New Accessions – February 2018

Walter Garstang (1868-1949) was Professor of Zoology at the University of Leeds from 1907 to 1933.  A pioneer in marine biology and fisheries research, the University’s Garstang building is named after him.  In February we acquired an interesting collection of Garstang’s literary works and lectures.

play programme
Programme for ‘The Student’s Opera’ by Walter Garstang. Image credit Leeds University Library

These include ‘The Student’s Opera: A Burlesque Adaptation of the Song-Cycle of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera to themes of Modern University Life’ by Garstang.  The programme announces that the play was performed to celebrate the ‘Jubilee of the Yorkshire College of Science and the Coming of Age of the University 1924’.  Garstang’s humour is evident in the names of the dramatis personae which include ‘Susie Socket – a realist’ and ‘Professor Flickem – a Dean of Faculty’.

Garstang was passionate about the University of Leeds.  His poem ‘The Red Sphinx’ is about the university’s icon the gryphon.  Another praises ‘The White Rose’ on the institution’s arms.  Garstang wrote many poems about nature and biology.  His poetry collection ‘Larval Forms and Other Zoological’ verses was published posthumously in 1951.

We’ve also received a fascinating series of letters written by Private Arthur Barker from Birstall, West Yorkshire, to his wife Alice.  Arthur (1881-1918) was conscripted in 1917.  He sent over 100 letters to Alice from 1917-18 while training and on active service.  Other items in his collection include an embroidered card sent by Alice to ‘My dear husband’, a pocket diary, two poems and a New Testament.

Arthur joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was sent to Hedon near Hull. In his letters he discusses his training and the possibility of getting leave.  A talented singer, Arthur mentions being commended by an officer for singing in a concert.  Alice and also friends sent Arthur parcels containing items such as cream crackers, gingerbread and cigarettes and he writes warmly thanking them.

Letter from Private Arthur Barker to his wife Alice, 12 March 1918. Image credit Leeds University Library

Some of Arthur’s letters from Hedon were written on YMCA letter headed paper.  Within the first two weeks of war being declared in 1914 the YMCA had set up 250 social centres or ‘huts’ for troops.  Some were in England and Wales, others at the front line in France.  The organisation provided troops with writing materials to help them keep in contact with family and entertainment so they could temporarily forget the hardships of war.

Arthur was transferred to 1st Northumberland Fusiliers on arrival in France in March 1918.  Within a few days of arriving he was wounded.  Arthur describes to Alice being sent to a convalescent hospital and later starting work in the camp shoemaker’s shop at Bayeux which he hoped would become a permanent job.  However by 17 June Arthur was with his battalion on front line duties such as ration fatigues and wire carrying.  He died from wounds on 23 August.

Arthur Barker’s collection is of particular interest because of the number of letters it contains and their continuity.  His strong religious faith as a Methodist is evident throughout the correspondence.  The archives are in Special Collections’ Liddle Collection.

October’s new accessions

In October we took in a series of cookery scrapbooks beautifully compiled by Ann Sargent from the 1950s to 1980s.  They are cram-full of cuttings containing recipes and cookery advice from magazines and newspapers. Some of the recipes are snipped out from the boxes of food stuffs or advertisements.  They give the manufacturers’ recommendations of how to use products such as flour, margarine and cheese.

One of my favourite creations is the ingenious Hickory Dickory Dock cake topped with mice made out of halved pears with whiskers made of angelica and currant eyes.  Ann had wide ranging culinary interests as her cuttings cover topics such as preparing game and fish and cooking French, Greek and Indian food.  Her scrapbooks are an invaluable record of the types of food and meals eaten by families in the mid-twentieth century.

Suggested TV snack for a commercial break. Image credit Leeds University Library.

We have also received an addition to our Liddle archives.  Father and son Harry and John Downs served in the First and Second World Wars respectively.  Harry Downs was in the Connaught Rangers nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Own’.  As one of the 5th (Service) Battalion he served in Salonika, Egypt and the Western Front.  Harry’s collection includes a photograph of the Connaught Rangers, his cap and buttons and brass souvenirs.

Tank crew
John Downs on the far right with tank crew. Image credit Leeds University Library

Harry’s son, John Downs had a fascinating career in the army during World War Two and beyond.  Serving with the 86th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery he saw action in Normandy.  In October 1944 he took part in the liberation of the Dutch town ‘s-Hertogenbosch in ‘Operation Pheasant’.  After the war John continued his career in the forces working for the Intelligence Corp in Bad Driberg from 1946-47.

‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands was an important strategic point for the allies.  By 1944 the town had been occupied by the Nazis for 4 years. Its successful liberation was led by the 53rd Welsh Division with the support of 86th Anti-Tank Regiment.  In later life John attended thanksgiving reunions hosted by the citizens of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and his collection contains related archives.

During the war John may have been billeted in Gompel, Belgium with Denise Mayeur’s family, as his archives include letters and postcards from Denise who signs herself ‘votre amie belge’.  Writing in 1944-45 she frequently asks for more letters from John, suggesting Denise may have been keener on the correspondence than he was!  John’s collection also contains military documents, maps, badges and further letters.

New accessions – September 2017

This month Special Collections has received material that adds to our Leeds University Old Students’ Association (LUOSA) collection.

The material was donated by the dedicated Doreen Bayley, who helped to run LUOSA for over 50 years. Included in the collection are some very early membership records. These document some of the first students to join the London branch of the association and provide a fascinating insight into the membership of the association during its early years. Also included are committee records and secretary reports, the earliest dating from 1914. The London branch of the society became affiliated with the main association in 1924.

The branch’s events programme was varied.  The committee minutes and secretary’s report for 1938 record activities such as ice skating, rambling, theatre nights and museum trips. By 1951 membership had grown significantly and the secretary raised the question of needing assistance as the branch was ‘larger and demanding so many functions’. Held with the minutes are many photographs which provide a visual record of the association’s lively events programme. The London branch of the LUOSA association closed in 2015.

Paul Murray Thompson has kindly given us a copy of his ‘Matthew Murray 1765-1826 and the firm of Fenton Murray and Co. 1795-1844‘. Matthew Murray was a pioneering engineer. Originally from Newcastle, he established the Round Foundry in Holbeck, Leeds, where in 1812 he built the first practical steam locomotives, for use on the Middleton Railway in Hunslet.

Murray’s firm also made machine tools, marine steam engines and much else. His house Holbeck Lodge was heated by steam pipes and became known as Steam Hall. A thorough account of Matthew Murray was long overdue, and this substantial book should prove to be definitive.

New accessions – June 2017

This month our Rare Books Cataloguer, John Smurthwaite, highlights some of our new literary accessions for June.

Extra-illustration is the process of expanding a book by interleaving the text with extra plates and other additional matter, often resulting in enlarging the book to many times its original size. This process was a fashionable hobby in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and the Library has many examples. The story of extra-illustration has now been chronicled by Lucy Peltz, of the National Portrait Gallery, in “Facing the text: extra-illustration, print culture, and society in Britain 1769-1840”. Dr Peltz’s book, itself lavishly illustrated, sets the story of the extra-illustration craze in its cultural context, with accounts of some of the extraordinary characters who indulged in it.

For some years now we have been collecting the publications of the Greville Press, the small poetry press run by Anthony Astbury at Warwick. The Press’s latest release emphasises classic poetry, including Gray’s “Elegy”, Shelley’s “To a Skylark, and other poems” and Byron’s “Darkness, and other poems”. George Eliot has been the subject of renewed critical interest recently, but remains little known as a poet. Greville Press have published her “Brother and Sister, and other poems”.

Wayne Brown (1944-2009) was a Trinidadian poet, who held a Gregory Fellowship in Poetry at the University from 1974 to 1976. We have received “Voyages”, his collection of poems published in 1989, to add to our representation of poets with Leeds associations.


New accessions – May 2017

We have received a collection of print and archive material from the University’s Centre for Disability Studies. A strength of the Centre for Disability Studies’ Collection is the great variety of campaigning literature produced by, and for, disabled people it contains. Much of the material was generated by regional bodies such as the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Disability West Midlands, Leeds Disability Information Network, the West of England Coalition of Disabled People, and the Greater London Association of Disabled People.
The collection includes papers from other organizations focusing on particular conditions, such as spinal injuries, neuromuscular impairments, learning difficulties, polio and blindness. Yet others speak for disabled women or LGBT people. All of these bodies work to develop solidarity among disabled people, to raise awareness of the difficulties they face, and to campaign for improvements in their treatment by officialdom and society in general.
J. H. Taylor’s “Against the Tide” is a study of war-resisters in the South London borough of Southwark in the First World War, based on local newspapers and other primary sources. Opposition to conscription came from organizations such as the No Conscription Fellowship, the Independent Labour Party and the Quakers, as well as from individual objectors and campaigners.
Those directly affected were all men, but women played a vigorous part in campaigning. Taylor gives a detailed study of the proceedings of the Military Service Tribunals which examined individual cases. There are some vivid accounts of the brutality and torture suffered by conscientious objectors in prisons and barracks.
We have received a further accrual to our Sadler Collection.  This consists of a box of notes and scripts of papers and speeches by Sadler, and articles about him.  The material was collected by Professor J. H. Higginson, who previously donated large amounts of Sadler material to the Library.

New accessions – April 2017

We’ve taken in a small, but interesting number of new accessions this month.

Special Collections has taken in an accrual to our BC MS 20c Orage Collection.  Alfred Richard Orage (1873-1934) was the editor of the literary magazine ‘The New Age’ from 1907-1922.  With his colleague, Holbrook Jackson, Orage used the magazine to promote the ideas of Nietzsche and Fabian socialism.  Contributors included H. G. Wells, Katherine Mansfield and G. K. Chesterton.  The influential magazine helped to define modernism in literature, art and music.

In the early 1920s Orage heard the mystic and philosopher George Gurdjieff lecturing and became interested in his teachings.  Gurdjieff devised a path he called ‘The Fourth Way’ to help people to achieve their full potential.

To train his pupils Gurdjieff set up the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man’ south of Paris.  Orage became one of his pupils.  Our Orage collection includes letters from Muriel Draper, a friend of Orage and his wife Jessie, in which she mentions Gurdjieff’s activities in the early 1930s.

Traditional Food in Cumbria‘ is the latest work from renowned food historian Peter Brears, former director of Leeds City Museums. This book is a far wider study than the title suggests. Brears uses food and cooking traditions as the vehicle for a wide-ranging picture of Cumbria’s social history in town and country. Working and domestic lives are covered, together with communal celebrations such as fairs, calendar customs and weddings, all illustrated with Brears’s distinctive line drawings. Naturally there are lots of recipes.


Rare cookery pamphlets contain intriguing recipe suggestions

As our thoughts turn to chocolate at this time of year we might want to spare a thought for the post-Second World War child given Mock Pineapple

A recent donation of promotional cookery pamphlets from the 1930s to the 1960s includes many fascinating period pieces.  These pamphlets were not ‘published’ in the conventional sense, so they are now rarities. The owner saved up coupons from the products get many of the pamphlets from the manufacturers.

21 easy recipes with Spa gelatine‘ offers such post-Second World War austerity delights as Mock Pineapple. This is cubed marrow, flavoured with pineapple essence and set in jelly. Butter Extender involves mixing butter with margarine and jellied milk, to make it go further.

Take a can of John West‘ (1967) is a collection of recipes using canned fish products. You might like to try Crab with Bananas, a mixture of tinned crab, cheese, cream and assorted sauces, which is baked and topped with fried bananas.

Woman pocket weight controller‘ (about 1960) is for the obsessive calorie counter. At the end of the booklet is a dial, with a pointer which you can turn to keep track of your calorie intake. Ann Seymour’s suggestion in ‘Simple slimming‘ (1950s) of a cigarette to relieve the dieter’s hunger pangs would be frowned upon today.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there is little evidence that the pamphlets were actually used!