 February 1803:

Busy with settling about my new school which has begun today […] I read my rules to the parents […] and gave the ladies and genl strong beer to prevent their thinking my lecture a dry one. They all seemed delighted with the plan (not merely the beer) but of getting rid of their children which will allow them to go out. & tho I begin with only 30 I hope if I live to hear summer to encourage it to more than double. I have also two excellent spinning mistresses & the girls now learn to spin flax as well as hemp [BR18/5/5/115-8]

This post really just has scratched the surface of the life and work of this fascinating woman, often only known as the mother of the third Viscount Palmerston. As well as the resources already mentioned, the strongrooms also hold 3 diaries of one of Mary’s daughters, Frances Temple, 1801-2 and 1808 [BR7/16-8] plus extensive correspondence between the siblings. The combined archive collections are detailed and a significant resource for research on these interesting local women.


As many of you will be aware, we are now in the month of Veganuary [Vegan-January]. Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. While there are many ways to embrace this lifestyle the one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding not only meat but fish, shellfish, insects, dairy, eggs and honey. Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond and claims benefits in the areas of protecting the environment, preventing animal suffering and improving human health. To mark the occasion we would like to share information about the resources we hold in the Special Collections on vegetarianism and veganism.

Vegetarianism for health reasons is by no means a new phenomenon. Early nineteenth-century family correspondence in the Broadlands Archives finds Mary Mee writing to her son Henry (later third Viscount Palmerston): “my cough I have attempted to starve out but it braves famine & will not capitulate […] it is a week I have preferred vegetable to animal substance”. [MS 62 BR21/8/68 15 Nov 1802.] We wonder if Mary’s treatment is a variation of “feed a cold, starve a fever”? Mary, it seems, only trialed a plant-based diet for specific health reasons. Her grandson however, William Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount Temple and his second wife, Georgina (née Tollemache) were enthusiastic vegetarians. They feature in James Gregory’s 2007 publication Of Victorians and Vegetarians: The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth-century Britain. We hold correspondence and notebooks for the Cowper-Temples in MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR/43-BR59.

Jumping into the twentieth century, the Broadlands Archives brings us another reference to an even more famous vegetarian: Mahatma Gandhi who was brought up as a vegetarian by his devout Hindu mother. In Hindu and Jain traditions, meat is considered as a form of food obtained by violence to animals.

Gandhi’s first ever meal eaten at Viceroy’s House, 1 April 1947 MB2/N14/10
Gandhi’s first ever meal eaten at Viceroy’s House, 1 April 1947 [MB2/N14/10]

As newly appointed Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten embarked on a series of interviews with Indian leaders prior to Partition. Gandhi and Mountbatten met at Viceroy’s House several times in early April. Our records give details of the meeting but don’t record what foods were served.

Abstinence from meat and other food sources derived from animals is not only a feature of religions originating from South-East Asia. While vegetarianism is not traditionally a component of mainstream Judaism—which centres around Kosher rituals for the consumption of animal products—Jewish vegetarians often cite Jewish principles regarding animal welfare, environmental ethics, moral character, and health as reasons for adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. In many ways, veganism makes it easier and cheaper for those who wish to observe kashrut strictly as these Jewish dietary laws stipulate separate dishes and other utensils for meat and dairy foods, plus a waiting period of several hours after eating meat before being permitted to eat dairy products. It is obvious how a vegan diet would simplify these matters considerably.

Within our extensive Anglo-Jewish collections, we have papers and published works of Florence Greenberg, the ‘Delia Smith’ of the Anglo Jewish community. The Jewish Chronicle newspaper published her cookery book which became legendary in Jewish households across Britain;  it was reprinted 13 times between 1947 and 1977, latterly by Penguin Books.

Copies of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book, 3rd edition (revised) 1951, 6th edition, 1958.]
Copies of Florence Greenberg’s Jewish Cookery Book, 3rd edition (revised) 1951, 6th edition, 1958

The Jewish Cookery Book is not a vegan or vegetarian cookbook but it does include several recipes which are suitable for people following a plant-based diet. Greenberg describes how “haricot beans, butter beans, dried flageolets, and the mottled brown Trinidad beans […] contain a large proportion of protein and make excellent meatless dishes.” Likewise, “lentils contain large amount of protein and so form a good substitute for meat.” Here we share one of her recipes:

Baked Beans

Soaked haricot beans ½ lb

Tomato sauce 2 tablespoonfuls

Salt and pepper

Sugar or golden syrup 2 teaspoonfuls

Mustard 1 teaspoonful

Put all ingredients into a casserole with sufficient water to cover the beans. Put the lid on the casserole and bake in a moderate oven till tender, about 2 hours. Serve on hot toast.

Her recipe for “mock duck” contains haricot beans and lentils, plus sage, onion, mashed potato, parsley and margarine. A further chapter is devoted to soya flour and includes recipes for soya milk and cream, as a substitute for milk in mashed potato and for soya macaroons. She describes soya flour as “a highly nutritious protein food…[with] 20 per cent fat (fine oil), vitamins A,B,D, and E, 2 ½ per cent lecithin—the nerve repairing element of eggs—and is a good source of calcium, iron potassium, and phosphorus. It is very satisfying and if served in meatless dishes and light snacks will prove satisfying for many hours.”

Frontispiece from Martin Doyle’s Farm and Garden Produce, 1857 [Perkins SB 98]

Finally, we’re going to take a look at the production of some of these vegan-friendly ingredients drawing on sources from the Perkins Agricultural Library. The Library includes guides on growing your own pulses and vegetables as well as suggestions for your crop once harvested.  

“Common Lentil” in John Wilson’s Our Farm Crops vol. 2 [Perkins SB 185]

Our Farm Crops by John Wilson includes a chapter on “The lentil crop”:

Although very rarely now to be met with in the field of cultivation in this country, is largely grown on the Continent, and in the various countries of the eastern hemisphere, as an article of human food. The use of lentils as a food grain can be traced back to the earliest periods of sacred history. […] Owing to the large proportions of nitrogen compounds the seeds contain, they have been for centuries past, and are still, made use of largely in Catholic countries as substitutes for animal food in Lent…

Pulses (dried peas, beans and lentils) are often a staple of a vegetarian or vegan diet as they are a low fat source of protein with high levels of fibre. Pulses also contain important vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and folate.

Nuts can also be a useful source of protein and calcium in a vegan diet. The final illustration comes from Thomas Croxen Archer’s book Profitable Plants; subtitled: “a description of the principal articles of vegetable origin used for food, clothing, tanning, dyeing, building, medicine, perfumery”.

Plate VI (nuts) from Thomas Croxen Archer’s Profitable Plants, 1865 [Perkins SB 107]

We hope you have enjoyed our jaunt through plant-based food sources in the Special Collection. Any keen cooks out there might even like to try their hand at some homemade baked beans? Please join us next week when we will be sharing our first post in a series of voyages of discovery.

The stories behind the photograph: child refugees from the Russian pogroms

In the summer we shared this photograph from a file relating to the adoption of orphaned immigrant children from Russia in the early twentieth century. It sparked some interest and we thought people might be curious to hear about these individuals and their stories in more detail.

The photograph was taken in the summer of 1905 [MS 173/1/5/6 part 5]

The photograph comes from the papers of the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor. The Russo-Jewish Committee had been formed in 1891 to carry out the work of the Mansion House Fund: supporting Russo-Jewish refugees.

Fanny Levene, aged 5: one of the youngest children in this group

Anti-Jewish pogroms first began in Russia in the nineteenth century: this was large-scale, targeted and repeated anti-Jewish rioting. The statistics vary but thousands of Jewish lives were lost and many more were injured. Approximately 479,000 Jews emigrated from Russia in the years 1898-1906. A contemporary resource describes the state of affairs at the turn of the century:

The hopes placed by the Russian Jews in the reign of Nicholas II, have not been realized. The restrictive legislation has not grown milder, but even more severe & the emigration has increased. In 1903-4, it increased with unprecedented rapidity. […] In April 1903 took place the Kishinieff pogrom, the Jews were seized with panic & realised more strongly perhaps, than they had ever done before, that they lacked even the elementary conditions of personal security. In the beginning of 1904 the war broke out & in the beginning of 1905 the revolutionary movement […] the Jews are emigrating not because it is impossible for them to find sufficient earnings in Russia, but because the Government deprives them of these earnings & more than that, deprives them of the most elementary conditions of security of life & property.

“Emigration as a result of the legal situation of the Jews in Russia”, 3 Dec 1907 [MS 173/1/5/7 part 4]

The photograph and accompanying files relate to a group of 19 or 20 children who arrived in the UK in 1905.

One summer morning, some months ago, there arrived at a London wharf one of the most remarkable bands of alien immigrants that have ever sought these shores. They were none of them provided with the amount stipulated by law, they were all obviously incapable of earning their own livelihood, they were not met by relatives who guaranteed that they would not become a burden on the rates, and yet the immigration tribunal allowed them to pass its jealously-guarded portals without a challenge. The arrivals belonged so manifestly to the category for which provision is made under the political and religious persecution clauses that it would have been a downright violation of the Act if they had been refused admission.

An appeal for adoption of orphan immigrant children reproduced from The Jewish Chronicle 14 Dec 1906, printed by the Russo-Jewish Committee, 1907

Some were “single” orphans, having lost one parent and the others “double” which meant they had lost both. On arrival they were lodged with “matrons” while they awaited permanent homes. The records state that by 1907 only a few had been adopted, hence the renewed appeal.

c. 1906 [MS 173/1/5/6 part 4]

The names of the children, siblings from a total of six different families, are listed on the reverse of the photograph as follows: 1. Zipporah Pokotilow, 2. Sische Charitanski, 3. Hannah Levene, 4. Rebecca Katz, 5. Benjamin Charitanski, 6. Hyman Schneier, 7. Hyman Borodkin, 8. Dora Katz, 9. Boris Pokosilow, 10. Aron Katz, 11. Isaac Levene, 12. Boris Levene, 13. Mendel Schneier, 14. Isaac Borodkin, 15. Bessie Levene, 16. Fanny Levene, 17. Eva Schneier and 18. Sarah Charitanski. At times, some of the children go by anglicized versions of their names. The eagle-eyed among you may spot that there are 19 children in the photograph but only 18 names; unfortunately, there is one child whose name we are yet to discover.

Zipporah Pogotilow aged about 11 [MS 173/1/5/6]

Zipporah and her brother Boris Pogotilow were double orphans from Kiev. A list of applications for adoption dated 7 February 1907 records that Mr and Mrs B.Cohen of 147 Queen Street, Portsmouth “have inspected Zipporah Pogotilow and have offered to adopt her”. Thankfully, the Cohens were also ‘inspected’ to some degree: Rev J.Phillips of Portsea wrote: “all the conditions are favourable and feel certain that the girl will have a good home.”

Boris Pogosilow aged about 9

Boris was also adopted, by a Mr Smolensky in December 1906; no further information is recorded.

Sarah Charitanski aged 7

The Charitanski siblings were double orphans from Odessa. Sarah and Benjamin are in the group photograph and the documentation records that they had been adopted by 1906. It is not clear whether Sische (“child 2” in the main photograph) was also part of this family.

Benjamin Charitanski aged 11

We have written records, but no photograph, for Abraham Charitanski. The Russo-Jewish committee sent a photograph of Abraham to Mr and Mrs Goldstone of Aberdare in 1907 and were awaiting a formal application from them. The report on their suitability states that “the information I have been able to gather is quite satisfactory, and I would say the Russo-Jewish Committee would be quite safe in entrusting a child to them. I am informed that they are very respectable and in a most comfortable position”. Abraham was suffering from the skin condition favus. Perhaps the move to Wales didn’t happen; records from 1910 say that Abraham Charitanski – who was also known as Alec Chart – went to live with Mr Tooch in Aberdeen, Cape Colony (South Africa).

Hannah (Annie) Levene aged 17

The Levenes were a large family of single orphans from Bialystok. The eldest were Hannah and Elias. Hannah – also know as Annie – was at work and earning 4s; she was required to pay Mrs Sugarman 3s towards her keep.

Elias (Alec) Levene aged 17

Elias was earning 6s: he was permitted to keep 2s for pocket money and “riding” and required to pay the rest to Mrs Israel.

Bessie Levene aged 10

Boris, Isaac, Bessie and Fanny completed the family. They left London in March 1907 to travel on the SS Etruria, departing Liverpool on 16 March, to be with their mother in New York.

Aaron or Aron Katz, also know as Arthur Cates, aged 12

Rebecca, Aaron and Dora Katz had come from Kiev and were sent to the Jews Hospital and Orphan Asylum (Norwood), for which we also hold records.  The House Committee minutes for January 1907 record that Dora and Aaron were both admitted at a cost of £100 to the Russo-Jewish Committee.

Dora Katz aged 9

Dora’s name appears on the 1909 “prize list”: she won a book for her needlework. She left Norwood at the end of March 1915.

Rebecca Katz, also know as Reba Cates, aged 16

Rebecca was also admitted at a cost of £35 to the Russo-Jewish Commitee and was discharged the following year. She is later recorded as residing with Mrs Blank in North West London.

Hyman, Eva and Emanuel (Mendel) Schneier were single orphans from Seminovka. They sometimes used the name Seer. One note on the file says “not yet adopted”. Eva is later recorded as with Mrs Davis.

Eva Schneier aged 10

The files record that Emanuel (Mendel) had myopia (nearsightedness). Records from 1907 report he was adopted by Mr and Mrs S.Goldberg, drapers and clothiers of Durham. The minister at Newcastle gave the following report: “His house seems well ordered; he appears a kind hearted man; not rich but making a comfortable living as traveller. A boy might be very happy with him.”

Emanuel (Mendel) Scheier aged about 8

Other records state that Emanuel was with Mrs Davis in London, possibly one of the “matrons” mentioned previously. Hyman was sent out to live with Mr Lipschitz at “Ostrich Farm” in South Africa.  

Hyman Schneier aged 13

Our last family are the Borodkin twins, Hyman and Simon, double orphans from Kiev. A note on the file says “awaiting to be adopted”. Hyman was suffering with the skin condition favus. Records from 1910 state the twins were with Mrs Davis in New Cross Gate.

Hyman Borodkin aged 8

Displaced persons can sometimes be reduced to a statistic but their stories can be pieced together from a variety of official sources.

To find out more about the material we hold relating to refugees please take a look at the following blog posts: “While you are in England…”: refugees in Britain in the twentieth century, Researching and remembering the Basque refugee children of 1937 in the Special Collections and our post on World Refugee Day

University Developments Through Time: Has anybody here seen Kelly?

Have you heard that a skeleton once haunted Southampton’s halls of residence and refectories? O.K., so that’s stretching the truth a little! But it is true that a skeleton was often present at University events, as documented by images from our photographic collections. This blog post will attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery of Kelly the skeleton, namely her origins, purpose and current whereabouts.

A photograph of Kelly from 1891 [MS1 7/291/22/1/0001]

The story of Kelly goes back to the very beginnings of the Institution. A skeleton was purchased by Mr Dodds, Principal of Art at the School of Art, in France in 1886; the activities of the Southampton School of Art were incorporated into the Hartley Institution in 1867. An alternative history was that the bones were fished out of the water at Southampton Docks; we feel this is less likely!

As well as acting a model for art students, other legitimate reasons for a late nineteenth-century educational institution to own a skeleton were for bone examination in anatomical lectures and demonstration purposes in physical training instruction periods. Reports have stated that the skeleton was formed from a mixture of both female and male bones.

Male students wearing formal college dress with Kelly, 1921 or 1922 [MS1/Phot/39/ph3177]

How Kelly passed from the possession of authorities to the ownership of the student body we do not yet know; a former student reported that Kelly was “found” in a cupboard in the Arts room in 1910. Kelly became a slightly macabre mascot for the students, often present at Rag fundraisers and other events; in later years she was transferred to the possession of the Engineers.

Freshers week, September 1925. The text reads “Come all ye freshers bow down & worship.” And you thought modern initiation ceremonies were weird! [MS1/Phot/39/ph3174]

Perhaps it was the students who decided on the name Kelly, a derivative of skeleton or skelly. A popular music hall ditty circa 1910 was “Has anybody here seen Kelly”: this may have helped to settle on a name. It became one of the College “anthems” sung with great solemnity by students, to the tune of the Lost Chord, when the occasion fitted.

The Rag Bag, 1929

The skeleton was a popular member of academic life while studies were still based Below Bar and it always carried in students’ processions and on view at functions. He made the move to Highfield, along with everyone else as, in the summer of 1924, he was able to welcome the then Prince of Wales when the latter visited Southampton. Geoffrey Smith, who was a student here 1923-6, recalls the Rag in the summer of 1926. The students paraded through the town and Kelly was drawn by members of the Engineering Faculty on the chassis of an old car, driven by Smith and owned by the Engineers.

The provincial Universities ran a London dance known as the P.U.B. (Provincial Universities Ball) and on one occasion in the 1930s Kelly was taken to London and wired up electronically so that her eyes shone.

Photograph of Kelly from the Goblio 1949

Reports from the 1950s state that she was kept in a coffin in the Junior Common Room. Keith Way, a student for the 1947-53 sessions recollected: “I do remember Kelly hanging about in the West Building [now the Students Union] but I think he only appeared in public on Rag days.” A further report was that “in 1953 he was torn to pieces at the Engineering Faculty Ball.”

The Hartleyan of 1953 reports that to celebrate the granting of university status, the London branch of the Hartley Society organised a “Kelly” for the P.U.B. complete with deputy (hired from a natural history supplier) followed by a “Gobli”. The 30 members present at the ball made “quite a good procession for Kelly”.

“Captain Kelly” from the Goblio, 1952

Another alumnus, Pamela Wateres, adds her memories to the record: 

I know that Kelly spent a night in Highfield Hall at some time in the academic year 1953 to 54. How we got him in there any way, I don’t know, but he was accommodated, I think, on top south. When we tried to get a taxi for him back to the Union building, the local drivers refused to carry a coffin, so we had to woman-handle him back along the path and in through the garden. […] Legend in my time was that Kelly was originally dredged up from Southampton harbour – and was really female. He/she was then the union mascot, but was from time to time hi-jacked by the Engineers, who were supposed to keep him/her in a wind tunnel.

[MS 224/35 A788/5]
Engineering Faculty, 1955-56. Can you spot Kelly in his coffin? [MS310/38 A2025/2]

As the years progress, the references to Kelly become less frequent although snippets from the Hartleyan keep us informed. From 1956, Kelly was no longer the University mascot. At a Union meeting it was decided by 110 votes to 28 to dispense with the skeleton’s services; it was agreed to transfer overship to the Engineers. Kelly was present at the hustings preceding the election of the president of the Students’ Union in late January 1959. She was escorted to the meeting in a padded coffin by a guard of Engineers.

The most recent photograph of Kelly is on this rather garish cover of Goblio from 1961.

The Goblio from 1961. The slogan below read “We’ll collect from anybody”

Currently, the last known sighting of was in 1986 when she attended a welcome talk given by Academic Registrar Chris Swann. The whereabouts of Kelly the skeleton are no longer known. But we are hoping our readers might be able to shed light on the mystery. Maybe some alumni can add to the historical record with their own memories of Kelly?

Copies of the Goblio, Hartleyan and other student/alumni publications are available in the University Collection (Special Collections open access). Archival references come from the file MS 224/35 A788/5.


University Developments Through Time: Rag

This blog post on University life will explore the world of Rag. These student-run, fundraising events and organisations have been part of student life for over 100 years.

Rag Day logo from 1953

The name ‘Rag’ is rather obscure and no one is entirely sure of its origins. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the act of ragging as “an extensive display of noisy disorderly conduct, carried on in defiance of authority or discipline”. The thought is that early fundraisers may have ‘ragged’ passers-by until they made a donation. Another idea is that the word came from the Victorian era when students took time out of their studies to collect rags to clothe the poor. More recently, ‘backronyms’ have been invented including ‘Raise and Give’, ‘Raise a Grand’ or ‘Raising and Giving’ to emphasis the philanthropic aspect of the activities.

Rag has been part of University life in Southampton since at least the 1920s. Alumnus Peter Smith describes how it was “a highlight of the Winter term, and it was always held on Shrove Tuesday, as if to get the festivities over before the strictures of Lent.” Over the years, it has consisted of a variety of activities, ostensibly aimed at raising money for charity, including a procession, ball, a show and the publication and sale of a ‘Rag mag’. As the years progressed, the antics became progressively wild. And, as you might imagine, the event has not always existed in harmony with Southampton residents.

The Engineering float depicting the Princess Flying Boat [MS 310/34 A1090 p1]

This excerpt from the University College Southampton Rag Bag published in May 1927 describes the early days of Rag:

There is probably little doubt in the minds of the public as to what a University Rag is, even though many have never seen one: and whatever opinions exist on the subject we can say quite safely say that whenever there is a University or a College there is bound to be ragging.  The tradition is established and will persist; and as Colleges grow and develop, so the quantity and quality of its Rags will alter. Up to the present the Rags arranged by the students of University College, Southampton, have been, it must be admitted, very mild affairs, and we apologise very humbly that we have been unable to provide the town with better entertainment. Better times are in store, however. The College is growing fast and by the time Southampton is a University City, Rags will be as permanent and prominent a feature of town life as they are in other seats of learning.

The earliest Rag magazine in our collection, the Rag Bag from 1927. Look out for a future blog post giving the history of Kelly the skeleton.

A key feature of Rag was the publication of a ‘Rag mag’, a small booklet traditionally filled with politically incorrect humour sold in the lead up to Rag Day.  The earliest Rag mag in the University Collection is a copy of Rag Bag dating from 1927. Over the years Rag has been abolished and revived on a number of occasions. Its revival in 1948 was followed by the publication of Goblio, the longest running Rag mag in the collection, with copies dating from 1949-64. From 1967 the University’s Rag mag took on a range of titles, including “Son of Goblio” or; BabelSouthampton City RagFlushDragon; and Southampton Students Stag Rag.

Apparently the 1958 edition of the Goblio was banned and later ritually burned at the Bargate. Consensus among the students was that this was an extreme response with one recounting how the Goblio “was certainly rude and scurrilous, largely satirical, but rarely offensive”. While these magazines might be considered tame by today’s standards, times have changed and we struggled to find any jokes we felt appropriate – or funny enough – to share. Copies of the Rag mags are available in the University Collection in the Open Access area of Special Collections.

The Gaslight Gaities show from 1948 or 1949 [MS 310/39 A2032]

The Rag mags bring our attention to another mystery in these matters: who, or what, is a ‘Goblio’? The origins or the word are again a little vague and it has now fallen out of use. It appears to have first been used around 1905. The New Zealand rugby team had just made their first tour of Britain. The story goes that a group of College students went to see the All Blacks depart from Southampton Docks and were deeply impressed by their goodbye ritual – the now famous haka. A “solemn conclave was held by night in the Cowherds’ Inn” to select a suitable yell that could be given in response and ‘Gobli-i-o’ was the outcome. It is described by former students as a “war cry at football matches and in Rags” as well as used as a farewell after student gatherings: the cheerleader would shout ‘Golbio’ and the rest of the group replied ‘Gee’. There was also a ‘Gobli dance’ performed during Rags. The students would form concentric circles around a policeman or tram aimed at causing disruption while, of course, also collecting money for good causes.

For many years, an afternoon procession was a key part of the Rag. Decorated floats on lorries lent by local firms, complete with ‘Rag Queen’ (usually a local girl), would parade through the town providing entertainment and collecting money.

Rag Day 1957 at civic centre with the ‘Rag Queen’ and local dignitary [MS 224/14 A941]. In some years the procession ended at the Guildhall with a trophy presented by the mayor for the best entry.

The Engineering Society were always very prominent during Rag, often accompanied by their human skeleton mascot “Kelly” and their 1920s vintage open single decker charabanc called “Toast rack”. In 1948 they are reported to have produced at 60 ft dragon for the parade!

Rag Day 1926 with the 1904 Bedion Bouton [MS 310/18 A1043]

Other events have included an annual Rag ball with dancing and fancy dress at the Guildhall and a Rag show with a revue format.

Obviously a key aspect of Rag – maybe more so for some years than others – has been raising money. The University has chosen various charities over the years. In 1927 “all money (less Rag expenses)” supported the children’s summer camps organised by the Rotary Club of Southampton. In the years following the Second World War, the festivities were called the Gaslight Gaieties and the money went to the Armed Forces Charity, formerly known as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association. In 1958 the chosen charities were: Dr Barnardo’s Homes; British Empire Rheumatism Council; National Society for Cancer Relief and the Handicraft & Social Centre for the Blind. A Students’ Union handbook from the 1950s reported that sums raised in recent years ranged from £800 to £1,400.

Rag events programme cover [MS 310/39 A2032]

As with all University cities, there have not always been harmony between ‘town and gown’ and over the years, Rag has been a point of conflict. In 1927, the Rag Mag stated:

Horse play and hooliganism are not ragging, though unfortunately many think the terms are synonymous. We shall try to show they are not, and, indeed, what ragging has taken place in the past has, on the whole, been free from unpleasantness

R.G.Smith, an engineering student here in the 1940s recalls “jovial goings-on which were enjoyed both by ourselves and the citizenry of Southampton […] dressed as Long John Silver complete with parrot, I ‘held up’ the Ordnance Survey Office with a fearsome looking horse pistol and stung the personnel there for contribution to the Rag charity collections.” We wonder if Southampton residents have the same cheery memories of the Rag as Mr Smith?

Rag programme for 1948 [MS 310/31 A1087]

It is clear that, at times, Rag events did get out of hand. Alumnus Olive, who was a student here in the early 1960s describes the attempt to establish a “Charities Week Appeal” in November 1961: “to distinguish from its infamous predecessor ‘Rag’.” She describes how there was “a genuine attempt to get away from the unpleasant features of Rag and to concentrate on the worthwhile task of collecting money for local good causes.”

Things did not exactly go to plan. Olives gives the details: “The whole thing looked as if it was going to be too quiet and respectable until Students’ Council decided to ban Goblio. A packed Union meeting confirmed their decision and inevitably it was reported in the local and national press, radio and television. As there is no such thing as bad publicity £900 net was raised for charity. For the first time there were no letters of complaint either to the University or the local press.”

Souvenir Rag programme for 1948

Despite best endeavours, it was difficult to disassociate the fund raising from the pranks and “the annual flour and water fight” still took place in Charities Week. Although Olive reports positively that “no hard feelings, and a good deal of hard cash (£1450) for charities resulted”.  

Southampton students have organsied various stunts over the years. In the early years – when trams still ran through the town centre – the students used to process into town, stopping traffic and collecting money. May Ellis paints a vivid picture:

The Marlands was a large open space where eventually the civic centre was built. The men wore any kind of fancy dress, and we wore our gowns and were occupied with selling copies of the Rag bag. From the farflung parts of the town we converged on the Clock Tower, at noon. This was a large stone sculpture, Above Bar, in the centre of the road, at the junction of Commerical Road. (It has since moved into the gardens). Around it we formed four concentric circles – 4th years inside and 1st years outside, for “Gobli”, the college war cry. This very successfully halted trams (yes! trams!) and other traffic from every direction.

Rag ‘stunt’ at South Stoneham House, 1963 or 1964 [MS 310/80 A4150]

W.Tomsett gives a similar account:

I remember taking part in a Rag on the town during those years. We crocodile down the Avenue, snakewise over the tram lines. When a tram didn’t stop some lay down across the rails until it did. We were in all sorts of fancy dress. Some carried buckets of paste – others theatre bills. These were stuck on bonnets and side of cars (which were halted) and on side of trams.

As the years progress, the stunts got more elaborate and extreme. Various former students have recollected: a banner appearing overnight down the civic centre clock tower; a cannon being lifted from one of the Winchester army establishments by residents from Connaught Hall; painted footsteps leading from Lord Palmerston’s statue in Romsey Square to the nearby lavatory; the “kidnap for ransom” of a top Southampton Football Club player and a banner proclaiming Rag draped over Stonehenge. Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight was broken into by a group of Southampton students as a publicity stunt. The Rag of 1963 featured a trans-Atlantic advertisement as the Queen Mary sailed for New York with Rag painted on her stern; apparently, Cunard were very understanding!

Local M.P. John Denham and Student Union President Simon Coningsby, November 1996 [MS 1/Phot/7/4/5]

In the twenty-first century, Rag has become the major fundraising committee of the University. Along with volunteers, they spend the year raising money for dozens of charities. Events include speed dating in February, hitch-hiking events to Christmas markets and the ‘Big Give’. Don’t worry if this all sounds a little tame compared with the antics of previous decades – there’s still the option of getting your kit off for the annual Rag calendar!

Its not possible to calculate the amount raised for charity by Southampton Rags but, whatever the total, it is heartwarming to think about all the good causes that have benefited from Southampton’s students over the years and the many more thousands of pounds more that will be raised in the future.

Travel journals: South and Central America

This week we continue our travel theme with a visit to South and Central America. This post draws on sources from our rare book stock – including accounts collected by John Pinkerton – as well as the diaries of the explorer William Mogg and correspondence of commercial traveller, Alfred Salinger.

Tropaeolum Majus, Greater Indian Cress or Nasturtium, a native of Peru and first brought to Europe in 1684 Curtis’s Botanical magazine vol. 1 [Rare Book per Q]

John Pinkerton was a Scottish cartographer and historian. He was not a great traveller himself, but collected and translated the accounts of others. His “general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world” includes a volume devoted to South America containing Captain’s Betagh’s observations on Peru; Alonso de Ovalle’s history of Chile; M. Bouguer’s voyage to Peru; an account of Don Antonio de Ulloa’s visit to South America and John Nieuhoff’s travels in Brazil.

‘View of Buenos Ayres’ from vol. 14 South America (1813): John Pinkerton A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The engraving of Buenos Aires by John Byrne was used to illustrate the account of Don Antonio de Ulloa’s time in South America at the command of the King of Spain. Ulloa gives his impressions of the city:

He [Don Pedro de Mendoza] gave it the name of Buenos Ayres, on account of the extreme salubrity of the air. The city is built on a large plain, gently rising from the little river. It is far from being small, having at least three thousand houses […] The city is surrounded by a spacious and pleasant country, free from any obstruction to the sight.

Ulloa’s voyage to South America p.642-3 from vol. 14 South America (1813): John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

Island of St Thomas John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The view of the St Thomas [now part of the Virgin Islands] illustrates John Nieuhoff’s account of his nine year stay in Brazil in the 1640s. He was clearly not on the pay-roll of their tourist board!

It is very fertile in black sugar and ginger; the sugar-fields being continually moistened by the melted snow that falls down from the mountains. There were at that time above sixty sugar mills there; but the air is the most unwholesome in the world, no foreigner daring to stay so much as one night ashore, without running the hazard of his life; because by the heat of the sun beams such venomous vapors are drawn from the earth, as are unsupportable to strangers.

Voyages and travels into Brazil by John Nieuhoff from John Pinkerton, A general collection of the best and most interesting voyages and travels in all parts of the world; many of which are now first translated into English, (London, 1808-14) [Rare Books G 161]

The Special Collections hold the papers of William Mogg. The third volume of his illustrated journals covers his time in South American waters, with accounts and illustrations from his voyage on the Beagle with Charles Darwin 1821-33. It was the observations that Darwin made during these expeditions that led him to formulate his theory of evolution.

‘Condor’: from the private journal of William Mogg, 1821–33 [MS 45 AO183/3]

William Mogg gives an account of the “metropolis of Brazil”, Rio de Janeiro:

In the environs of the city, are many beautiful situations; and while enjoying delightful rides amidst the richest, and most varied scenery, or resting in the shade of a veranda, refreshed by the sea-breeze, and overlooking a prospect hardly to be surpassed in any part of the world

William Mogg’s private journal, vol. 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]
Mole Palace and Cathedral, Rio de Janeiro from William Mogg’s private journal, vol. 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]

Mogg describes “Boto Fogo” as the Brighton of Rio and “from its situation exposed to the sea breeze, nothing more delightful can be wished for than this charming spot.” He goes on to say:

Many of the marine villas have egress to the sea for bathing, but in this fertile climate teaming with life, the attractions are so great, more especially to those fond of natural history, that he is scarcely able to walk at all.

William Mogg’s private journal, volume 3 [MS 45 AO183/3]

It all sounds quite delightful!

Cactus Flagelliformis which grows “spontaneously in South America and the West Indies”. Curtis’s Botanical magazine volume 1 [Rare Book per Q]

The Special Collections holds the papers of the Salinger family, including Morris and Harriet’s fifth child, Alfred (1867-1951). He spent two years at the City of London School and then began work for a firm of clothiers. Through family influence he went to work in Uruguay as a clerk in a firm constructing railways. This venture was terminated when he was invalided back to Britain after a bout of typhoid. He was not put off travelling, however, as Salinger later became a traveller for Vinolia Soap, visiting both Argentina and South Africa.

I am now on my way down to B Aires from Paraguay where I have been for the last 3 or 4 weeks. During Holy week (Easter) I accepted an invitation from a friend of mine in Asuncion to visit his estate and as one cannot do any business during that week on account of the religious observances which include burning effigies of Judas Iscariot and other ancient notabilities in the principal streets besides other religious processions, I thought I could not do better than accept his invitation to get clear of all the troublesome fanaticism of a properly observed Easter in one of the S American countries. My friend is a very good fellow, son-in-law of the British Consul in Asuncion and we had an excellent time together. We left Asuncion by train on Thursday March 26, arrived in Villa Rica at 3pm where I visited a customer, an N American who has been nearly 30 years in Paraguay [f.2] and has a very flourishing drug store there the only one outside of Asuncion of any importance. There is also an English Dr, Bottrill by name, who came out from Blackheath about 7 or 8 yrs ago for his health and is so satisfied with the climate that he has remained there with his wife, an English lady, and they are an excellent couple, young and very hospitable. Next day, 27th, we continued our journey as far as the railway goes to a spot called Piropo, taking with us only saddle and saddle bags, with the few necessaries for our stay at the estate, and guns etc. At Piropo an Indian servant was waiting for us with the horses, but the whistle of the railway engine had frightened them and after eating a little at a ranch near by the station we found when we were ready to saddle up that they had cleared away. So after duly cursing the Indian for not tying them more securely we sent him after them on a spare horse and at 11pm he came back with them having stopped them at a river about 5 miles off, which one has to cross on the way to the ‘Estancia’ as they call the estates here. Being a moonlight night we did not waste any time but saddled up and got away at once….

Letter from Alfred Salinger to his younger brother, Samuel, describing a journey from Paraguay to Buenos Aires to visit the estate of a friend, 17 April 1896 [MS 209 A810/1/3]
Bank note from Argentina from the wallet of Alfred Salinger, a commercial traveller for Vinolia Soap [MS 209 A810/1/8]

Join us for our next travel blog post, where the destination will be Europe!

“While you are in England…”: refugees in Britain in the twentieth century

A particular strength of our holdings is collections relating to refugees; in this blog post we will focus on our twentieth century material. The bulk of our material concerns Jewish refugees from the Second World War period. However, there is also material from the turn of the century relative to individuals fleeing Eastern Europe plus more recent collections which sheds light on Spanish children evacuated during the civil war.

Documents created by the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor relate to the immigration of Jews from Russian and Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Photograph from a file relating to the adoption of orphaned immigrant children from Russia. Their names (starting at the back on the left) are: Zipporah Pokotilow, Sische Charitanski, Hannah Levene, Rebecca Katz, Bejamin Charitanski, Hyman Schneier, Hyman Borodkin, Dora Katz, Boris Pokosilow, Aron Katz, Isaac Levene, Boris Levene, Mendel Schneier, Isaac Borodkin, Bessie Levene, Fanny Levene, Eva Schneier and Sarah Charitanski [MS 173/1/5/6]

This material is now part of the Jewish Care collection. A significant portion of the minute books concern emigration and the administration of relief. The Russo-Jewish and Jewish Board of Guardians conjoint committee was formed in 1891, on the exhaustion of the Mansion House Fund for the victims of Russian persecution, that had been established approximately ten years earlier. The collection contains five editions of the periodical Darkest Russia: a record of persecution from 1891 plus press cuttings about Jewry in Russia for 1904-9.

A related collection, the papers of Carl Stettauer, give details of pogroms against Jewish communities in Russia during this period.

The collections of archives relating to Jewish refugees in the 1930s and 1940s vary considerably in size and scope, from simply one file to hundreds of boxes. Examples of smaller collections include minute books of the Board of Management of the Christian Council of Refugees from Germany, 1940-51.

Notes on “refugee pastors and their families” from September 1945 [MS 65/1/1]

The Council of Refugees was part of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ). This was founded in 1942 to combat religious and racial intolerance and to promote mutual understanding and good-will between Christians and Jews, especially in connection with the conditions created by the war.

Another collection of interest is the papers of Diana Silberstein, a native of Sarajevo (formerly part of Yugoslavia and now Bosnia and Herzegovina), who came to Britain as a refugee via Germany. Her papers include official documents and correspondence dating from 1936-46.

A copy of a letter from Diana Silberstein to the Home Office requesting permission to work [MS 93]

We have a personal account in the form of the typescript autobiography of Dr D.Fuerst, a refugee dentist from Nazi Austria. The following account gives some details of his reception in the UK:

The Refugee Committee in Bloomsbury House and later in Woburn House was a blessing to us. The mostly voluntary worker did an admirable job and no praise is high enough to appreciate the patient and sympathetic way in which they managed to deal with us. We were not easy customers. The variety of our problems were incredible and all of them were urgent and very important. The first person who found her feet was our daughter Lilian. I had to take her the day after we arrived to the nearest primary school in Salisbury Road, Kilburn. She was very happy there and made some friends. At the end of the school year in June she was at the top of the class. Her teacher talked to us about scholarships in the future but we could not make it out what she meant until some years later. (She is a University professor and author of several books).

[MS 116/68]

Cissi Z.Rosenfelder was honorary secretary of the Golders Green Beth Hamedrash Refugee Aid Committee in 1938 and 1939. Her papers include lists of children from Germany and correspondence with refugee committees.

Jakob Israel (aged 4), Johanna Israel (aged 6) and Gustav Israel (aged 5) [MS116/157]

This photograph was enclosed with a letter from Frederich Israel, a Jewish doctor living in Germany, dated August 1939, asking for help in placing his children in a liberal Jewish or Christian home in the UK to enable him to prepare for emigration to the U.S.A. He explained how it was necessary for his family to move from Germany as he was now only permitted to treat a part of the Jewish population which was not sufficient to get even a moderate income.

Cecil and Joan Stott, of Letchmore Heath, Hertfordshire, assisted Jewish refugees during the Second World War, including Sigmund Adler (brother of the psychologist, Alfred Adler) and his sons, Kurt and Ernst, from Vienna.

Ernst and Trudi Adler with Trudi’s mother and other Jewish refugees, settled in Australia [MS 293 A1015/3]

Their papers include correspondence with the German Jewish Aid Committee and the Germany Emergency Committee as well as letters about and with the Adler family and about other refugees.

Larger collections held by the Archives and Manuscripts include the papers of the Polish Jewish Refugee Fund. This archive is composed of case files relating to several hundred individuals and provides details of individual’s name, place of birth, family, address in Great Britain, date of arrival in the Great Britain and their place of origin, education and qualifications.

advice booklet
Excerpt from While you are in England: helpful information and guidance for every refugee issued by the German Jewish Aid Committee and the Jewish Board of Deputies [MS 293 A1015/8]

The Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council was an organisation of the Orthodox Jewish community. The archive contains a great deal on the administration and organisation of its work in the field of both the rescue and support of refugees, particularly child refugees, 1938-49. Amongst the papers are numerous lists of refugees (from Central and Eastern Europe) compiled by the Council, working closely with other relief organisations. These include not just lists of refugees present in Central and Eastern Europe, but of those brought over to Great Britain by the Council, of those given accommodation and assistance by the Council, and of those given assistance to emigrate from Great Britain by the Council. These often quite detailed lists contain much more information besides the names of individuals, such as their date and place of birth, their address, family details and, in some cases, their occupation.

Post-war Kinder, c. 1946-7 [MS 183/1006/1/2]

For refugees brought over to Great Britain by the Council, further information can be found in the form of photographs, biographical profiles, correspondence and refugee fund assistance cards. Landing cards and identity cards complement the block passport and other mass travel documents which exist for child refugees who travelled with the Council. After the arrival of refugees in Great Britain, there are further Council papers relating to their support, such as refugee fund assistance cards or a file of registration forms for the North London Refugee Home, 1938-40. Finally, there are lists, forms, photographs and travel documents relating to those who emigrated from Great Britain.

The Archives and Manuscripts also holds audio-visual material relative to refugees and Holocaust survivors. The Fortunoff Video Collection is a small collection of filmed testimonials of Holocaust survivors from the collection at Yale University.

Refugee Voices is an electronic resource consisting of a collection of 150 filmed interviews with Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors who made their home in Great Britain. The refugees describe their experiences prior to coming to this country and the ways in which they adapted to life in Britain. It was created by the Association of Jewish Refugees.

Photograph from the ‘colony’ of Basque child refugees at Cambria House, Caerleon in South Wales c. 1937-9 [MS 370/3 A3046/16]

The Archives has more recently acquired collections relating to the Basque evacuee children from the Spanish Civil War including oral testimonials and interviews of Los Niños. You can learn more about these collections in last week’s blog by Dr Edward Packard.

A second more recent acquisition are transcripts of interviews conducted by Tony Kusher and Katherine Knox in the mid-1990s with refugees from Chile, Czechoslovakie, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Uganda and Vietman. [MS 401]

We feel privileged to house these collections in our strongrooms. The stories they tell – while sometimes difficult – are important to preserve and make available for future generations.

Highfield Campus 100: 1960s

And so we move to the “swinging sixties”, a decade of significant growth and expansion for the University. Projections made at the beginning of the 1960s were that Southampton would reach a total of 4,000 students by 1980. However, in 1963 the Robbins Report was published. This proposed great expansion in higher education and recommended that the number of students at English Universities should rise from 150,000 to 170,000. Southampton seized this opportunity and offered to increase its students to 4,000 by 1967.

ariel view 1959 phot.11.5.jpg

Aerial view of the Highfield site, c. 1959 [MS 1/Phot/11/5] University Road runs past the ‘main building’ [now the Hartley Library]

In the 1963-4 session, seven new chairs were created and about 50 new appointments made, within 15 departments. The following year 135 appointments were made in four departments. The decade also saw a remarkable number of new buildings.

Key to the 1960s was architect Sir Basil Spence who had been charged the previous decade with creating a “master plan” for the Highfield Campus and all the major buildings of this period were designed by him.


[MS 1/Phot/39 ph3375]

In 1966 the University was graced by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She saw an exhibition of Kinetic art, the Nuffield Theatre and various displays in the Senior Common room.

The Arts 

In the pre-war era Arts had been a small part of what was primarily a science, engineering and teacher training college. In the 1960s, the General Degree was replaced with a new Combined Honours Degree. The following year, 1963, the Arts 1 Building was completed as part of the “Nuffield complex”; this building is now used by the Law School.


Arts I, 1969 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The faculty was, at last, united! The new building allowed the faculty to leave the “main building”, i.e. Library, for the first time and to expand. A one-year MA programme was launched in 1966.

The Department of Archaeology was established in 1966. The chair was given to Barry Cunliffe who, aged 26, was believed to be the youngest professor the college or university had ever appointed. The Modern Languages Department transferred its teaching of languages for non-specialists to a new language centre under Tom Carter, with two language laboratories. The Library hold some records of the Modern Language Society in MS 1 A308.

Nuffield and Arts II

Arts II and the Nuffield Theatre [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The Arts II building (Management and Music since 1996) was built in 1968. This was to accommodate, among other departments, Geography. As well as lecture rooms, it provided a cartographic studio and laboratories.


Arts II [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The poet F.T.Prince was Professor of English from 1957 to 1974: he is probably best remembered for his collection Soldiers Bathing (1954), the title poem of which is one of the most anthologised poems of the Second World War.

In 1961 Peter Evans was appointed first Professor of Music since 1928. He engineered the virtual creation of a Music Department involved in the academic study of music as well as a huge expansion of live performance.


The Science Faculty had 1,522 applicants for admission in October 1960; it was only permitted to take 160. As a result of the Robbins Report, the University appointed 11 Professors to the Faculty: four to arrive 1967-8 and the other seven the following year.

To help with expansion, new accommodation was built for the Chemistry department in 1960-1. It was later to be named after Graham Hill, Chair of Chemistry for some 18 years.

phot.37.7Graham hills building

Graham Hill building [MS 1/Phot/37/7]

Hill was appointed to the University in 1962. Under his leadership the Chemistry Department grew to become one of the most distinguished in Britain concentrating on electro-chemistry, chemical physics, organic chemistry and inorganic spectroscopy.

phot.12.11 chem lab

Chemistry department teaching laboratory, 1969 [MS 1/Phot/12/11]

An extension was added to the Hill building in 1965. An international summer school in electro-chemistry was launched in 1969.

Oceanography had its origins in the Department of Zoology. As an embryonic department it was promoted with enthusiasm by Professor John Raymont: he started researching the marine biology of coastal waters using Zoology’s first boat Aurelia. Oceanography became a separate department in October 1964 and John Raymont became Professor of Biological Oceanography. A new building north of the campus on Burgess Road was completed in 1965; designed in brick by the Sheppard Robson Partnership. Since 1996 this has housed part of Electronics and Computer Science.


Construction of the Oceanography Building, October 1964 [MS 1/Phot/22/1/3/16]

The Botany and Geology building (later renamed the Shackleton building) was completed in 1966. The architect was again Basil Spence. Since 1996, it has housed Geography and Psychology.

Construction of the Shackleton building, April 1966 [MS 1/Phot/22/1/2/23]

George Hutchinson was appointed to the second chair in Physics in 1960. The Department became increasingly interested in cryogenics, surface physics and solar-terrestrial physics. It received a new building in 1966 complete with an observatory. A further two Chairs were appointed: Eric Lee who worked on fundamental solid-state studies in magnetism and John Taylor who specialised in theoretical particle physics.

Physics with mathematics

Physics building with the Mathematics building in the background, late 1960s [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

Engineering and Applied Science

The Lanchester and Tizard buildings for Engineering, Electronics and Aerospace studies were opened in May 1960. They were located on the north of ‘Engineering square’ and connected to the pre-existing engineering facilities.


Lanchester Building from the South East [MS 1/Phot22/1/3]

The Lanchester building, housing Electronics, aeronautics, electrical engineering and hydraulics, is named after alumnus F.W.Lanchester.

22.1.3_lanchester lecture theatre

Main lecture theatre in the Lanchester Building [MS 1/Phot22/1/3]

Famous for his contributions to aeronautical, automobile and other branches of engineering, Lanchester had been a student at the Hartley Institution. The Tizard building replaced the old aeronautics laboratory and housed the wind-tunnels plus the mechanical department. The wind tunnel had been a gift from Vickers Supermarine at Swindon (originally located in Southampton) and a second large working section was added for helicopter rotor, industrial aerodynamics and yacht sail research. Among other achievements, Sir Henry Tizard helped develop radar during World War Two; he was also one of the University’s first pro-Chancellors.

Lanchester MS1_Phot_39_ph3200_r

Official opening of the Lanchester building in May 1960. L-R: Vice Chancellor, Mrs D.Lanchester (widow), Mr. Lanchester (brother), Sir George Edwards, Lady Tizard, Lady Edards, Mrs James and Dr Tizard [MS 1/Phot/39 ph3200]

Despite growth in student numbers during its first dozen years, the Engineering Faculty was unable to find enough good applicants to expand as fast as other Faculties. To help remedy this, it founded the Southampton Engineering and Applied Science Forum in 1967 with Bob Gammon, then Head of Science at Richard Taunton’s College, as the first Director, and Professor Ron Bell as the first Chairman. This brought together representatives of schools, universities and industry, its aim to devise ways of persuading more young people to choose careers in applied science.


Engineering department [MS 1/Phot/22/2/1/3]

The Faraday Tower, designed by Basil Spence, was built between 1960 and 1963 also to house the Engineering Faculty. The Electrical Engineering Department had proposed that the new building should be named the Maxwell Building, after James Clerk Maxwell who had formulated the basic equations of electromagnetism. The Dean of the Faculty was not keen on that proposal in case people thought the University was linked with the publisher Robert Maxwell and so Faraday – after Michael Faraday, famed for his work with electromagnetism and electrochemistry – was chosen instead. It consisted of a ten-storey tower for Electrical Engineering and a large laboratory block for Civil Engineering.

The faculty received an extension in 1968 with the Wolfson and Raleigh buildings.

Lanchester building and Faraday tower

View of Lanchester Building and Faraday Tower, 1970 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2156]

In November 1961 the University Senate had approved that an Advisory Committee on Vibration and Noise Studies be set up as a sub-committee of the Board of the Faculty of Engineering under Professor Elfyn J.Richards as Chairman. Two years later, in 1963, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) was established by Professor Richards.  He was given the title Professor of Industrial Acoustics in 1964. Through the sixties, it worked on an expanding range of problems, for example using lasers to predict failure in heavy machinery of the sort used in ships or drilling rigs. In 1966 an “Advisory Service for Industry” was established within the Institute.


Fan noise measurement at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, c. 1960s or 1970s [MS 1/Phot/11/29]

Philip Doak had been recruited to Southampton by Richards in 1962. On his arrival he was asked to design acoustic laboratories for the new Institute, and also to assist with establishing the Journal of Sound and Vibration. The first issue of the journal appeared in January 1964.

Phot.11.31 computation laboratory

Computation laboratory, 1961 [MS 1/Phot/11/31]

In the early 1960s, there were remarkable developments in solid-state electronics: microelectronics had arrived! Undergraduate courses concentrating on electronics were needed to enable students to study this challenging subject in more breadth and depth. Southampton was the first department in Britain to respond to this need, by launching a new BSc course in Electronics in October 1959, in the Faculty of Science. In the 1963-4 academic session the department had 9 academic staff; by 1969-70 this had risen to 28.  Professor Geoffrey Sims headed the  Department of Electronics between 1963 and 1974, replacing Professor Eric Zepler.

memory store phot.11.31

Memory store for Pegasus computer, 1961 [MS 1/Phot/11/31]

In 1963 the Department was housed within the new Lanchester Building. Separate space was found for microelectronics work with the top two floors of the newly built Faraday building given over for offices and laboratory space. Towards the end of the decade Southampton had the first professional standard clean room in any university in the country, enabling us to process silicon technology and devices.


The University had a medicine-related Department of Physiology and Biochemistry. In 1967, the Royal Commission on Medical Education advised the Government that there was a strong case for establishing a new medical school in Southampton.  The previous year it had established that there needed to be an immediate and substantial increase in the number of doctors. Sir Kenneth Mather, (Vice Chancellor 1965-71) whose specialism was genetics, had been an enthusiastic supporter of the project.


Sketch of the proposed Medical and Biological Sciences building from the south, c. 1960s [MS 1/Phot/39 ph3228]

Professor Donald Acheson arrived in October 1968 to be the foundation Dean and the first intake of students arrived two years later, in 1971.

Social Sciences

Economics was transformed into the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1962. It was divided into 5 departments: Economics, Sociology and Social Studies, Politics, Economic Statistics and Commerce and Accounting.

The Mathematics tower was built in 1963-5 by Ronald H Sims in the “brutalist style” with exposed concrete.


Photograph of the Maths building at the Highfield site, c. 1965-70 [MS 1/Phot/11/10]

During this decade, Mathematics devised and promoted the School Mathematics Project (SMP), a new way to teach Mathematics in secondary schools which aimed to make it more fun and more relevant to contemporary needs.

Examination papers from the period are preserved in our strongrooms: do you think you would pass?


Mathematics examination paper, 1960s [MS 1 A2060]

Halls of residence

As a consequence of growth, the percentage of students living in halls of residence had fallen from 46 percent to 37 percent. Long-standing Council member, James Matthews, had convinced the University that the growing student body would require more accommodation and set about acquiring the first essential: land. The University bought 4 acres of land at the junction of Burgess Road and the Avenue and were also given the right to acquire some 200 houses on or near the campus, all for subsequent demolition to release their sites.

ChamberlainHall MS1.Phot22.1.1.8

The East Wing of Chamberlain Hall [MS 1/Phot22/1/1/8]

One wing of Chamberlain Hall was open for the 1959-60 session enabling 60 students to take up residence and a further 90 places became available in the summer of 1960. This new hall of residence for female students was possible due to a gift from the late Miss Mary Chamberlain and the late Miss Charlotte Chamberlain. The adjacent South Hill, formerly a self-contained residence for 30 students also became part of Chamberlain Hall.


The Junior Common Room of Chamberlain Hall [MS 1/Phot22/1/1/8]

South Stoneham House, Montefiore and Connaught Hall make up what is now known at the Wessex Lane complex.  The stables and servants’ quarters at South Stoneham House were demolished in 1961 and in 1964 a concrete tower extension was added to the hall, incorporating a bar and dining hall area.


Construction of South Stoneham House, May 1962 [MS 1/Phot/11/20]

The tower contains 180 student rooms over its 17 floors and is 48.7 metres high; it wast the 10th-tallest building in Southampton as of December 2017!

Montefiore House (often referred to as ‘Monte’) as a hall of residence was opened in 1966, built on the grounds of the sports field.

Construction of Montefiore House Blocks A and B, 1964-5 [MS 1/Phot/22/1/7]

These original structures are now known as Montefiore A and B. They housed approximately three hundred students in study bedrooms on individual corridor flats, with shared kitchens and other facilities, ranged over 5 floors.

New Court at Glen Eyre with people

New Court at Glen Eyre Hall of Residence, 1969 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/3]

Chilworth Manor was purchased in 1964 and made into a hall of residence for about 60 first year students.

Professional Support Services: the Library, Computing Services and Administration

At this time, the ‘Main Building’ housed not only the Library, but also Administration and provided classrooms for several faculties. The Gurney-Dixon link had opened at the very end of the last decade, December 1959.  This provided a large extension to the original pre-war building. At the start of the decade there was space for 250,000 books and periodicals and 550 readers.


Level four of the Gurney-Dixon link, looking west showing card catalogues and Library counter staff with Mrs S.Bell, Library Assistant; Miss E.Fitzpayne; Miss M.Cooper, Senior Library Assistant and Miss A.Player, August 1966 [MS 1/Phot/39 ph3262]

In May 1962, the Library Committee carried out a survey of students attitudes to the Library, the first survey of its kind to be undertaken in the UK. At this time there were 1417 undergraduates at the University and a random sample of 200 was chosen:

The proportion of students using the Main Library much for borrowing (2 or more books a week) ranged from 52% in Arts to 0% in Engineering; Economics, with 19%, had the second highest proportion. […] In all faculties the proportion of students using the Main Library for working with their own books was high […] and 21%  used it for “other purposes” (e.g. letter writing).

28% of the sample used the catalogues as a first resort, 13% never used them if they could help it.

65% found the Library staff always ready to help, 22% helpful but not always available, and 3% not helpful […]It had never occured to over half the students that the staff could help them with a subject inquiry […]

MS 1/5/239/129

A great coup for the University was the acquisition of the Parkes Library.  It was originally the private library of Revd. Dr James Parkes (1896-1981) who devoted his life to investigating and combating the problem of anti-Semitism.  Parkes began collecting books whilst working for the International Student Service in Europe during the 1930s. On his return to Britain in 1935, following an attempt on his life by the Nazis, he made the collection available to other scholars at his home in Barley near Cambridge.


The official opening of the Parkes Library showing an exhibition in the Turner Sims Library, 23 June 1965 [MS 1/Phot/39 ph3513]

By the time Parkes’ library was transferred to University of Southampton Library in 1964 it amounted to over 4,000 books, 2,000 pamphlets and 140 journals.

It was in the 1964-5 session that Geoff Hampson was appointed Assistant Librarian in charge of the Special Collections and Archives; at the same time, a “suitable repository” was established for the material. In addition, the Library was also one of the first in the country to introduce a computer-based issue system, using punched cards.

In 1967 the Computing Services was set up as a service operation outside the Mathematics Department: not for research into computing as a science, but for serving the University. The University had acquired its first computer the previous decade.

The department moved from the Library to its own purpose-built building in 1969: it was already too small to accommodate the growing number of staff.

The Arts

The Union organised the first Arts Festival, opened in March 1961 by Sir Basil Spence. In 1962-3 the Theatre Group’s Volpone was one of 5 finalists in The Sunday Times drama festival.


University of Southampton Operatic Society production of The Mikado in the University Assembly Hall in February 1960 [MS 1/7/198/1]

In 1963, with support from the Nuffield Foundation, the University of Southampton built a theatre on its campus for the people of Southampton: the Nuffield Theatre.

nuffield interioir.jpg

The Nuffield Theatre

The Nuffield Theatre was designed by Basil Spence and officially opened by Dame Sybil Thorndike on 2 March 1964.


Nuffield Theatre and sculpture in ornamental pond [MS 1/Phot/22/1/2/15]

The Music Department pioneered a scheme sponsored by its major benefactor the Radcliffe Trust, which each year brought the Allegri String Quartet to the University for short periods of residence. The University also gave contracts to a succession of distinguished young players and ensembles to enable them to reside for a number of years, giving regular performances and teaching their instruments. So professionals and students each presented weekly lunchtime recital series and the madrigal choir (under David Brown for more than two decades), the chamber orchestra and the symphony orchestra gave regular concerts.

In 1967, John Sweetman was appointed first lecturer in Fine Art. He had three responsibilities: to organise art exhibitions, to manage the University’s permanent art collection and to lecture on the history of art. The gallery in the Nuffield was far from satisfactory, with windows on three sides which had to be blacked out, but Sweetman managed to organise three exhibitions a term. From 1967 a succession of Fine Arts Fellows (among them Ned Hoskins and Ray Smith) spent periods at the University where they were given studios and provided general support to its cultural life.

Student life

By 1960-1 the Union had expanded into almost the whole of the “West Building” – the Old Union Building – dating back to the 1940s, in red brick style. By 1967 the new Students’ Union building was completed, in the Basil Spence masterplan, offering on-site catering, shopping, indoor sports and a debating chamber for the first time. The two buildings were connected by an underground tunnel.

Bar in Union.jpg

The bar in the Students’ Union, c. 1970 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The Old Union Building over three floors housed, among other facilities, a TV room, Radio Club room and Wessex News office, the club and society meetings rooms and a second-hand book and records exchange.


The refectory in the new Union building, c. 1970 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The new Union building included a refectory to seat 475, ballroom and bar. It also provided a debating chamber which could also accommodate musical performances. The sports facilities included provisions for squash, badminton, basketball, fencing, cricket, and tennis practice as well as gymnastics, a billiards room, table tennis room, and a judo room. Other facilities less commonly provided today included a laundry and ironing room, a hair washing room, bath and shower cubicles as well as a pottery and painting studio.

Gymn and sports hall

Gymnasium and sports hall, 1970 [MS 1/Phot/22/3/2]

The Union was required to cancel the 1960 RAG, after the University threatened disciplinary action against it.  It was resurrected in 1963. The annual Union dinner was regularly criticized as elitist, but remained an annual event.

Radio Goblio RAG 1964 MS 310.80 A4150

“Radio Goblio” RAG, 1964 [MS 310/80 A4150]

The 1960s saw the beginnings of student protest. These varied from a boycott of the refectory due to the quality of the food to support for national and international causes. These included support for were protesting students in Berlin (June 1967), French students and workers opposing the Gaullist regime (May 1968) and imprisoned Russian intellectuals (June 1968). Among the British causes it supported were the right of Sikhs to wear turbans when employed by Wolverhampton Corporation and Ford workers in their strike at wide Lane.  In 1969 it voted to ban Enoch Powell from Union premises.

Gordon Walter Protest SCR 19 May 1965 MS 310.80 A4150.jpg

George Walker protest SCR, 19 May 1965 [MS 310/80 A4150]

The first unofficial sit-in took place 3-4 February 1968 when about 50 students occupied the Administration’s offices in the main building for 24 hours in support of London School of Economics students. No damage was done, though the occupation put the University’s telephone exchange out of action. 17 months later (30 June to 2 July 1969) there was a 48-hour official occupation of the same offices by about 60 students, protesting at the number of students required to resit examinations that year. The sit-ins continued into the 1970 about which you can read in our next post.

This period also saw the establishment of a student health centre with a sick bay at Chamberlain Hall.


The University boat club was one of the many sporting activities in which Southampton students could choose to partake in this decade. Others included rugby, basketball, hockey, lacrosse and squash.

students in boat

The first VIII at Cobden Bridge, March 1961 [MS 310/46 A2075]

In 1963 Bruce Tulloh, a former Botany student, broke the British two-, three- and six-mile records and won a gold medal at the World Games. In 1969 he was to run from Los Angeles to New York in 64 days, 20 hours, breaking the previous record by 8 days.

As we draw this long post to a close, it is obvious that so much was achieved during this decade. The University saw incredible expansion in the sixties: the institution truly seized the opportunities offered by the Robbins report with both hands. Look out for our next post to read the next chapter in the University’s history and learn about the challenges and opportunities brought by the 1970s.

Aeriel view 1970.11.8.jpg

Aerial view of the Highfield site in 1970 [MS 1/Phot/11/8]. Compare this view to the one at the start of the post: the University saw incredible expansion in just 10 years!

75th anniversary of D-Day: 6 June

Today, we commemorate the 75th anniversary of ‘D-Day’, the largest seaborne invasion in history. Codenamed Operation Neptune, this Allied invasion of Normandy commenced on 6 June 1944 as part of Operation Overlord, during World War II. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

Days and Polhill

Colonel James O’Donald Mays pictured with fellow Georgian Lt. James Polhill, part of the American Navy’s logistical operations which provided landing craft and other vessels for the war effort [MS 379/3 A4024/10]

We will take a look at Southampton’s role in the operations through the papers and photographs collected by American Colonel James O’Donald Mays [MS 379/3 A4024], whose Army Port unit was assigned to Southampton to direct American military activities for the preparation for D-Day and its follow-up.  He later worked as a diplomat, journalist and author.

During the ensuing summer days and nights, Southampton witnessed a sight unparalleled in all its long momentous history. The military traffic, chiefly U.S.A., roared on in an unending torrent.

Almost every road and street carried its weight of vehicles, two and sometimes three a breast; trucks swept by loaded with soldiers, huge petrol tanks, jeeps, searchlights, DUKWs, great guns, tank-transporters and tanks without number, the giant Shermans roaring and grinding past, shaking the houses as they went.

Local historian Elsie M.Sandell writing for a 40th anniversary commemorative magazine produced by the Evening Echo, June 1984

Southampton was all but taken over by the military in the lead up to D-Day. Southampton Common accommodated large numbers of Allied troops and the foundations of their huts are still visible after long spells of dry weather. The Bargate in the shopping centre was a Military Police post.

Southampton was chosen as the chief supply and troop movement centre for the American army, known as the 14th Major Port of the US Army Transportation Corps. It was the centre of marine operations as the first shipment point for American men and supplies from the UK to the Continent. Southampton was essential in discharging of cargo before D-Day, loading of landing craft and other assault vessels for the European invasion and build up, and shipping of United states-bound troops under the re-deployment programme.

Entrance to the Administration offices of the 14th port

The administrative offices of the 14th Port [MS 379/3 A4024/10]

The 14th Port staff arrived in the United Kingdom on 16 July 1943 and three days later began operations at London, Southampton and Plymouth. Up to 1 February 1944, Port Headquarters were in London. When Allied strategists selected Southampton as the chief loading point for troops and war materials for the invasion, headquarters were moved to Southampton Civic Centre; offices were later relocated to Houndwell Park.

The port of Southampton was selected because of its strategic location. The “double tide” effected by the position of the Isle of Wight at the bottom of The Solent meant the port was perfectly suited for mass loading and sailing of vessels. It also benefited from a huge anchorage space off Cowes as well as deep water docking facilities and spacious loading sheds.


Members of a U.S. Navy beach Battalion medical unit stow their gear on the deck of an Landing Craft, Infantry (Large). They took park in an invasion rehearsal. [MS379/3 A4024/1]

Some impressive statistics for the period include that 8,300 ships passed through the harbour. Approximately 2,500,000 men were transported to and from the Continent and the United States and 3,000,000 tons of goods were carried to European ports and beaches.

The operation naturally had a huge impact on the city and its civilian population. Three Southampton schools were used as billets for United States Army troops. Swaythling Infant (Mayfield), Taunton’s and Ascupart Road. 

Downthe Hatch)

American soldiers boarding a Landing Craft, Infantry (Large) as part of an invasion rehearsal  [MS 379/3 A4024/10] Credit: U.S. Navy Photograph Public Relations Section, London

This huge flow of men and vehicles required co-ordination. Military police escorts were required and checkpoints established and a checking system was instigated to help prevent congestion in Southampton’s streets. Routes were planned to interfere as little as possible with civilian transport.

The Army Transportation Corps Harbour Craft Companies were attached to the 14th Port and it was their job to operate the hundreds of small tug-boats, floating cranes and other harbour craft assigned to the Port. One of the key vessels was the LST – Landing Ship Tank – a “lifeline” to supply Europe. It was capable of carrying 50 to 75 vehicles; 2,539 LSTs were loaded at Southampton.


D-Day marked a key victory in the Second World War: it prevented Hitler launching his new V-weapons against British cities in a last-minute effort to save Germany. For more on Southampton’s role in this momentous event, see the Library’s Cope Collection for additional resources.

Celebrating nurses: the life of Inge Kallman

Today we share one of our lesser-known collections, the papers of Igne Kallman (MS 386 A4046). It is especially appropriate to do so on International Nurses Day as Kallman worked as a nurse for many years in the NHS.

Kallmangroup of nurses

Nursing graduates, probably at Hope Hospital [MS 386 A4046/6/12]

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) first celebrated nurses on this day in 1965; nearly 10 years later, in 1974, it was officially made International Nurses Day. Each year since then, the ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses’ Day Kit which contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.  12 May is no arbitrary date but the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, widely considered a founder of modern nursing.

So on to our ‘nurse of the day’, Ingeberg Pauline Kallman, who was born on 12 June 1924 in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Inge came to England with her parents, Margaretha and Ernst, as refugees in 1939, settling in Manchester where family connections had a factory.  Like many others in their position, they had to face a new life in considerably reduced circumstances, starting off in one room.


Kallman’s German passport; note the red ‘J’  [MS 386 A4046 1/1/1]

The collection includes personal records for Inge and her parents including their German travel passes and other records concerning their emigration to the UK. There are also some early twentieth century photographs of Inge and her family in Germany and from their first years as British citizens.

Inge worked in a clothing factory and then trained first in general nursing at City of Salford Hope Hospital, Eccles, 1945-8, followed by midwifery at St James’s Hospital, Balham and the South London Hospital for Women and Children.  She later took a Nursing Administration course at the Royal College of Nursing.  She held posts in Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds before moving to regional level, first with the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board and then the Mersey RHA in 1970. She retired in June 1984 and thus had worked for more than 39 years in the health service.

kallman certificate

Kallman’s certificate in “invalid cookery” dating from 1946 [MS 386 A4046/3/1]

Her final post in the NHS was in Liverpool and at that time she and her mother (her father had died probably in the early 1950s) moved to live in a bungalow in Ainsdale near Southport.  Inge’s mother died in 1994.

In her retirement, Inge travelled and studied.  From 1988-92 she studied part-time at the Edge Hill College of Higher Education.  She was awarded a BA in History and Applied Social Science from the College in 1992; her thesis focused on ‘Jewish Poor Relief in Liverpool, 1811-1882′.  In 2001-2 she studied a Current Affairs course with the Worker’s Educational Association.

Kallman two nurses

Image of two nurses cleaning; we believe Inge is the right [MS 386 A4046/6/12]

Inge had an active retirement and the bulk of the collection dates from this period of her life.  There are papers concerning her study at the Edge Hill College of Higher Education including research notes, essays and examination papers; two diaries from holidays to Geneva and Canada and large quantity of photographs and slides of holidays, days out and family and friends.

After suffering minor strokes, Inge took up residence in the Morris Feinmann Home, Manchester in 2002.  She died, aged 85, on the 12 January 2009.

A voice to lead health for all

The theme for this year is “A voice to lead – Heath for All”. So on this day we would like to express our thanks to Inge – and all nurses around the world – for the work they do.