New Catalogues on the Archives Hub

Two new catalogues have been made live on the Archives Hub.

The archives of Youth Dance England came to Special Collections in April this year. They complement other dance collections, in particular the Foundation for Community Dance.

YDE ephemera

Youth Dance England was founded in 2004 with the aim of supporting and promoting opportunities for young people in dance. They aimed to advocate the benefits of dance to young people, support practitioners with information and training, and initiate high profile national projects. Programmes included Young Creatives for emerging choreographers and U.Dance, a national festival of performance, workshops and masterclasses.

In April 2016 YDE was merged with Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, Dance UK and the National Dance Teachers Association to form One Dance UK, a new national dance organisation aiming to provide an improved, joined-up service supporting everyone who works in dance.

The papers include Board minutes, correspondence, press coverage, project resources, publications, publicity material including flyers, brochures and certificates, and branded items including bags, a water bottle, badges and t-shirts.

AT Roberts Lithograph

Also live is the description of a small lithograph entitled “Islands on the Seine” by Albert T Roberts, donated to Special Collections in August 2016. Roberts was born in Leicester in 1868. In 1883, at the age of 17, he enrolled at the Leicester School of Art. He became an assistant teacher in 1891, rising to become Second Master from 1906 to 1920 and then Principal from 1920. At the beginning of March 1923 Roberts fell ill with abdominal troubles. He was thought to be improving but died suddenly on the 17th March.

Albert Thomas Roberts portrait medallion

Roberts specialised in lithography, typography and design relating to the printing trades and was Head of the Printing School. He frequently travelled to France and was influenced by French artistic schools such as the Barbizon movement.

The image above is a portrait medallion of Roberts, see Reference D/054/08 for more information.

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So today is International Archives Day 2017 #IAD17 and what better way to celebrate this year’s theme of citizenship and interculturalism by looking at DMU’s historical tourism — I mean research visits —  to other countries to encourage dialogue and knowledge exchange.

First up, DMU’s Cuba Study Tours which took place between 1997-1999 in association with HDRA, the Henry Doubleday Research Association to engage in horticultural study.

Cuba study

Some useful “tourism” guides: a map of the island and two fold-out leaflets on how best to see the hidden gems of Cuba, including Eco tours to explore the ecological achievements of the region.

The collection includes 3 photograph albums and it is clear to see those who went on the study tour did not miss the opportunity to soak up Cuban culture.


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Guide produced for those going on the first tour providing a detailed notes on Cuba’s history, ecology and culture.

Next up is a report on a tour of  academic and design institutions of the People’s Republic of China. The document was compiled by Professor Theo Matoff, Head of School of Architecture at Leicester Polytechnic, 1986.

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Front cover of the report written by Prof. Theo Matoff

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A look inside the report, outlining the initiatives objectives.










The tour of China was for scholastic purposes as was the return visit to the UK and both institutions highlighted the importance of immersing into each others cultures with guided tours of local architecture.

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I particularly like the mention in point 2.2d, of “At least one overwhelming banquet in each city.” Banquets are a popular way to strengthen the bonds between cultures and would have been an enjoyable way for the delegates of both institutions to build connections. Other documents like these can be found in study trips to Moscow and the US.

These are just two examples of the many study tours and research collaborations that have taken place that reveal something of our collective identity. Since then, the value of study trips for students and academics in terms of pushing research boundaries and providing unique life and learning experiences has become an award-winning feature of the institution through #DMUglobal

So whatever your culture, religion, language or nationality we hope that your have the chance to enjoy Archives and their rich collections everyday! In the mean time, Happy International Archives Day 2017!


For those wishing the visit the archive in person, our reading room is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. If you would like to pursue a particular research interest, please contact to book a visit.

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“Stand Up and Be Counted”

While the General Election campaign for 2017 has been short it has definitely been eventful. The polls have changed dramatically and more people have flocked to political rallies than they have for years according to some sources. We are proud to say that DMU has hosted 3 events — Be the Change, Be the Change 2 and Be the Change 3 which took place on Tuesday — to promote political debate and exchange and to raise awareness about the importance of voting itself.

So, on this final day of decision-making, June 8th, which also happens to be the 104th anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison, the fearless suffragette who was continuously arrested and eventually killed when she stepped in front of King George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby in her final act of campaigning for Equal Voting Rights, we thought we would share some material to remind us that we should never take our vote for granted or let the media and polls with their predictions of successes or failure stifle our will to vote.

Emily wilder

This image from the illustrated newspaper ‘The Graphic’ (4th June 1913) shows the scene at Epsom Derby. While Emily’s hat can be seen tumbling to the ground in the above image the reader is clearly being directed at the crowds and the injured jockey rather than the issues that compelled Wilding Davison to act.

The following images are taken from a collection that belonged to Romola Christopherson which relate to the 50th anniversary celebrations of equal voting rights that took place in 1978.

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Indeed – STAND UP

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The front cover of this exhibition brochure is a powerful call for solidarity and I am sure it is no accident that through the image of the zip it references Erica Jong’s ground-breaking and controversial novel ‘Fear of Flying’ published in 1973. For all those who do not quite get the reference I won’t spoil it for you but will instead encourage you to read the book – if you do prepare to have your views challenged, even in 2017!


Connie Lowcock and Lucy Middleton at the celebrations displaying the sashes and ribbons they wore as suffragettes

Connie Lowcock and Lucy Middleton at the celebrations displaying the sashes and ribbons they wore as suffragettes

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Lady Burke and Shirley Williams deliver a speech at the 50th anniversary of equal voting rights in Tower Gardens, London








Front headlines of a special edition produced especially for the 50th Anniversary

Front headlines of a special edition produced especially for the 50th Anniversary

Katie Russell, writing for The Guardian today asks us to think about about why and what women still need to vote for today, and while I completely agree that we need to focus on the future, it is still important to remember the feminist gains of the suffragettes and the 2nd wave feminist movement of the 1970s – you never know their stories might be inspirational!

Whatever your views make your voice heard and vote!!!

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Leicester Castle opens on Heritage Sunday for the first time

The Special Collections team are often called on to assist with Heritage Sundays. A joint event run by Visit Leicester and DMU’s Heritage Centre, Heritage Sundays allow members of the public to access the medieval history of the campus site. The May event was the first Heritage Sunday where Leicester Castle was open to the public since its restoration by DMU. Everything looked beautiful sparkling in the sunshine and we welcomed many visitors of all ages to our heritage sites.

Please join us at a Heritage Sunday this year – they are held on the last Sunday of the month between March and November.


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Be the Change Part 2

On our lunch break today we decided to attend the Be The Change Part 2 event held on DMU campus. Gearing up for the general election, the event was a follow up to the one held earlier in the month which we also posted about, and up for debate today were the manifestos of the Lib Dems, the Labour Party and the Conservatives.

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Our VC, Dominic Shellard, chairs the discussion today on the manifestos of the three major political parties.


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A great day for a debate and as usual DMU is prepared with bottled water and sun cream on hand!

Whether by accident or design, I just happened to be there when the Labour manifesto was being discussed and the topics covered included, immigration, student fees, the role of social media in mobilising younger voters, and whether a party’s policies can be viewed separately to its leader. Also mentioned was the Labour landslide victory of 1945, and so I thought this seemed like the perfect opportunity to dig out some press coverage from that period:

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Gallery showing members of the three major political parties with their leaders. From the ‘Illustrated London News’ 5th June 1945. While it is hoped these parties demonstrate more diversity today it is encouraging to see there at least two female ministers here – one for the Lib Dems and one for Labour!

This election seems particularly pertinent as it was also considered a fait accompli. However, to the surprise of many, Labour won because its social policies struck a chord and despite the the overwhelming popularity of the Conservative leader, Sir Winston Churchill, the Tory party and its policies were out of step. It was indeed time for change!

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Close up on the soon to be Labour Prime Minister, Mr. Clement Attlee and his ministers.

Whatever your views, make sure your voice is heard #bethechange2 and vote in the 2017 election on June 8th.

This political broadcast has now finished but Be the Change at The Castle is going until 4pm today so don’t miss it!




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Goodbye and Good Luck Eleanor

Today is our volunteer, Eleanor’s last day in the archive. We would all like to say a big thank you for her efforts on several projects over the last few months. We will miss your lively chatter on Thursday mornings!


Best of luck in your last exam tomorrow and in your next adventure. From Natalie, Katharine and Steven :)



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DMU Special Collections launches on Twitter

Special Collections now have a dedicated Twitter feed: @DMUSpecialColls. Please follow us for news about our services, images from the collections, and the occasional adventures of Roary the Archives Dinosaur.

Twitter screenshot

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Learning at Work Week 2017: A History of Library Services at DMU

There were emotional scenes yesterday as Katharine delivered a lecture on the history of DMU’s libraries with a focus on the creation and development of Kimberlin. Without too many spoilers (we don’t want to miss out on the anticipation of our potential publication for the 40 years anniversary in November), the talk brought back many memories for our longer-serving staff members in terms of original building layout, extensions, and obsolete technology and systems.



The talks gets underway and already you can see the memories flooding back!


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The archive contains a wonderful collection of slides demonstrating the Library’s commitment to keeping up with technological advancements over the years.


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Plans showing the three subject libraries that were housed in separate buildings before the opening of Kimberlin in 1977. The Architecture and Building Library was housed in Clephan, the Art Library in Fletcher, and the Technology Library in Hawthorne.

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A fresh-looking Kimberlin, 1977. There is something a bit Rubik’s cube about it.

Most importantly, however, the images and promotional videos reminded all of earlier days and the people they used to work with. While many were able to share forgotten memories with their colleagues, we were also reminded of absent friends: those who have moved on to pastures new or those who have now passed away.


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Interior of the Technical Library in Hawthorne, c 1964


A slide showing some familiar faces from our staff photographs collection with Katharine at the lectern.


As with any trip down memory lane, there are always mixed feelings, but much fun was had looking at 80s hair-dos, big glasses, and trying to name the faces in our”unidentified” collection of staff images. It is even hoped we might hold an archives event to help match up names and faces.

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Enjoying having a browse through a small sample of the staff photographs collections after the talk.



To accompany the talk we also installed a mini exhibition table showcasing some of the libraries past publications, catalogues, and newsletters.

The Special Collections team would like to say a big thank you to all who attended the event yesterday; we were honoured to put the talk together and we enjoyed watching your responses to it!

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World Baking Day 2017

World Baking Day 2017

World baking day is something that we are not all too familiar with in the office but we cannot be happier to find an excuse to cake the sides of our kitchens in flour as we try to replicate a Paul Hollywood delight! I feel as happy as I did when I discovered the magic of Half-Christmas (That’s the 25th of June btw)!

The Baking course was taught at De Montfort University’s predecessor, the Leicester College of Technology from 1927 and taught young students the fundamentals of the trade. As was with most courses at Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology students would follow a syllabus that was drawn up by the City Guilds Institute, helping to prepare them for the industry.

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Baking Timetable231












In the Gift Book there are mentions of donations of ingredients in February 1932 such as raspberry and strawberry jam as well as something known as “gold medal icing sugar”… must be some pretty fancy sugar!

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Speaking of gold medals, Leicester Technical School has produced Master Bakers such as L. J. Capps in 1937 with other students winning similar awards through the years until the 1970’s.

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The course ran for approximately fifty years until the Leicester College of Art and Technology became the City of Leicester Polytechnic and Baking was moved to the Charles Keene college where courses catered for 15-18 age groups.

However you choose to celebrate this day, make sure you and some hungry (brave!?) loved ones tuck into something delicious.

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International Nurses Day 2017


May 12th has been celebrated as #internationalnursesday since 1965 as a way of appreciating and raising awareness about the important and diverse roles nurses play in our society. The date is significant because it is Florence Nightingale’s (1820-1910) birthday, a social reformer and the founder of modern nursing.


Commemorative medal produced to celebrate Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). The reverse reads: “as a mark of esteem and gratitude for her devotion to the Queen’s brave soldiers”.

De Montfort University and Leicester has a long history of nursing and midwifery training and so today seemed like a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the valuable work of all nurses past and present (from those just beginning their training to the long-serving veterans) by showcasing two major collections, the School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Pauline Wells Collection. The latter was a member of the Leicester General Hospital Nurses’ League who qualified as a nurse in 1960 and she later donated her collection to the School.

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Showcasing the international work and achievements of the nursing profession, this display includes a photograph from the International Council of Nurses Conference, 1949, a programme for the award ceremony of medals, prizes and certificates given to nurses, 1972, a telegram from the Queen Mother sending her “congratulations and warm wishes” to the Leicester District Nurses Service, 1967, and a selection of medals and uniform badges (c 1920s – 1950s).


Leicester officially began training nurses at the Royal Infirmary in 1870 in association with the Institution for Trained Nurses and as the profession and training courses evolved, from 1903, nurses began to receive what should be considered essential tools for learning, such as access to a library, formal training and lectures, and good accommodation. In keeping with the theme for this year on sustainable development, long may these and other provisions continue.

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While there are a lot of course materials in the collection ranging from the 1900s to the present, this small sample shows the course booklets produced for nurses during the 1970s and 1980s.

Both collections include a diverse range of artefacts and papers, from course guides, syllabus booklets, and examination reports to photographs, medical equipment, certificates, and correspondence. Such materials provide a fascinating insight not only into the history of nursing but into the personal experiences of some of the nurses themselves.


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This small component of the collection focuses on Miss Janet Coleman who received a long service badge in 1959. Along with her invitation to the ceremony in London there are several photographs of her at work during the 1940s as a midwife.

A formal two-year nursing course was established in 1966 and the School itself relocated a number of times across the decades. One of the School’s most significant developments came when it merged with De Montfort University in 1995  to become the School of Nursing and Midwifery within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences with training taking place at the Charles Frears Campus.

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A selection of prospectuses, nursing equipment and uniform pieces, including a district nurses bag and a buckle and belt.

The Charles Frears campus was closed in 2011 and the School of Nursing and Midwifery is now based in Edith Murphy House providing classrooms, lecture theatre, ICT lab, meeting rooms and offices.

As well as wanting to show appreciation to all nurses past and present we also wish all our current nurses and midwives in training success in the upcoming exam period.

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