University of Nottingham collections receive 'Designation' status

19 Jun 2009 11:50:00.000

PA 167/09

They offer insights into the mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors and a glimpse into the family history and intrigue of some of Britain’s most influential aristocratic families. Now three collections in The University of Nottingham’s Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections have been recognised by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).


Representatives of the MLA visited the University this week to tour the extensive archives housed on King’s Meadow Campus, and to present a plaque noting the Designation status of the University’s DH Lawrence, Portland of Welbeck and Newcastle of Clumber collections.


The MLA’s Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England's non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance. These inspiring collections represent a vital part of our national cultural and artistic heritage. The Scheme was launched in 1997 and now recognises 125 collections held in museums, libraries and archives.

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The scheme recognises that organisations with Designated collections care for a significant part of England’s cultural heritage and works to raise standards across the sector. Organisations holding Designated collections are expected to work towards the provision of high-quality services which deliver the fullest possible access to those collections and to take a leadership role in the sector by helping other institutions in such ways as sharing expertise, offering advice and lending objects or materials.


Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Dodson received the plaque on behalf of the University. He said: “These collections are highly valued by The University of Nottingham, and we are delighted to receive this national recognition of their significance.”


Sam Bestwick, Director of Engagement for Museums, Libraries and Archives, East at the MLA, said:


“There are well over a hundred collections around the country and their diversity is enormous. But one of the fantastic elements of the collections at The University of Nottingham is the level of accessibility given to anyone who wants to see them — by the staff who understand the content, and who understand how to answer queries and help people navigate the content.


“One of the things I find attractive about visiting here is the enthusiasm of the staff to help people navigate their way through that material.”


Dorothy Johnston, Keeper of the Manuscripts at the University, said: “The Newcastle and Portland Collections and the papers of D H Lawrence draw researchers to Nottingham from all over the world and feature in many of our local displays and activities.  We warmly welcome their status as designated collections and look forward to building on this achievement through further development programmes.”


For more information on the collections held at The University of Nottingham, visit


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

More information is available from Dorothy Johnston, Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections, on +44 (0)115 951 4563,
Tara De Cozar

Tara De Cozar - Internal Communications Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8560 Location: University Park


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