Manuscripts and Special Collections

Secret Intelligence and Hidden Evidence




Surprising Finds in The University of Nottingham's Historic Collections


Dates: Friday 20 September to Sunday 5 January 2014

Admission free

In a world of 24/7 news bulletins and social media channels, we have become familiar with the daily uncovering of secrets, both public and private.



In display cases, story boards and other digitised resources, this exhibition shows how the past can also yield up its secrets, and illustrates how evidence about historic events survives through surprising voices and in curious contexts. Sometimes the documents were meant to remain secret. Records of government officers reveal the activities of early spies, and private correspondence provides frank and confidential views on scandals from previous centuries. In other cases, hidden value is discovered as books and manuscripts reveal unexpected layers of meaning. 

The exhibition has been curated by former and current staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

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Audio interviews:

May Day Marches

Emeritus Professor Chris Wrigley discusses the history of May Day protests. He explains how the first organised marches in 1890 were linked to centenary celebrations for the French Revolution. He describes how 1 May was used from that date to stage protest marches, with different issues being raised over the years in different countries.

Medieval Literature



Emeritus Professor Thorlac Turville-Petre gives an account of the Rushall Psalter. He discusses its history and contents, and explains its unusual survival in the hands of one family line. From his own research, he explains what we can learn from the surprising range of vernacular literature found in its leaves.


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651