Manuscripts and Special Collections
Rushall psalter [Me LM 1, folio 79r]
The University's collections of manuscripts, archives and rare printed books have been built up over more than seventy years.
When University College Nottingham moved from its original home in Shakespeare Street to University Park in 1928, its library holdings rapidly expanded. The librarian, G. Ellis Flack, was enthusiastic about providing academic staff with original source materials for their research, and many local institutions and families passed their collections into the College's care.
About 3 million manuscripts and 40,000 printed books now lie within the collections. They range widely in subject matter and date.
The archives include illuminated medieval volumes, estate accounts, personal, literary and political papers and the records of many local institutions. Named Special Collections sometimes come from the libraries of individuals, such as Florence Nightingale, or have been built up around particular subjects, such as D.H. Lawrence.
Presentation copy of Nurses' Journal of the Pacific Coast presented to Florence Nightingale by the California State Nurses' Association [Florence Nightingale Collection RT1.N8]
Photograph of D.H. Lawrence taken by W.G. Parker, 26 Jun. 1913 (La Phot 1/5)
Signature of D.H. Lawrence from a manuscript
The collections have had a number of homes over the decades. Between 1973 and 2006 they were based at Hallward Library, where purpose-built accommodation and facilities supported their steady expansion.
Today, the collections serve an expanding popular audience. Acquisition policies still reflect the University's research and teaching interests, but local and family historians visit in increasing numbers. International interest has grown steadily. The needs of these diverse users are increasingly met by digital tools.
This exhibition marks a new phase of development, which has begun with relocation to larger premises at the University's King's Meadow Campus on Lenton Lane. In a celebration of the collections, it offers a glimpse of both familiar and lesser known works, to inspire regular visitors and encourage the interest of those who have not yet explored these resources.
Entrance to the reception area at King's Meadow Campus
Part of the new Manuscripts Store during the move
Next: The Manuscript Collections