Category Archives: Collections

Colour Our Collections

ColouringAs we posted last week, this week is Colour Our Collections week! On the ground floor of the library you’ll find print outs of illustrations from Special Collections to colour in, plus some colouring pencils. We’d love to see the finished results – please tag us on Instagram (BrunelSpecColl) and Twitter (@BrunelSpecColl).

The pictures for colouring are also available from here:

Tunnel

Locomotive

Cartoons 1

Cartoons 2

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Happy Christmas from Special Collections

A reminder that Special Collections will be closed over the Christmas/New Year period, from 21 December 2017 to 2 January 2018 inclusive. We will be open from 3 January 2018.

In the meantime, enjoy a few festive images from our collections:

1870 Ill London News

Christmas festivities from the Illustrated London News in 1870

 

1940 Ladies Home Journal

Tempted by the gift ideas in the Ladies Home Journal from 1940?

 

Festive recipes

Or maybe some festive recipes? Also from the Ladies Home Journal in 1953

 

Santa's Cooky shop LHJ

What will your festive baking look like this year? Ladies Home Journal 1953

Disability: a taboo area of Britain’s past

Blog post by Joe Woodhouse-Page, student volunteer, for UK Disability History Month. This is an annual event which runs from 22 November to 22 December, covering HIV/AIDS day (1 Dec), International Day of People with Disabilities (3 Dec) and International Human Rights Day (10 Dec). Its aim is to raise awareness of the fight for equality that has been taken up throughout history by and for those whose lives are affected by disabilities

Whilst skimming through many archives you’ll find little reference to Britain’s disabled population, however, delve deeper into Brunel Library’s Special Collections and you’ll find stories of those people, stories that should not go untold.

Only in recent times have we, as a society, stopped treating disability as a taboo, when it is told in historical accounts it is often limited, masked and ultimately brushed over. Although, in Special Collections you’ll discover texts both detailing the experience of having a disability in the past and the impact that disabled people had on those around them and society.

One such text is the autobiography of Charles William Esam-Carter recounting the period of 1899-1903. Carter recounts his early childhood, when his severely disabled sister was born he was 4 years old. With a disabled sister and parents in dispute Carter felt like an outcast, displaying that the disabled were not treated as members of normalised society. Carter recounts the most upsetting aspect of the treatment of his sister; “She was dependent on us and we rejected her.” Perhaps selfishly, Carter even suggests that his childhood was ruined by the birth of his sister. The account provides evidence of the rejection of the disabled in past society and is well worth a read.

The account entitled ‘My life’ by Annie Lord also provides some worthwhile insights, dated in 1943; Lord propagates like Carter the rejection of disabled people in society. Annie Lord was deaf in one ear, although she did not discover this until she was 16, narrating; “Age of 16 years old I was taken for a different and ferocious weirdo… but they found out it was deaf,” it’s clear that Lord did feel like an outcast in society, portraying that she just had to “Carry on the best she could.” Although it has been said to be poorly written, Lord’s account gives us a rare first-hand account of what being disabled was like in 20th century society, certainly deserving of further exploration.

In Brunel’s Special Collections you’ll find details of disabled people in the Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies, seeing how far we have come as a society in terms of treatment of disabled people over the last century is fascinating, and a great way to spend an afternoon. In addition to this archive, we also have a modern collection of transcription poems, Neglected Voices, written by a former poet-in-residence at Brunel University, Allan Sutherland. These poems were created from life-interviews which Sutherland carried out among six individuals with different disabilities. The audio recordings and the full transcriptions of these interviews are held in Special Collections alongside the poetry collections themselves. ‘Proud’ is a poetry collection based on the words of Jennifer Taylor, who has a learning disability. ‘In Memory’ is formed from an interview with Catriona Grant, whose life was affected by a stroke at a young age. The collection, ‘This Hearing Thing,’ is based on the words of Wendy Bryant who gives an account of living with a hearing impairment, and lastly ‘Dan Dare Braces’ is a collection of poems on the life of Peter Moore, a survivor of abuse.

References:

Annie Lord, My Life (1943). Burnett Archive, 2:486.

Autobiography of Charles William Esam-Carter (1946). Burnett Archive, 4.

 

#ArchiveScience

Thursday’s #ExploreArchives theme is #Archive Science

There are scientific reports and studies in our Channel Tunnel Association Archive, concerning the research that went on to make sure that building the tunnel was feasible.

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#ArchiveCatwalk

Monday’s #ExploreArchives theme is #ArchiveCatwalk

Matching PJs LHJ

Matching shirts ad from Ladies Home Journal

Downer 1-211 dressmaker

Mrs R Downer relates how she was a dressmaker to a famous, but unnamed, employer (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies 1:211)

 

Gold 2-321 Apprentice dressmaker

Olive Gold went to work as an apprentice dressmaker in 1910, aged 13, with no wage for the first year (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies 2:321)

 

Jordan 3-101 tailoress

Charlotte Jordan also worked as an apprentice tailoress, with no pay for the first six months (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies 3:101

Ordinary people – exceptional lives

Hillingdon Literary Festival takes place on Friday 6 – Sunday 8 October 2017, with a theme of Ordinary people – exceptional lives. There’s a whole weekend of activities planned, and Special Collections will be playing a part on Saturday 7 October with a workshop on life writing and Special Collections.

We’ll be exploring life writing using autobiographies from the Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography. You can explore other creative writing ideas using Special Collections in other posts on this blog.

You can book your place here on any of this weekend’s workshops.

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Royal Navy Service Certificate header

National Sporting Heritage Day 2017

Today it’s National Sporting Heritage Day and we’re blogging about one of our collections which is particularly relevant to this theme.

Dennis Brutus Collection

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Dennis Brutus was a South African human rights activist, sports campaigner against apartheid, and poet. He is perhaps best known for his campaign to have apartheid South Africa banned from the Olympics. In the 1960s there were issues surrounding participation in the Olympic Games by teams from apartheid South Africa, where athletes were racially segregated and had to compete in separate trials. South Africa was banned from the 1964 Games, but controversy resurfaced concerning involvement in the 1968 Games in Mexico City. Various athletes threatened a boycott if the team from South Africa was allowed to compete, and South Africa was eventually banned from the Games and from the Olympic movement, not reinstated until 1990.The Dennis Brutus collection held at Brunel is a valuable resource for the study of this controversy.

Dennis Brutus (1924-2009) was a founder of the South African Sports Association in 1961 and of the South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee (SANROC) in 1963, of which he became president. He was refused a passport and later imprisoned; other members of SANROC suffered similarly, but the organisation was revived in London in 1966, when Brutus managed to move to Britain. Pictured above are a range of documents on the Olympic boycott.