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‘To Honour a Great and Good Man’ exhibition talk now on online

Martin Luther King exhibition talkThe Friends enjoyed a talk by Professor Brian Ward, professor in American Studies at Northumbria University. The talk coincided with the ‘To Honour a Great and Good Man’ exhibition which was on display in the Philip Robinson Library and told the story of Dr Martin Luther King’s visit to receive an honorary degree at Newcastle University.

If you are interested to find out more about what led to his nomination for an honorary degree, the communications and preparations building up to the visit and what happened on the day itself, you can listen to to talk that Professor Ward presented.

The exhibition was part of Freedom City 2017, the city-wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King receiving an honorary degree at Newcastle University.

 


 

The Blaydon Brick: Joseph Cowen Exhibition Talk

– March 2018

 

The Blaydon Brick exhibition poster

 

The Friends enjoyed a very interesting and exciting talk by Dr Joan Allen, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at the University, to speak about her research on Joseph Cowen.

The talk coincided with the ‘Blaydon Brick: Joseph Cowen’ exhibition that was on display in the Philip Robinson Library. This latest exhibition brought together these collections, as well as portraits, speeches and cartoons from other collections, to explore Joseph Cowen’s political career (he was M.P. for Newcastle upon Tyne), his support for cultural institutions in the region and the family brickworks which inspired his nickname, ‘the Blaydon Brick’.

Newcastle University Library’s Special Collections holds pamphlets and books that were formerly owned by Joseph Cowen Jnr. (1829-1900). Furthermore, the Joseph Cowen Collection of the North East Centre for Lifelong Learning was transferred to the University Library and includes material that was also formerly owned by, or relates to, Cowen.

 

 


 

Christmas Countdown Show and Tell

– 12th December 2017


Christmas Countdown Calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Friends joined Newcastle University’s Special Collections team in counting down the days to Christmas with this year’s 2017 online Christmas Countdown advent calendar. They were able to explore the digital edition of the Christmas advent calendar as well as being able to physically touch some of Special Collections’ rare and unique Christmas treasures from our archive and rare book collections . Learn how to make 17th century ‘Snow Cream’ and cast your eyes over Christmas letters and cards from members of the Trevelyan family and Professsor Pybus. Also, check out Christmas poems and songs from our rare books collections and browse Christmas articles from the Courier.


 

2017 Flambard Poetry Prize Award Ceremony

– 14th December 2017

Lydia Kennaway, winner of the Flambard Poetry Prize 2017

Lydia Kennaway, winner of the Flambard Poetry Prize 2017

Congratulations to Lydia Kennaway, from Yorkshire, who won this year’s prize. Her collection of poems, which are all linked by the theme of travelling on foot, drew high praise from judges, poets Ellen Phethean and Rebecca Goss.

The judges praised runner-up Natalie Ree’s work too. Rebecca Goss said: “Her hugely imaginative poems burst with engaging detail and tender observation.” Ellen Phethean said: “They moved and intrigued us and left a sense of mystery, of more to be discovered.”

 

 

 

The Flambard Poetry Prize honours the achievements of Flambard Press and the inspiration of founders Margaret and Peter Lewis. Between 1990 and 2012, Flambard Press published a range of much-acclaimed poetry and fiction, helping to nurture many emergent and established writers regionally and nationally. The Flambard Prize is awarded annually to the best group of five poems submitted by a poet who has not yet published a single-author pamphlet or collection.

Just under 500 entries in total were received, making this year the most successful so far. The judges, Ellen Phethean and Rebecca Goss, announced their shortlist last week, which can be found below.  An anthology has been produced containing poems by all the shortlisted poets, which will be launched at the event.

The Friends of the University Library kindly sponsor the annual Flambard Poetry prize. The first competition launched in Autumn 2014, and is awarded annually to the best group of five poems submitted by a poet who has not yet published a single authored pamphlet or collection.

Each year the Friends have enjoyed a fantastic night of poetry readings in the Culture Lab, by the judges and shortlisted poets and 2017’s Flambard Poetry Prize was a fantastic night.

Read the University’s Press Release to find out more information about the night.


To Honour a Great and Good Man exhibition talk

– 19th September 2017

Martin Luther King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Friends enjoyed a talk by Professor Brian Ward, who co-curated the ‘To Honour a Great and Good Man’ exhibition. Professor Ward spoke about events surrounding Martin Luther King’s visit to Newcastle University to receive an honorary degree on 13th November 1967.

The exhibition is part of Freedom City 2017, the city-wide programme across Newcastle marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King receiving an honorary degree at Newcastle University. Visit the Freedom City website for information.

Drawing on material from the University Archives held in Special Collections at Newcastle University Library, this exhibition tells the story of Dr King’s visit to Newcastle. It looks at what led to his nomination for an honorary degree, the communications and preparations building up to the visit and what happened on the day itself, as well as the aftermath and legacy of Dr King’s visit.

Brian is Professor in American Studies at Northumbria University. Previously, he held the Chair in American Studies at the University of Manchester (2006-2012), served as Head of the Department of History at the University of Florida (2000-2006), and taught at Newcastle University (1991-2000) and Durham University (1990-91). He is currently Chair of the British Association for American Studies. A historian of the US South and the civil rights movement, and a successful published author on the subject, Brian has just published his latest book, Martin Luther King in Newcastle upon Tyne: The African American Freedom Struggle and Race Relations in the North East of England.

 


 

Convocation Weekend 2017: Special Collections and Archives Show and Tell

– 17th June 2017

Alumni looking at items from the University Archives at the Show and Tell event

Alumni looking at items from the University Archives at the Show and Tell event

Newcastle University Alumni were invited to join the Friends of the University Library on Saturday 17th June to ‘revisit, rediscover and reconnect’ for Convocation 2017.

Alumni were able to explore some of Newcastle University Special Collection’s rarest and most unique treasures from our achives and rare book collections. They were able to learn about the scandal behind our murderers’ socks, cast their eye over Henry VIII’s seal, and check out how to make ‘mackrowns’ from a 17th century recipe book. Items from the University Archives were also on display including photographs of the campus during the 1960s and issues of the student newspaper, ‘King’s Courier’ from the 1950s.

 


 

Every book has its own history: reflections of a collector of children’s books

– 14th June 2017

Brian Alderson in front of part of his book collection at his home

Brian Alderson in front of part of his book collection at his home

The Friends enjoyed a talk by a pionee of children’s literature studies in Britain, Brian Alderson. He showed some of the less usual children’s books and manuscripts in his collection, relating many of them to his career as a writer, translator and editor. This talk accompanies a free exhibition at the Philip Robinson Library which Brian has curated the exhibition, A Lilliputian Miscellany. Other items from his collection were also on display to have a look at.

The exhibition display is designed to show some of the less usual books and manuscripts in his Collection and to relate many of them to Brian’s career as writer, translator, and editor.  What a commingling will be seen as the Brothers Grimm rub shoulders with Charles Kingsley, or a tribute is paid to those Northumbrian figures of Thomas Bewick illustrating Mother Goose’s Melody and Joseph Ritson with his Gammer Gurton’s Garland.

The talk is part of a fascinating sequence of talks as part of the Looking at Children’s Books series. This series of talks are presented by Newcastle University’s Children’s Literature Unit and Philip Robinson Library in association with Seven Stories: National Centre for Children’s Books.

The talk will coincide with an exhibition on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library titled ‘A Lilliputian Miscellany’.

 


 

The Life of the Collector: Frederick Charles Pybus

– March 2017

Pybus pictured in the operating theatre at the 1st Northern General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne (Frederick Charles Pybus Archive, FP/1/3/9/1)

Professor Pybus (pictured centre back) in the operating theatre at the 1st Northern General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne (Frederick Charles Pybus Archive, FP/1/3/9/1)

 

Newcastle University Library’s Special Collections archivist, Alex Healey, presented a talk on the esteemed surgeon and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the Medical School at Durham University (now part of Newcastle University), Frederick Charles Pybus (1883-1975). The talk coincided with an exhibition, of the same name, surrounding Pybus and his book collection on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library. Pybus is arguably best known for his collection of historic medical books, held by Newcastle University Library Special Collections. However, items from his personal archive reflects his medical career and personal interests, demonstrating that collecting was only one aspect of his personality.

The talk explored how the Frederick Charles Pybus collections was acquired by Newcastle University’s Special Collections, Pybus’ origins and his medical career.

Afterwards, the Friends were invited to view a selection of books from the Frederick Charles Pybus Collection . These included some rare and unique items, including ‘Natural Magick’ by Giambattista della Porta and hand illustrated plates, by Paulo Mascagni (1823), from the ‘Anatomia Universa’.

Explore the Frederick Charles Pybus Collection and Archive at Newcastle University’s Special Collections.

 


 

World War I Stories Talk

– February 2017

 

Captured in Flight Exhibition PosterPromotion Image 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first Friends event of 2017 was two talks in one!

The Friends enjoyed an exhibition talk on 23rd February 2017 by two of our archivisits Rachel Hill and Ruth Sheret, on the two exhibitions which were on display; ‘Captured, In Flight: An Officer and A Private on the Western Front’ (Philip Robinson Library) and “People don’t know about them…” (Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms).

‘Captured, In Flight: An Officer and A Private on the Western Front’ explored the stories of two men who served during World War I through their archives; Lawrence Pattinson, an Officer in the RAF, and Thomas Baker Brown, a Private who was taken prisoner of war in 1918. Read more about the exhibition on the Special Collection blog.

“People don’t know about them…” was created as part of a student project to uncover the stories of our city. The exhibition was curated by Sam Wagner who, as an archaeology student in her final year of study at Newcastle University, uncovered the story of Ruth Nicholson and the women of the Royaumont Military Hospital who did not take no for an answer. The talk was followed by a guided tour of the Marjorie Robinson Rooms to view the exhibition.

 


Polar exploration in the archives: rediscovering The British North Greenland Expedition (1952-54)

– December 2016

 

On the 7th December 2016, Dr. Neil Ross, Lecturer in Physical Geography, presented a talk surrounding items in the Greenland Expedition Archive held in Newcastle University’s Special Collections. The archive is nationally significant and documents the first large-scale British expedition and scientific exploration of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The archive captures significant events, achievements (e.g. the crossing of the ice sheet), and logistical challenges of undertaking such a large-scale expedition at a time when polar logistics were inherently difficult and dangerous. It represents a unique day-to-day’ record of a large-scale, but little-documented, Cold-War era British scientific exploration.

Special Collections have recently had the archive fully conserved and digitised through a National Manuscript Conservation Trust grant, allowing new research and interpretation for scholars across disciplines (images of this transformation can be seen below).

 

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Images before and after conservation techniques of a selection of papers from the Greenland Expedition Archive.

 


 

Poetry Competition: Flambard Poetry Prize

– November 2016

 

The Flambard Poetry Prize was set up in recognition of the achievements of Flambard Press and the inspiration of its founders, Margaret and Peter Lewis. Between 1990 and 2012, Flambard Press published an acclaimed range of poetry and fiction and helped ro nurture many emergent and established writers regionally and nationally. It was recognised as one of the finest small independent presses in the UK. When the press closed Margaret and Peter kindly donated the Flambard Press Archive  to the Library and is held in Newcastle University Special Collections.

The Friends of the University Library kindly sponsor the annual Flambard Poetry prize. The first competition launched in Autumn 2014, and is awarded annually to the best group of five poems submitted by a poet who has not yet published a single authored pamphlet or collection.

Each year the Friends have enjoyed a fantastic night of poetry readings in the Culture Lab, by the judges and shortlisted poets.

Congratulations to the previous year’s winners:

2016 poetry reading by first prize winner Bernadette McAloon

2016 poetry reading by first prize winner Bernadette McAloon

 

2016

First Prize: Bernadette McAloon

Second Prize: Rachel Plummer

Judges: Andrew Forster and Linda France

 

 

Poetry reading by first prize winner Jane Lovell

2015 poetry reading by first prize winner Jane Lovell

 

2015

First Prize: Jane Lovell

Second Prize: Patrick Errington

Judges: Cynthia Fuller and Jacob Polley

 

 

 

2015 first prize winner Alice Allen

2015 first prize winner Alice Allen

 

2014

First Prize: Alice Allen

Second Prize: Kathleen Bainbridge

Judges: Peter Bennet and Gladys Mary Coles

 

 


 

Paleography Workshop

– August 2016

p 1           p2

 

On the 23rd August 2016, we held the first in what we hope will become a series of skills workshops. This session was a beginner’s guide to paleography presented by our resident experts Geraldine Hunwick and Sam Petty. The Friends learnt tips and tricks for deciphering a range of handwriting from the 16th – 20th century including getting to grips with non-standardised spelling, archaic letters and obsolete turns of phrase. The Friends then got to test out their knowledge by trying their hand at producing a transcription for a variety of original sources – with some very successful results!

We hope to do more skills workshops in the future, so keep a look out on our ‘Events’ page for what we are offering next.

 


Rudyard Kipling: The Voice of Britain and its Empire

– March 2016

 

UntitledOn the 23rd March, the Friends and the Kipling Society enjoyed a talk by
Special Collections staff, Dr Melanie Wood and Sam Petty, surrounding the poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling.

The talk discussed the exhibition ‘Rudyard Kipling: The Voice of Britain and its Empire’, which was on display during the months of January  – April 2016. The talk discussed many aspects of Rudyard Kipling’s life and work to complement the exhibition. It acknowledged the changing levels of popularity and critical reception of his work in relation to the wider political and literary landscapes of his time and beyond. Kipling’s reputation as a writer suffered as the old European empires were broken up and Kipling was seen as the voice of empire but no longer the voice of Britain. His writings, particularly in the                                                                                                               post-colonial age, reflected an uncomfortable reality that many readers and, indeed, educators wished to                                                                                               comfortably forget. However, the labeling of Kipling as a mere imperial apologist ignores both the literary                                                                                                  merit of his work and the changing influences that shaped his attitudes.

 


 Major Miss Bell

– December 2015

 

BellOn the 16th December, the Friends enjoyed a talk (complete with festive mince pies and mulled wine) by Emma Short, a Research Associate at Newcastle University’s English Department.

The talk discussed her exhibition ‘Major Miss Bell: Gertrude Bell and the First World War’. Emma looked at many aspects of Gertrude Bell’s life including her upbringing in the sixth richest family in England, her early war work in a hospital, her doomed affair with married Lieutenant Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie and her contribution to drawing up land boundaries in the Middle-East. Her experiences were brought to life by carefully selected excerpts from her diaries and letters.