Category Archives: Library events

National Storytelling Week 2018

We celebrated National Storytelling Week in Special Collections between 27 January and 3 February 2018. Groups of students with an interest in creative writing were introduced to items from our collections as a source of inspiration, and encouraged to write a story for reading aloud with help and support from their tutor, Emma Filtness.

National Storytelling Week

The students sought inspiration from some of our unique and distinctive collections

Some of the items they looked at our highlighted in this post, and they also made extensive use of our Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies.

Ladies Home Journal 1948 edited

Advertisement from Ladies Home Journal 1948

You can hear recordings of some of the students’ stories here:

Alex Bond

Sam Green

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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

Colour Our Collections 2018

Facebook colour our collectionsFrom 5 to 9 February 2018, libraries across the world will be involved in Colour Our Collections Week. Special Collections invites you to take part by downloading, colouring and sharing a picture from our unique and distinctive collections of rare books and archives. Some pictures will be available to download from this blog from 5 February onwards and more pictures will be available in hard copy within the library for colouring.

Please share your finished creations with us:

The hashtag is #colourourcollections and please mention us on Twitter (@BrunelSpecColl) and Instagram (BrunelSpecColl)

There is a list of other participating libraries on the Colour Our Collections website. More images and completed colouring from previous years are available by searching online for #colourourcollections and #colorourcollections

Using Special Collections for your dissertation

Why use Special Collections?

You’ve chosen your dissertation topic because it’s something you’re really interested in discovering in more detail. Delving into the sources in Special Collections can take your dissertation to the next level by making it more original, as well as helping you to develop your research skills.

Recent topics that people have researched using Special Collections include:

  • Politics under Churchill and Attlee
  • London during the First World War
  • Communists in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Clothing of the poor
  • Literary cultures of Victorian railway workers
  • Perceptions of fascism in the inter-war period
  • Motherhood and bereavement during the First World War
  • Feminism under Thatcher
  • Colonial and post-colonial writers at the BBC
  • Presentation of women in the media
  • Feminism in the US in the 1950s

and the Burnett Archive of working class autobiographies has been featured in Radio 4 programmes about the history of friendship and the lives of working people during the industrial revolution.

Find out about our collections:

Special Collections is home to a huge array of material that can support your research. You can find out more by using our A-Z list of collections, or consulting our Special Collections guide, where we’ve highlighted collections of particular interest to English or History students.

You can search our collections by subject or keywords – use the library catalogue for printed material and the archive catalogue for manuscript.

Browse the Special Collections blog, you can use the tags to find posts on particular themes, such as the First World War or trains.

Contact the Special Collections Librarian, or your Academic Liaison Librarian for help.

If you are looking for collections beyond Brunel you will find a list of resources on our webpage.

Using Special Collections

Our collections are kept in closed access, so you will need to make an appointment to come and see them. If you haven’t used Special Collections or archival material before there is a guide on our blog.

Dissertation drop ins

You can drop in to these sessions to find out more about using Special Collections material in your dissertation:

Tuesday 23 January 2018 10.30 – 12 noon and 2 -5 pm

Wednesday 24 January 2018 10 – 11am and 2 – 5pm

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.

 

Round up: #ExploreArchives Week 2017

We hope you’ve enjoyed sharing #ExploreArchives week with us this year. We’ve had lots of fun finding images of our collections to share. Do follow us on Twitter and Instagram as well as this blog to see more of our collections.

Train tickets

We hope you’ve had a good week with #explorearchives. Don’t stop exploring! Archives are tickets to the unknown.

Bendy and engine driver book

Bendy Brunel’s childhood reading from our Transport History Collection

Hand drawn map

An amazing hand drawn route map of a railway line complete with points & signals that we’ve found exploring the collection

Brunel and duck shelving

And so to bed. Tuckered out after a week of discovering Brunel Special Collections

#LoveArchives

Friday’s #ExploreArchives theme is #LoveArchives

Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day from Ladies Home Journal

Love on the underground

Love on the underground, from our Channel Tunnel collection

Cox 1-194 courtship

Ruth Cox was 19 in 1909 and courted a friend of her brother’s with her father’s consent (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies 1:184)

 

Frisby 1-25- Valentine's day

Minnie Frisby describes Valentine’s Day in 1943 (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies 1:250)

 

Gold 2-321 courtship

Olive Gold describes being courted by a Canadian Mormon, Billie, despite being a Methodist (Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography 2:321)

 

Seymour 1-616 courtship

Arthur Seymour met his girlfriend, Ada, when he worked in a shop. She was only allowed to see him between 8 and 10pm.