Category Archives: Manuscript Collections

Travels in Europe

How about taking a trip to Europe for your summer break? But what would your journey have been like in the days before fast cars or budget airlines. Whilst industrialisation and developments in modes of transport – such as trains and steamers – throughout the nineteenth century made travel easier, journeys would have been a very different prospect from our modern experience.

This week’s blog looks at the accounts of three women between the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century, offering a glimpse of travel in the age of horse-drawn carriages, trains, steamers and early motor cars.

Sketch of travel by horse and carriage, 1829 [MS61 Wellington Papers 1/1034/29]

The first traveller is Mary Mee, Viscountess Palmerston. With her husband and children she travelled to continental Europe on various occasions during the late eighteenth century. Her account relates to the visit they made in 1792, beginning with a description of the Channel crossing on the packet boat from England to Calais and then a drive in horse drawn carriage to Boulogne:

“Sunday the 29th of July. We had a very short passage of three hours which appeared to me like three and thirty…. The children were all a little indisposed but they forgot their past sickness when we landed at Calais. We breakfasted and drest and then set off for the Hotel de Ville where we were to appear in person to have our picture taken, that is to have our persons so accurately described that we could not give our passports to anybody else that they might effect their escape. Nothing, however, could be civiler and they detained us as short a time as possible…. During the examination of our baggage and the refitting of our carriage we took a walk and viewed the Duchess of Kingston’s house… We had a pleasant drive to Bologne where we arrived at the renowned Mrs Knowles, time enough to take a walk on the pier…”

[MS62 Broadlands Archives BR11/18/6]

“Searched by the Douaniers on the French frontiers” in Journal of sentimental travels in the southern provinces of France (Ackermann, London, 1821) [Rare Books DC607.7]

Travel documentation and checking of luggage was as much part of the eighteenth-century experience as for the modern traveller. The account by Lady Palmerston emphasising the civility of the process provides a marked contrast to accounts of less scrupulous practices for border crossings, as shown in the Rudolph Ackermann illustration above.

The Paris of Lady Palmerston’s visit was that of the First French Republic created in the aftermath of the revolution.

“The Garde Meuble” from Paris and its historical scenes vol. 1 (London, 1831) [Rare Books DC707]

She begins with a more typical tourist account praising the architecture and the environment: “I am extremely struck with the magnificent buildings in Paris. The fine hotels and gardens with the number of pathed walks and gardens which make a summer pass’d in Paris as pleasant as the country. The clearness of the air from burning only wood is very singular to any body used to the smoke of London…”

The Louvre from Paris and its historical scenes vol. 1 (London, 1831) [Rare Books DC707]

But Lady Palmerston’s description of the city goes beyond an admiration for the sites, and in her comments provide an interesting perspective on the social changes taking place:

“The total absence of everything like a person of fashion or a carriage … is very striking… We went and walked afterwards in the Palais Royal which used to be filled with all kinds of elegant people. It was crowded indeed, but with quite a different description. It’s the gayest place possible and you might pass your life in it and never want anything but what you might find there. All kinds of shops, coffee houses, taverns … dancing, gambling, politicks talking all around you and ladies without number.”

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR11/18/6]

Private journal of Elizabeth Waley, 1845 [MS371 A3042/2/4/15]

The second traveller is Elizabeth Waley (1821-84), the only daughter of Solomon Jacob Waley and his wife Rachael Hort. This account records her journey with her parents across Europe and around the Rhine in 1845, utilising, as well as carriages, the relatively new modes of transport – both trains and steamers.

The distance of nearly 50 years did not seem to have improved the experience of the initial part of the journey – that of crossing the Channel. The boat was described as having “pitched about tremendously” with the “women wretchedly provided for … with no stewardess nor any one to attend to them.” Border crossings and formalities at these could still be relatively simple and non bureaucratic. Elizabeth Waley records that when travelling by carriage from Koblenz to Bad Ems “not far from Coblenz a ladle at the end of a long pole was handed out of the window of a little house and we paid a trifling toll at crossing the barrier between Prussia and Nassau”. [MS371 A3042/2/4/15]

The development of the train network in Belgium and in Germany in the 1830s and 1840s meant that train travel from Ostend onwards was relatively straightforward. Crossing the state border though did mean a delay at Verviers to change to Prussian carriages to deal with the differences in the state rail networks.

Their journey included a day visit to Frankfurt by train from Weisbaden in August: this route being part of the new railway line that had been constructed in 1839. Taking in some of the main sites they visited the Römer (City Hall)  and the stock exchange building on the Paulsplatz. This building, which Elizabeth Waley described as “an elegant new building”, was based on the plans of the Frankfurt architect Friedrich Peiper and had opened in 1843.  It had a spacious interior and was designed “in beautiful taste, the floor laid with mosaic patterns in coloured stone and an arched roof painted in arabesque supported by marble columns….”. [MS371 A3042/2/4/15]

Gatehouse at Frankfurt: sketchbook of Emily, Lady Palmerston, 1840s [MS62 Broadlands Archives MB2/H15 p. 21]

In parallel to the development in train networks, the introduction of steam-powered boats to regions such as the Rhine led to the increase in tourism there from the late 1820s. The Waley family in 1845 incorporated the use of steamers in their itinerary and found that these often worked in efficient cooperation with the trains. Elizabeth Waley reported of their return journey in September through Frankfurt that although they were late the Princess Marianne steamer had been “in correspondence with the train and waited for the passengers”.

Old tower at Andernach: sketchbook of Emily, Lady Palmerston, 1840s [MS62 Broadlands Archives MB2/H15]

The final account is from the journal of Sybil Henriques who recorded her visit to Venice in 1911. This journey again at least in part embraced new modes of transport, as the party used first the train to Menton and then drove by car to Milan with the intention of then motoring on to Venice.

“9 April: At 1.30 we started for Venice but nearly never got there as our bus (motor) drove slick into a tram. Smashing of glass from the tram and shock to us and a standstill. All leapt out and into a little Victoria and so to station. In train from 1.30 to 6.30 with hot sunshine pouring on to us and the surrounding country past Brescia, Peschiero at the end of Lake Garda and Verona and Padua. Wonderful towns, but ugly plains between…”

[MS371 A3042/2/4/33]

The Grand Canal, Venice: sketchbook of Julia Waley, 1870s [MS363 A3006/3/5/4]

Sybil Henriques’s account of her trip to Venice records not only the sights that she visited “10 April: Cold and grey but busy sightseeing. St Mark’s in morning. Marvellous mosaics…. After lunch … set off for the Palace of Doges where we saw the most immense rooms I have ever seen and the most immense pictures in them mostly by Tintoretto….” It also shows the impact that tourism, fueled by transport developments, were having the city even then, as she notes that their beautiful view from the balcony over to San Georgio was “rather spoilt today by a large French steamer”. [MS371 A3042/2/4/33] So modern complaints about too many cruise ships travelling to Venice are nothing new!

We wish you a happy journey and a very enjoyable holiday by whatever means you are travelling.


Highfield Campus 100: 1980-2000

As we get closer to the Highfield centenary we cover the last two ‘roller coaster’ decades of the twentieth century.

The main issue confronting John Roberts, the new Vice-Chancellor when he arrived in the Autumn of 1979, was the anticipated reduction in Government funding for higher education. With this in view, he set up a Working Party on Academic Goals, which concluded that the Theology Department should be closed, Italian reviewed and Russian reduced as quickly as possible.

Professor John Roberts [MS1/Phot/31/34]

When the Government cuts were announced in 1981, Southampton’s funding was reduced by 3.2% for 1981/2, followed by reductions of 8.7% in 1982/3 and 6.2% in 1983/4 – cuts less severe than those imposed on many other universities.

Measures to avoid creating a deficit included cutting 200 jobs, with funding for the Arts, Education and Social Science faculties being reduced by three times as much as that for Science, Engineering and Medicine. This proved deeply unpopular and amidst accusations that the funding crisis was being used as an excuse to restructure the University, a group of Social Sciences staff, led by Professor Ken Hilton proposed an alternative strategy. Debates on the proposals filled many issues of the staff newsletter, Viewpoint, and eventually the original plan was rejected by Senate. A second plan, which spread the cuts more evenly, looked for other forms of savings and replaced compulsory redundancies with voluntary retirements, passed Senate in 1982.

Leaflet produced during the campaign against cuts in University funding [Rare Books Univ. Coll. LF 789.86]

Although John Roberts was criticised by some for his handling of the situation, by 1985 when he returned to Oxford, the University’s finances had achieved stability. Looking to other sources of income it became increasingly successful in attracting research funding, grants and contracts, with earned income increasing from £5.4 million in 1980/1 to £11.4 million in 1983/4.

Despite the difficult financial situation, the early 1980s saw a number of positive developments and initiatives. In 1983 the Institute of Maritime Law was established, the following year Oceanography was selected by the University Grants Commitee to expand, the Department of Computer Studies and the Centre for Mathematics Education were set up, whilst the go ahead was given for the Chilworth Centre for Advanced Technology. There were also commitments to new buildings for Music and Electronics. A campaign to bring the papers of the First Duke of Wellington to the University Library, following their acceptance by the Treasury in lieu of death duties, was successful and the Leverhulme Trust granted £95,000 for work on the collection. At the same time, the UGC Committee agreed to provide £2 million for a Library extension.

In terms of Arts, the John Hansard Gallery opened in September 1980, bringing together the Photographic Gallery and the University Art Gallery with the aim of providing a catalyst for ideas and generating a network of activities. In 1983 the Nuffield Theatre Trust was formed by the University, Southampton City Council, Hampshire County Council and Southern Arts, which put the theatre on a more sound financial footing.

Sir Gordon Higginson [MS1/Phot/19/70]

The direction of travel begun under John Roberts continued under his successor Sir Gordon Higginson. There were further reductions in the block grant but the UGC did approve the University’s plan for expansion which set a target of 10,000 students by 2000. A new focus and efficiency was brought to fundraising by the creation of the post of Director of Industrial Affairs and the establishment of the Southampton University Development Trust. By 1987/8 income from research and contracts had grown to £20 million.

The later years of the 1980s saw the first nurses graduating from the School of Nursing Studies, the creation of the School of Biological Sciences, the doubling in size of Geology and plans for expanding Archaeology and Philosophy.

Chilworth Research Centre, first phase from: University Annual Report 1986/7 [Univ. Coll. per LF 786.4]

Chilworth Research Centre was officially opened in 1986 and in 1987 the eagerly anticipated new computer, an IBM 3090-150, with 32 megabytes of memory and a filestore of 20 gigabytes arrived.  Its importance was demonstrated by the fact that the new service was officially opened by Kenneth Baker, the Secretary of State for Education.

The IBM 3090 arrives at Building 54 from: New Reporter 23 January 1987 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

The project to extend and refurbish the Library was completed in the same year, and in March 1988 it was officially renamed as the Hartley Library by Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Countess Mountbatten of Burma at the Library re-naming ceremony, March 1988 [MS1/Phot/1/52/15]

Expansion on all fronts was the key feature of the 1990s. There were new buildings, new campuses and a growing number of students – developments which had often begun under Gordon Higginson and which came to fruition under Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor 1994-2001.

Sir Howard Newby [MS1/Phot/19/111]

Finding a solution to the overcrowded Highfield site was the issue which dominated the late 1980s and early 1990s. Proposals included further development at Chilworth and even the creation of a new campus for 7,000 students at Lords Wood, but ultimately neither proposal was supported by the City Council. Instead, it facilitated the acquisition of sites closer to Highfield – Richard Taunton College and Hampton Park School, the former being redeveloped as Avenue Campus.

Avenue Campus from: Undergraduate Prospectus 1997 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.8]

1996 was a bumper year for the University, bringing the opening of the National Oceanographic Centre at Southampton Docks – a joint initiative with Natural Environment Research Council’s Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, the amalgamation with Winchester School of Art and the move of the Arts Faculty, with the exception of Music, to Avenue Campus. The following year another campus was added, when the University took on responsibility for La Sainte Union College, which it transformed into New College. This became the home for the Department of Adult Continuing Education an initiative very much in tune with the 1997 Dearing Report, which proposed that universities should provide more opportunity for lifelong learning, engage more effectively with the local community and widen participation.

The Duke of Edinburgh looking at the figurehead from H.M.S. Challenger at the official opening of the National Oceanographic Centre, May 1996 [MS1/Phot/5/20/4]

At Highfield, the 1990s brought the Mountbatten Building for Electronics and Computer Science, completed in 1991, the School of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy in 1994 and the Synthetic Chemistry Building in 1998. Behind the scenes there were plans for further development. Urban design consultants were employed to impose a unity on the site – one result being the reinvention of University Road as a tree-lined boulevard. A new approach to funding capital projects through loans brought a flurry of activity towards the end of the decade, resulting in the Gower and Zepler Buildings as well as the Social Sciences Graduate Centre.

The Gower Building from: University Annual Report 1999 [Univ. Coll. per LF 786.4]

Other aspects of University life which had their beginnings in the 1990s include the introduction of semesters which were intended to provide students with greater flexibility in their choice of options, the development of the first strategic plan and mission statement, the creation of the Alumni Office and establishment of the University of Southampton Society, the campus network and the introduction of the uni-link bus service.

uni-link buses [MS1/Phot/9/1/1]

One 1990s initiative no longer so much in evidence is the Dolphin logo chosen by the Visual Identity Project of 1990 to embody the spirit of the University because of its perceived intelligence, friendliness and links to the sea.

The Dolphin from: New Reporter 3 December 1990 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

It was also at this time that the University first identified itself as a research-led institution. In Howard Newby’s view, this was the only way in which its status could be enhanced – something of growing importance given the introduction of league tables and the larger number of universities resulting from the change in status of polytechnics in 1992/3. Here the strategic plan began to show immediate results with much improved Research Assessment Exercise results for 1996, which placed Southampton ahead of its comparator institutions. In 1997 the School of Medicine’s research capabilities were greatly enhanced by a £3 million Wellcome Trust Millennial Clinical Research Facility Award. Whilst teaching now came second to research, that of the five departments which submitted for the Teaching Quality Assessment in 1995 was judged excellent, suggesting that good research and teaching could be compatible.

Over the course of the two decades, the number of students grew from around 6,000 in 1980 to just over 14,000 in 1998/9. That there were 21,840 applications for 2,020 places in 1991, suggests that Southampton was a popular place to study.

Students had supported staff in their opposition to the University’s plan to deal with the cuts of 1981, suggesting that savings elsewhere might alleviate the need for such a drastic cut in jobs. As far as their own funding was concerned, the President of the Students Union for 1981/2, Jon Sopel, calculated that their grant had been cut by 13.4% since 1979, writing in the Student Union Handbook that ‘this must be one of the worst times for becoming a student’.

Wessex News October 1981 [Rare Books Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

When the Union block grant was reduced in 1984/5, protests against the cuts included occupying the offices of the local Conservative Association and the more traditional method of writing to the local M.P.

The main threat of direct action against the University itself during this period occurred when it was proposed to use one floor of the Students Union for teaching, and there were calls to occupy the Administration Building in protest, fortunately the proposal was abandoned before the occupation could take place.

During the later years of the 1980s the issue of student loans was coming to the fore and in 1988 the Union passed a motion which described top-up loans, as ‘merely the thin end of the wedge … eventually leading to a full loans system’. This proved correct with top-up loans for living costs introduced in 1990/1 and in 1998/9 tuition fees of £1,000 per annum.

Student “no loans” campaign, 1989 [MS1/Phot/19/263]

Another pressing concern for students at this time was lack of accommodation as despite the doubling of student numbers, there had been no expansion of the halls of residence. The situation was addressed in the 1990s when 604 additional apartment style units were created at Montefiore in 1994, with 200 more at Glen Eyre in 1996 and 400 at Hartley Grove, Glen Eyre in 1998.

Students continued to achieve success in sporting activities, with Student National Champion teams including Men’s Volleyball in 1981, Women’s Fencing in 1982 and in 1992, both Indoor and Outdoor Archery. Engagement with the local community continued through the annual Rag and also the Community Interaction Department which offered opportunities to volunteer at playschemes, the local psychiatric hospital and Winchester Prison Remand Centre, amongst others.

PolyAna the plastics identification machine, from: New Reporter 8 July 1998 [Univ. Coll. per LF 787.62]

As the new century approached, nine of the University’s inventions, including the PolyAna plastics identification machine, were awarded the Design Council’s ‘Millennium Product’ status for showing imagination, ingenuity and inspiration, forming part of a display adjacent to the Millennium Dome. To find out how the University fared at the opening of the 21st century look out for next month’s Highfield 100 blog post.



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!

Travel and Voyages: Britain and the Far East

This week, our travels take us to the Far East, where we will be exploring the development of Britain’s relations with the region. Items displayed are from the MS64 Congleton manuscripts and MS62 Broadlands Archives.

Nagasaki, Japan, 1881-2 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Nagasaki, Japan, 1881-2 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

The Far East is a term used to describe the geographical, economic, and cultural region that encompasses Eastern Russia (Siberia in particular), East Asia, and Southeast Asia, and in some cases, Pacific island nations. Use of this phrase dates back to twelfth-century Europe, when the ruling class, explorers, traders, and travelers took an eastern route to reach this area and so the term the Far East was used to refer to the region because it is the farthest of the 3 Eastern Asian areas, which are the: Near East, the Middle East, and the Far East. The expression became favoured during the reign of the British Empire, and was used to refer to any area east of British India.

The English Quarter, Shanghai, China [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

The English Quarter, Shanghai, China [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Western knowledge of the Far Eastern powers increased markedly. Trade with Japan was opened up, and further ports in China were made accessible: some ninety-two places in China were open for British trade by 1914. British business dominated the trade with China until the 1880s, especially through Shanghai, but was less successful later. In parallel with treaty arrangements guaranteeing access to trade, the British formally acquired territory. From a political point of view, this was a safeguard for British interests in India; and it was also a component in creating further economic growth. Accompanying this came the trappings of empire, especially its military presence. This was critical to ensure the security of trade where more informal relations existed. Territorial acquisition was also driven by rivalry with other Western powers, particularly the French and the Dutch; and it advanced as much by treaty with local rulers as it did by military action and annexation.

Samurai practising with double-handed swords, Japan 1881 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Samurai practising with double-handed swords, Japan 1881 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/A20]

Singapore was ceded to Britain in 1819 and the Malay archipelago was divided into Dutch and British areas of influence in 1824. The British areas — the future Straits Settlements — were administered as part of British India. Later in the century, Singapore became of central importance in the China trade, as a coaling station. It was a major entrepot in the trade from the Netherlands East Indies, and its strategic position ensured that it was well-garrisoned. Its administration passed from the Indian government to the Colonial Office in 1867. There was then an expansion of British influence in the Malay peninsula through the establishment of a system of residencies — creating the Federated Malay States — and, as elsewhere, a blurring of distinction between those parts that were formally part of a British empire and those outside it. From the close of the nineteenth century, the development of rubber plantations in the Malay States created an additional element in the economy.

Programme for the Singapore Races, Autumn 1880 [MS64/292]

Programme for the Singapore Races, Autumn 1880 [MS64/292]

The image above shows a Singapore Races event programme, which belonged to the servant of the empire, Henry Parnell, fourth Baron Congleton (1839-1906), who was also a member of the Singapore Races organising committee. He had a military career, serving in the Crimea and the Zulu war of 1879. In 1880-3, his battalion of the Buffs (the Third Regiment of Foot) was posted to Singapore, where he was commandant of the garrison and president of the Singapore Defence Committee.

A draft of a report on the defences of Singapore, from Parnell’s papers as president of the Singapore Defence Committee, with his annotations and notes on business [MS 64/291]

A draft of a report on the defences of Singapore, from Parnell’s papers as president of the Singapore Defence Committee, with his annotations and notes on business [MS 64/291]

We also hold the journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell. The image below shows a section of the journal describing his trip to Japan in September and October 1883. On 12 September he was at Kyoto, where he visited the imperial palace and, in the evening, had a demonstration of fighting with a two-handed sword.

Section from the Journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell, describing is trip to Japan in September 1883 [MS 64/278]

Section from the Journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Parnell, describing his trip to Japan in September 1883 [MS 64/278]

The British imperial presence was reinforced by official tours. In August 1880, a detached squadron, led by the iron frigate, HMS Inconstant, embarked on a world cruise to show the flag, in a journey lasting more than two years. On the Inconstant was Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was to become First Sea Lord immediately prior to the First World War and who was to marry a favourite grand-daughter of Queen Victoria; two sons of the Prince of Wales, one of them the future George V, also served with the squadron. In 1921-2 another Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VIII, toured India and Japan, visiting Burma and Singapore en route.

Singapore: the route to Government House lined by head hunters (Dyak tribesmen) from Borneo, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 187]  

Singapore: the route to Government House lined by head hunters (Dyak tribesmen) from Borneo, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 187]

During the same trip, the party was able to visit the Malay-Borneo exhibition as well as unveil the Straits Settlements War Memorial.

Unveiling of the Straits Settlements War Memorial, with the Prince of Wales’ staff on the right, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 189]

Unveiling of the Straits Settlements War Memorial, with the Prince of Wales’ staff on the right, March 1922 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB2/N7, 189]

Join us next week for our third travel and voyages themed blog post, which will focus on South America and Central America.

Mapping the way

As we move into August and thoughts turn to summer holidays, over the next few weeks the Special Collections will be featuring a series of blogs celebrating the theme of travel and voyages. And to help you on your way to your destination, we start with a look at the development of western traditions of maps and map-making from the sixteenth century onwards.

Detail from chart in John Sellar’s Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) [Rare Books ff. G1059]

The production of maps and of maritime charts often went hand in hand with exploration and trade. The full extent of the continent of Africa, for instance, was not known to Europeans until Bartholomew Diaz reached the southern cape in 1487. The first maps based on a knowledge of the African coastline only began to appear in the sixteenth century. Western maps of Asia, the earliest and best of which were produced in the Low Countries, drew on accounts of Portuguese traders as well as missionaries and Spanish and Dutch voyages of discovery.

Translated into English as The mariners mirror in 1588, Lucas Jansson Waghenaer’s Spieghel der Zeevaerdt (Leiden, 1584), a guide for navigators which contained a combination of earlier maritime ‘route books’ or rutters, and coastal charts, was to exert an enormous influence. John Sellar was to publish the first English pilots a century later. His Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) was a collection of maritime charts describing sea-coasts “in most of the known parts of the world collected from the latest and best discoveries that have been made by divers able and experienced navigators of our English nation”. Copies varied considerably in content and were probably made up to suit each purchaser. The volume at Southampton has 40 maps and one set of coloured plates.

John Sellar Atlas maritimus (London, 1675) [Rare Books ff. G1059]

For travellers wishing to journey nearer to home, local topographical maps were not common until the sixteenth century. Prior to that most descriptions of the countryside were verbal rather than visual. The growth in the sixteenth century was linked to technological developments enabling means of surveying and producing accurate representations and also to a new curiosity for knowledge about the world.

The principal influences behind the creation of this new iconography were threefold. Firstly, practical: many of the earliest maps had a military purpose as well as being extensively used in legal disputes or for setting out boundaries. Secondly, visual: they were a potent form of display. From the sixteenth century, maps were hung on the walls of houses and palaces, showing ancestral estates, kingdoms or the strength of a regional identity. Thirdly, the development of printing, with the use of engraved copper plates, provided a ready way of making these images available.

The first widespread cartographic depictions of Europe date from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The work of Christopher Saxton, who surveyed the UK in the 1570s, was considered a high point in topographical description.

Christopher Saxton’s map of Caernarvonshire [Rare Books quarto G5750]

Saxton maps were small-scale, in that they covered large areas with little detail. Maps of counties at a large scale, which covered small geographical areas in great detail, were the product of the eighteenth century, arising from Enlightenment interest in scientific representation.

J.Cary Cary’s new universal atlas (London, 1808) [Rare Books ff. G1019]

 The Ordnance Survey of Britain was under way in the 1790s marking an approach to topography on a national basis. Although the Ordnance Survey was not finally undertaken in Ireland until 1824, work on mapping counties had begun, under the auspices of grand juries, in the 1770s. Neville Bath, for instance, had been engaged to produce maps for Counties Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Limerick which were bought up by the Irish government in 1808 during the time when the Duke of Wellington was Chief Secretary for Ireland.

So when you are next embarking on a journey instead of turning to your satnav why not try out using a map instead?

Highfield Campus 100: 1970s

“The University has been a happy place, despite the dashing of our hopes for improved financial support, and I am confident that it will remain so.” [Professor L.C.B. Gower, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, pp.12-13.]

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower replaced Professor Kenneth Mather as Vice-Chancellor of the University at a time when the country was suffering financial plight, in particular with the 1973 oil crisis, high inflation, high interest rates, and a steady slump in government funding of higher education.

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower [University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, p.7]

Professor Lawrence Cecil Bartlett (Jim) Gower [University of Southampton Annual Report 1972-3, p.7]

4,534 full-time students registered at the University in October 1971, of whom 903 were postgraduates, distributed over the Faculties. While Southampton was expected to increase its student body by a further 2000 by 1980, there was a restriction on government money for new buildings. Student accommodation was affected by this the most. For most students a place in a hall of residence or some university property was their first choice, but the steady rise in student numbers meant that there was not enough of this accommodation for everybody.


South Stoneham House Halls of Residence, 1970 [MS1/Phot/22/7/4/30]

In 1971, the financing of new student accommodation was helped by a gift of £136,000 from the Brunei Government, to commemorate the first royal visit to Brunei, but also because the first Brunei Government Scholar and graduate, Pehin Isa Bin Ibrahim, had been a student in Southampton’s Faculty of Law. Other funding for accommodation had to be borrowed, of which Gower proved a talented negotiator.

Brunei House Halls of Residence, 1974 [MS1/Phot/11/23]

Brunei House Halls of Residence, 1974 [MS1/Phot/11/23]

During Gower’s time as Vice-Chancellor, the University managed to increase student accommodation by the same amount that student numbers rose through their large expansion of Montefiore House, where 420 rooms were added. Over half its students were first years and so the House was given some features of the older halls, such as a common room, bar, games room, and television room. Though it remained a self-catering hall, instead of 20 students sharing a kitchen as in the earlier blocks, the new block consisted of so-called flats shared by seven.

Montefiore House Halls of Residence under construction, 1977 [MS1/Phot/22/4/1/2]

Montefiore House Halls of Residence under construction, 1977 [MS1/Phot/22/4/1/2]

All of the halls of residences also became unisex, and in 1975 all freshers were provided the opportunity to spend their first year in a hall. This allowed them to become familiar with Southampton and become more successful when they needed to find their own accommodation. This led to 1976-1977 becoming the first session to start with no homeless students. A Hall newspaper was also developed called “Hot Eyre” which appeared every fortnight. This was established as a valuable aid of news, argument and internal advertising.

Hot Eyre Magazine, February 1986 No.1 [LF789.6G5 Univ.Coll]

Hot Eyre Magazine, February 1986 No.1

In January 1979, another accommodation block named Clarkson House opened. The small two-storey building sited just south of the Administration Building was designed to take 25 students, including some with disabilities. It had been funded jointly by the British Council for the Disabled and the Clarkson Foundation with the Department of Health and Social Security. Two years later the University received a Commendation under the Building for Disabled 1981 Scheme.

Clarkson House under construction, 1978 [MS1/Phot/22/4/2/26]

Clarkson House under construction, 1978 [MS1/Phot/22/4/2/26]

Even when appeals had successfully changed the cuts proposed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for 1973, the University calculated that in 1974 the Medical Faculty would be in deficit by £400,000 and the rest of the University by £500,000. The Government suggested that it could solve this financial issue by increasing the proportion of Arts to Science students, by decreasing its postgraduates and by economies resulting from expanding certain activities.

The responses by the University included transferring responsibility for spending to faculties, with the aim of producing flexibility if not economies. The University also turned increasingly to research, which would bring direct grants from research councils, foundations and government departments.

Gower had been warned before he came to Southampton that he would be faced with disruption. This was evidenced by students occupying the Administration Building for 48 hours on 14-15 November 1973 in support of the National Union Students’ campaign for grants, which kept pace with inflation, a cause which the University sympathised with but was in no power of changing.

Wessex News, November 1973 [LF789.9 Univ Coll]

Wessex News, November 1973

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Student Union supported national, and international causes with increasing strength, with direct action such as sit-ins and boycotts.

In 1971, the Student Union, in protest against the shortage of University accommodation, voted for the organisation of three indefinite squats in derelict or vacant houses in the centre of Southampton. Other sit-ins included one from 1-11 March 1970 at the Nuffield Theatre, which related to the controversy around the appointment of Dr W.A. Coupe as Professor of German. The Senate ratified Coupe’s appointment. In response on 15 February 1971 students of the German Department occupied building Arts 1 for 24 hours. Subsequently, students occupied the Nuffield Theatre for 10 days, after failing to enter the locked Administration Building.

With Dr Coupe’s appointment confirmed by Council and the University authorities were able to claim that they had successfully defended the procedures which governed (and should govern) the making of appointments. In 1972 the Senate and Council ruled that students would not serve on appointment committees, that the University was responsible for changes in the direction of a Department’s activities rather than the Department, and that appointment committees should not be made up of a majority of departmental representatives.

Sit-in at Southampton: The Fact-Finding Committee report, Feb 1970 [MS 224/7]

Sit-in at Southampton: The Fact-Finding Committee report, Feb 1970 [MS 224/7]

In 1971 the University established a Staff Consultative Group and its periodical, Viewpoint not long after the ten-day Nuffield sit-in, as part of its forward-looking and self-examining culture. Viewpoint provided the opportunity for staff to voice their opinions on university matters before decisions were made by Senate or Council, making staff feel more informed and closer to the decision-making of the University. The newssheet was issued five times during the Summer Term and was made available to staff and others in the University. The editorial board consisted of members of staff from the various parts in the University and the publication was printed by the Central Printing Unit.

Viewpoint, April 1971, No.1 [LF789.9 Univ. Coll]

Viewpoint, April 1971, No.1

To solve the University’s financial problems, and to enable the University to help students who suffered hardship following the Government’s plan to increase tuition fees, the Union devised a way to make political donations, which it was forbidden to make as an educational charity. In 1979, it formed a Union Club, to which it let a room in the Union Building for £1 a year. Here the Club installed pinball tables, football machines and a jukebox, which raised large sums of money. Since it was an independent body, the club was entitled to spend these as it chose. In November 1979, it invited members to propose to a club meeting how it should spend £900, a decent amount of money at the time. The club survives, but now uses it funds mainly for loans to needy students.

Other successes of the Student Union involved the field of community services and entertainments in 1970-71. Community Service was involving more students than ever before and was tackling more ambitious projects. The Union staged a free concert in the Summer, which was a great success. As students showed a deeper interest in the conditions of their university it became clear that the role of the Student Union was no longer just an organising body for sports and social facilities.

Student Union, 1975 [MS1/Phot/22/3/2]

Student Union, 1975 [MS1/Phot/22/3/2]

As always, sports and athletics preoccupied some students. In 1970-71 key sports achievements included the retention of the UAU table tennis cup, and the individual achievements of Jack Lane coming 10th in the European Games 10,000 metres and achieving a silver medal at the World Student Games 5,000 metres. In 1974, Mike Beresford (Commonwealth gold medallist) began to coach at the University boat club and continued to do so for the rest of the century. While 1976-7 was a notable year for the archery, badminton, swimming, water-polo, netball, and women’s hockey clubs, women’s lacrosse and men’s squash were the outstanding clubs of 1979-80. New clubs were also established, such as the canoeing club and sub-aqua club.

University Boat Club 2nd VIII, 1971 [MS310/46 A2075/3]

University Boat Club 2nd VIII, 1971 [MS310/46 A2075/3]

Following the Royal Commission on Medical Education’s advice to the Government in 1967 that there should be a new medical school established in Southampton, the Board of the Faculty of Medicine came into being in 1970, and met regularly during the session. The Medical School’s first students arrived in October 1971. Due to accommodation problems arising from the delay in completion of the relevant buildings, the intake was 40 instead of 65 as originally envisaged.

July 1976 graduation ceremonies involved the University’s first medical students. To mark the occasion, honorary medical degrees were conferred on two distinguished practitioners who had played a prominent role in the establishment of the Medical School: Mr John Barron, Director of Plastic Surgery at Odstock Hospital (Master of Surgery) and Dr William Macleod, Senior Consultant Physician and Physician to the Thoracic Unit Southampton (Doctor of Medicine).

Aerial view of the Medical and Biological Sciences Building under construction, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/11/24/1]

Aerial view of the Medical and Biological Sciences Building under construction, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/11/24/1]

Although the Nuffield Theatre catered well for drama, it did not serve so well for music, particularly with its acoustics. Fortunately in 1967, Miss Margaret Grassam Sims left the University a bequest of about £30,000, to be used specifically for a hall, theatre, or building of like purpose. After much discussion it was agreed that a small hall should be built to be named the Turner Sims Concert Hall, with the one condition that it have a flat floor to house University examinations. This condition was later refused by the advisory committee. Additional monies were still required to fund the construction of the hall, to which Gower solved by negotiating a loan from the City Council. Some argue that for this reason, the Turner Sims Hall is also a memorial to Jim Gower, and also to Peter Evans, the University’s first Professor of Music, for it was the Music Department that encouraged Gower to attempt to get the loan.

The acoustics for the new hall, much valued by the BBC for recording, were designed by staff from the Institution of Sound and Vibration Research. The Turner Sims Concert Hall was completed in the 1973-4 session and the opening concert took place on 19 November 1974. The Hall hosted 77 events during the 1974-5 session, of which 50 were lunchtime recitals.

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1970s [MS373 A3048/4/1]

Construction of Turner Sims Concert Hall, 1970s [MS373 A3048/4/1]

Other arts facilities that were built included the Fine Art Gallery, which opened at Boldrewood in 1972, and a Photographic Gallery that opened in 1973. In its first year the Photographic Gallery held 11 exhibitions, covering a wide range of subjects, including “Stravinsky’s last rehearsal”, Salisbury Playhouse”, “Lewis Carroll at Southampton”, and “Old Southampton”.

University Photographic Gallery, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/37/22]

University Photographic Gallery, c.1970 [MS1/Phot/37/22]

In 1978, the University decided to demolish the Civil Engineering departments ‘tidal model of Southampton Water and the Solent’, and transform the building into the John Hansard Gallery.

Booklet ‘John Hansard Gallery Appeal – A New Centre for the Visual Arts in the South’ [MS1/Phot/22/1/19]

Booklet ‘John Hansard Gallery Appeal – A New Centre for the Visual Arts in the South’ [MS1/Phot/22/1/19]

In terms of library developments, the Parliamentary Papers Library opened on 7 July 1971, originally brought to the University by Professor Percy Ford and his wife Dr Grace Ford. During the 1972-3 session, Special Collections received the Southampton and District Gardeners’ Society library of horticultural books and periodicals. Another notable accession, and of the greatest importance to the Department of Music, was the gift by Anna Mahler of music scores by her father Gustav Mahler and other eminent composers.

Donald Mitchell, Anna Mahler, Laurence Cecil Bartlett Gower (Vioce-Chancellor), Peter Evans (Professor of Music), looking at a volume from the Mahler Papers, 1973 [MS1/Phot/17/1]

Donald Mitchell, Anna Mahler, Laurence Cecil Bartlett Gower (Vice-Chancellor), Peter Evans (Professor of Music), looking at a volume from the Mahler Papers, 1973 [MS1/Phot/17/1]

Gower retired at the end of the 1979 summer term. He was considered by many to have been ‘the first democratic Vice-Chancellor’.

John Roberts was Gower’s successor, who was Vice-Chancellor for the University of Southampton from 1979 to 1985. He came from Merton College, Oxford, and was a historian.

Find out what Roberts did for the University as Vice-Chancellor in our next Highfield Campus 100 blog post, which will focus on the 1980s.

University press release regarding the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, 1979 [MS1 A4092/4]

University press release regarding the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, 1979 [MS1 A4092/4]

“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.

The wonder of watercolours

July is World Watercolour Month, a 31-day charitable event aimed at promoting the joy of the art of watercolours and arts education.

To celebrate the wonder of watercolours, Special Collections shares items from a small series of watercolour paintings of architecture in India. Dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century, these possibly were created in preparation for a work on architecture.

Taj Mahal from the river [MS288/1]

Located on the banks of the Yamuna river, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Construction started in 1632 and was completed in 1648. Subsequent buildings, including the mosque, the main gateway on the south, the outer courtyard and its cloisters, were added later. The marble of the tomb, which is the centre of focus, stands in contrast with the red sandstone of surrounding buildings. Decorative elements were created by using paint, stucco, stone inlays or carving.

Gate opposite the river, by which you enter the garden [MS288/2]

The gardens reflected the intricate melding of nature and religion. Every portion was meticulously planned and based on four or multiples of four which is the holiest number in Islam. They also were designed to the idea of Charbagh – the idea of a Paradise Garden. This was in keeping with ancient Persian Timurid gardens which filled the gardens with symbolic shapes and plantings.

View of gardens from Taj Mahal towards gate opposite the river [MS288/3]

The ground plan of the Taj Mahal is composed in perfect balance and the domed chamber, housing the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, is a perfect octagon.

Interior view of vaulted dome over the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan [MS288/8]

The octagonal marble lattice screen encircling both cenotaphs is highly polished and richly decorated with inlay work. The borders of the frames are inlaid with precious stones representing flowers.

Detail of flower design [MS288/12]

For further details of watercolours and art in the Special Collections why not check out other blogs on the notable art of watercolours or Heywood Sumner: artist and archaeologist.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

Major Frederick Dudley Samuel [MS336 A2097/1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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