Manuscripts and Special Collections

Catalogue records

Further online resources

For more about hospitals and public health in Nottingham, see the Health Resources pages on the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

Further information about the records of water companies in the East Midlands, responsible for water supply, sewage and drainage, is available in the Water Resources pages of the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.

For users who wish to undertake further research on particular subject themes, people or places, Manuscripts and Special Collections has a number of catalogue resources which may be of assistance.


University of Nottingham Library Catalogue

Many of the books held in Special Collections are catalogued on the University of Nottingham Library Catalogue (NUsearch).

The following is a list of special collections which include substantial material relating to public health and the condition of Nottingham in the 19th century. In each case, there is a link to a page giving more details about the scope of the collection, and guidance on how to browse and search for items in the particular collection:


Manuscripts Online Catalogue

The Manuscripts Online Catalogue contains descriptions of over 500 archive collections. The Newcastle archive, parts of the Portland papers, the Buchanan and Denison collections have been catalogued to item level, with detailed indexed descriptions of individual items. Many other collections have also been described at item level, but without the indexes. 

From the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, click on 'Search the main catalogue - Catalogue records'. You can conduct a free text search across multiple fields by typing a keyword into the 'AnyText' box.

Users should note the following:

  • A record will only be returned if it contains the exact search term - any differences in spelling, etc, will mean that some documents may not be retrieved.
  • When using a commonly used term, users may find themselves faced with numerous false hits. For example, if you wished to retrieve documents by or about the Earl of Lincoln, and used ‘Lincoln’ as a search term, you would also retrieve every document relating to the place called Lincoln.

If you find you are retrieving a number of false hits, you can narrow your search down by using the other search options. For instance, type your required search term into the 'AnyText' box, and also type 'Ne' into the 'DocumentRef' box. This will ensure that only results from the Newcastle archive are retrieved.

Searches can also be narrowed down by date. Type your required search term into 'AnyText', and also type the exact year, or a range of years, into the 'Date' field. You can even combine this with a 'DocumentRef' search to target the search still further.

Remember to try alternative spellings if there are no initial results. 


Name indexes (selected collections only)

By selecting 'Search the main catalogue - Indexing - person/corporate name' in the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, you will be able to access individual name authority terms. When you view a name authority record, you can choose to see all manuscript catalogue records in which that name index appears.


Place indexes (selected collections only)

By selecting 'Search the main catalogue - Indexing - place' in the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, you can search all of the place name authorities included within the system. Therefore, if you wish to know more about events in a particular place, you could access information by entering the place name in the 'CityTownVillage' field. This will retrieve the name authority term for that place, and will enable you to link to every catalogue record containing information about the place. 


Suggested searches using subject terms (selected collections only)

Free text searching cannot provide access to concepts - that is, terms or ideas which are not mentioned explicitly in the description. For example, a letter may be all about public health, but may not say so specifically. The Newcastle and most of the Portland papers have been catalogued using subject terms including the following:

  • buildings
  • enclosure
  • environment
  • health
  • housing
  • medical conditions
  • medical treatments
  • sanitation
  • social conditions
  • urban development  

To search for these subjects in the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, go to 'Search the main catalogue - Catalogue records', and enter the words into the 'Term' box.  


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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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