The Ski Club of Great Britain Collection comes to DMU!

Special Collections is delighted that the Ski Club of Great Britain have deposited their collection of winter sports documents, artefacts, artworks and books with us. We celebrated the new partnership at a launch event last week.

Ian Holt, Treasurer at the Ski Club of Great Britain, proposes a toast to the partnership

The collection traces the history of UK skiing, in particular the development of Alpine skiing as a sport and the rise of package tours. The large collection contains marvellous photographs, administrative documents such as minute books, circulars and race results, and a variety of artefacts including skis, ski-poles, clothing, ski goggles, ski boots, cups and trophies, medals and badges. There are many artworks and a large number of books, magazines, year books and journals known as the Arnold Lunn Library when held by the Club.

Items from the collection on display

Clothing from the collection on display










Professor Martin Polley and Dr Heather Dichter from the International Centre for Sports History and Culture spoke of the importance of archives to historians and scholars, and described how the collections would be used in student projects.

Professor Martin Polley, DMU’s Director of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture

Dr Heather Dichter, DMU’s Associate Professor of Sport Management










Indeed we were pleased to be able to showcase the work of our student volunteers in the repackaging of the collection – some before and after images below.

The badge collection before sorting

The badge collection re-housed








Repackaging postcards from a crumbling album









For more information about the launch see:

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New Catalogues on the Archives Hub

Graduate Champion Gursharan Hayre








Thanks to the efforts of our Graduate Champion, Gursharan, we have several more new catalogues available on the Archives Hub. Here’s a round up – remember all of these collections are available for anyone to view in our reading room in Kimberlin Library.

Art Collections

A05: Engravings after Raphael

Engravings of Raphael (1483-1520) works in the Vatican palace, published by Angelo Biggi, 1870.

A06: Democracy Street artwork by Jon Adams

Artist Jon Adams was commissioned by the 2015 Parliament Anniversaries Programme to create works that celebrate constitutional history, in particular the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. Adams created the ‘Democracy Street’ app which allows people to explore the history of the parliamentarians commemorated in street names. Adams held talks and exhibitions at De Montfort University in 2016, showcasing his ‘Democracy Street’ artwork. This collection comprises 8 postcards with different abstract art designs, inspired by different streets including Wilberforce Road, Shaftesbury Avenue and De Montfort Street.

A07: Soviet Propaganda Posters

Reproductions of Soviet propaganda posters and posters for theatrical performances.

DMU Collections

D/005: Student Fee Registers

Fee Registers for various predecessors of De Montfort University, including Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School, the Leicester College of Technology and the Leicester College of Art. The registers provide information on how much fees each student paid and which students have gained scholarships. 1912 – 1960.

D/012: Ceremonial Stave Heads, Leicester Polytechnic

Stave heads in the form of the letters L and P intertwined, standing for Leicester Polytechnic. According to contemporary Degree Award ceremony brochures, the Leicester Polytechnic staves were designed by Neil Harding and made in-house by Neil Harding, Czes Bernacki and John Kitto. Leicester Polytechnic become a university in 1992, and changed its name to De Montfort University at which point the staves were replaced with a new design.

D/048: Fundraising Brochure

Brochure produced as a way to appeal for funds in order to provide for equipment in the 1925-27 extension of the Hawthorn Building. Contains statistics for enrolment and attendance at Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology from the years of 1911-26. Also contains a brief history on the colleges, as well as the links they had to many of Leicester’s manufacturing industries. The front cover contains the archway entrance of Hawthorn, with the title, ‘The Gate of Opportunity’.

D/055: Toasting Fork

Frank Watson studied engineering at the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School. He was required to design a toasting fork as part of the course. His design is meant to make it easier to toast bread on both sides by including a ‘flipping’ mechanism rather than having to manually turn the bread.

D/060: Study Tour of Cuba

Between 22nd February and 8th March 1997, De Montfort University and the Henry Doubleday Research Association visited Havana, Cuba. Henry Doubleday Research Association is an UK charity dedicated to research and promoting of organic, farming and food. It is now known as Garden Organic. This trip was designed to obtain an understanding of the organic horticulture in Cuba. The trip included informal talks at the Ministry Of Agriculture, a visit to the National Institute for Investigation into Tropical Agriculture, and visits to tobacco plantations.

The collection comprised the papers of Mr and Mrs Owens, members of Henry Doubleday Research Association, relating to the trip, including a typed diary of the visit and correspondence from people they had met on the trip, background notes on Cuba, prepared by Dr George Lambie, lecturer at De Montfort University, photo albums, videos of the trip, and leaflets and books in Spanish about agriculture.

D/070: Papers of John Bandtock

John Bandtock was a Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Leicester Polytechnic. Bandtock joined the Polytechnic in 1977 and also gained his P.H.D from the Polytechnic in 1986. Prior to this, he was a lecturer at Leicester College of Education. Items include 4 pocket diaries, handbook guides for staff which were produced by the Polytechnic, personal documents such as payment claim forms and his wallet.

D/072: Ephemera from the Montreal Expo

The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, held in Montreal, Canada, was a world fair in which nations showcased their achievements. The theme for 1967 was ‘Man and his World’. It appears that a delegation or staff member from Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology (now De Montfort University) attended the fair, bringing back newspaper cuttings, periodical journals, photographs and handouts from the Expo.

Leicester Local History Collections

L/006: Insurance Maps of Leicester and Leicestershire

Detailed maps of Leicester city centre and surrounding areas, produced by the Goad company to show insurance risks. One set of maps are largely focussed around factories in the city. Many of these maps were revised in the 1960s to include information on shops. The second set of maps are from 1995 and show shopping centres in the following areas of Leicestershire: Ashby De La Zouch, Coalville, Hinckley, Leicester, Loughborough, Lutterworth, Melton Mowbray, Oadby, Oakham, Wigston.

L/008: Development Plans for Holy Cross Priory, Leicester

Application for reconstruction of Holy Cross Priory, Leicester, 1947, including information on the planning of development and sketches of what the building could look like post reconstruction. Also contains ground plans.

L/012: Cathedral and Guildhall Conservation Area

Student project exploring the buildings in the conservation area around Leicester’s Guildhall and Cathedral. Close attention is paid to the buildings along Loseby Lane and Grey Friars, the Guildhall and the Cathedral. The author also briefly explores the historical background of Leicester and the history of the buildings in this area. The folder contains over 50 images of the Guildhall/ Cathedral area from the 1970s/80s. This essay was created by P. Vyse-Widdlecombe, a student of the School of Architecture, Leicester Polytechnic.

L/013: Architectural History of St Nicholas Church, Leicester

St Nicholas Church, situated on Holy Bones beside Jewry Wall, is an Anglican Parish Church, and is considered the oldest place of worship in Leicester. The Church was partly built out of Roman material taken from ruins, while other sections are Norman. It was extensively renovated in the 1870s. This leaflet was produced at the request of the Vicar and wardens as a guide for visitors to the church, c.1936.

L/014: Armour from Trinity Hospital Chapel

Armour and weaponry from the English Civil War (1642-1651) including:

  • Back plates
  • Breast plates
  • Gorget (neck plate)
  • Morion (type of helmet)
  • Zichagge (type of helmet)
  • Buckler with Vembrace (small shield attached to an arm guard)
  • Vembrace (arm guard)
  • Funerary Sword, featuring a painted wyvern on the hilt
  • Halberds

Photographic History Collections

P/008: International Museum of Photography exhibition posters

Poster for exhibition dedicated to the work of Walker Evens. Evens was an American photographer, known for his photographs of America during the great depression. The poster features the photograph ‘Roadside stand near Birmingham, Alabama’ 1936 by Walker Evens. Image of a road side shop in Alabama. The shop is covered with advertisements for fish and watermelons are placed outside the shop.

The second poster was for the ‘Blacks in America; A Photographic Record’ exhibition. This exhibition was based on Robert A. Mayer’s book, Blacks in America; A Photographic Record . Mayer was a director of the George Eastman Museum and the President of the Museum Association of New York. Images were taken by Gordon Parks, American photographer who was known for his photographic essays in Life Magazine. The poster features the photograph ‘Pittsburgh Grease plant March 1944′ by Gordon Parks.

P/009: Leitz Slide-Projector: Prado 150

One compact Prado 150 projector with slide changer or film strip holder. It has a 150w lamp for cine fitting and a rotating front lens. C. 1953-1967

P/010: Photographs of European Architecture

Nineteenth century photographs of buildings from various European countries. These include a large collection from Italy and Greece, and a few from France, Germany and the UK. There is one image from the USA. The photographs focus on Classical, Renaissance and Neo-Classical styles.

Fashion History Collections

F/022: Foundation of Fashion Exhibition Poster

The Symington Collection owned by Leicestershire Museums Service comprises corsets and foundation-wear created by the Market Harborough company R and W.H Symington. The collection tells the story of the Symington company, and provides insight into the development of corsetry, foundation garments and swimwear. In 1981 the museums held an exhibition of items from the collection, this poster for exhibition ‘Foundation of Fashion’ featuring a painting of three women in corsets and information about the exhibition such as opening times.


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#FolkloreThursday 08/02/2018: “the course of true love never did run smooth”

For this week’s #FolkloreThurdsay #Love theme we thought we’d add an extra dimension of our own by sharing some of the symbolic representations of love we found while exploring our collections.

As we know from any contemporary perfume advertisement, a pleasing aroma is key to attraction and romance but its association with courtship can be found in ancient writings. According to George Barbier, author of The Romance of Perfume, 1928, the Greek biographer Plutarch, said “the soul of a man in love is full of perfumes and sweet odours”

Judging from the illustrations then, women are not blessed with the innate gift of their love giving off a sweet odour and instead had to rely on the perfume seller!

Now on to medieval times, when the ladies would present knights with their jewels as tokens of their affection before their loved ones went into battle, as William Jones explains in Precious Stones Their History and Mystery, 1880.

Precious Stones: Chapter II

The story of the Lady of Astolat who later dies from unrequited love was the inspiration for many artworks and literature, including Tennyson’s 1833 poem The Lady Of Shallot, and John William Waterhouse’s painting of the same name, 1888.

What discussion of romance and love symbolism would be complete without considering plants and flowers. The Flora Symbolica or the language and sentiment of flowers by John Ingram c 1870 acknowledges that there are many different types of love: bashful, pure, hopeful, silent, concealed, unrequited, etc. etc. and they can all fortunately be  symbolised with the presentation of a specific flower.

The rose is the flower most associated with romantic love.

The Rose

Shakespeare Sonnet from The Book of Perfume, 1865

And of course, the secret to true love, according to Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream also lies in a potion that can be extracted from the purple, yellow and white flower known as love-in-idleness:

Character Costumes for ‘A Midsomer Night’s Dreame’ 1924

If nothing else writing this post has highlighted the history of traditional Valentine gifts: flowers, perfume and jewellery – I just needed chocolate for a bit of completionism!


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#FolkloreThursday meets #NationalStorytellingWeek

Today’s #FolkloreThursday theme is favourite fairy tales, in honour of #NationalStorytellingWeek! We were absolutely spoiled for choice with this theme, as we have such a wonderful collection of beautifully illustrated children’s stories.

To start, a Walter Crane illustration for Sleeping Beauty which adopts a Germanic woodcut feel appropriate to the Grimm Brothers origins of the tale (from The Art of Walter Crane, 1902)


These illustrations of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White are from Six Old World Fairy Tales, illustrated by J.K. Wilkinson, c.1920

Next are a couple of more modern interpretations of classic fairy tales Puss in Boots (1975) and Little Red Riding Hood (1976):


Finally some images by Edmund Dulac: scenes from Aladdin from Sinbad the Sailor and other stories from the Arabian Nights, 1911; Puss in Boots escorting the King and Fortunata and the Hen from A Fairy Garland, 1928.


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New Catalogues, January 2018

Thanks to the sterling efforts of Gursharan, our Graduate Champion, we have eight new catalogues live on the Archives Hub this month! They are a wide ranging selection of items relating to the history of DMU, fashion, and art.

L/011: Brochure for the Royal Visit to the city of Leicester, 1958, when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the city to open a new building at the University of Leicester. The brochure was designed by Leicester College of Art staff.

D/071 portrait photograph of Queen Elizabeth II from 1992, gifted to the University to commemorate two visits by The Queen in 1993 – one in March to open the Milton Keynes campus and one in December to open the Queens Building

D/069: Ephemera relating to the visit of The Queen to De Montfort University in 2012

A/08: Engravings after paintings by Ford Madox Brown, depicting scenes from Shakespeare: ‘Cordelia’s Portion’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’

D/073: Cartoon presented to De Montfort University to mark the formal launch of a ‘compact agreement’ with the Sir John Gleed Technology School. The compact system allowed a pupil to study at a designated college, making them ‘compact’ with the university to have automatic entry to a degree course.

F/023: Colour sketches of Bakst designs for ballet costumes, possibly cut out from a publication, and mounted on card. The sketches include designs for plays such as ‘Scheherazade’ and ‘La lampe d’Aladin’

F/021: Fashion Drawings from 1938 show designs for a tweed suit, summer clothes and swimwear

F/020:  Cartoon showing a man looking at four different corsets in a shop window, which remind him of the women he has had in his life

Gursharan is working away on more descriptions so watch this space!


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#FolkloreThursday : Traditional Leicestershire Food

For this week’s #FolkloreThursday #food theme we turned to the Leicestershire and Rutland Magazine to see what local traditions there are surrounding mealtimes, cooking and eating.

First we found an account of the hearty fare served to the workers during sheep shearing in the 1870s: large breakfasts of tea, bread and cold boiled bacon, bread and cheese mid-morning, roast beef and Christmas pudding with ale for the midday meal, and a late supper of cold beef, bacon, fruit pies and ale.

Next was an article entitled “Traditional County Cookery”, pondering the way that dishes and food habits vary from county to county. The author notes that locally produced food follows the conditions of the local soil, and that Leicestershire pastures are especially good at rearing beef and of course only the cheesemakers of the Vale of Belvoir know the secret of making Stilton. Differences in food preparation are also mentioned along with a list of traditional Leicestershire recipes:

Leicestershire Curd Tarts

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

Thurnby Savoury

Kibworth Baked Roll

Lutterworth Tice Tarts.

Another article mentions singing games and folk song, which often developed specific local variants and reflect the rituals of everyday life – courtship, weddings, births, funerals – all of which are interwoven with food and eating traditions. Here is an excerpt from “All the boys in our town” (Welland Valley variant):

Sylvia made a pudding, she made it nice and sweet,

She daredn’t stick the knife in till Stan came down the street.

“Stanley will you have a bit, and don’t say nay,

For next Monday morning is our wedding day.”

“Sweet Nancy” from North Leicester includes the lines:

Pork Pie, mutton chop,

Mother take me to the shop,

If I fall pick me up,

Pork pie, mutton chop.

Source: Leicestershire and Rutland Magazine, December 1948 and June 1949

And, just because we like it, here’s Mrs Purry and Patty in the kitchen, from Louis Wain’s Baby’s Picture Book, 1903.


NB- for a reconstruction of Leicestershire Curd Tarts see


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First new collection of 2018

Our collections relating to textile and clothing manufacture are growing with the addition today of two boxes of knitted fabric samples from the Stibbe company, a Leicester company involved in the manufacture of industrial knitting machines.

The samples were donated to Special Collections by the Leicestershire Industrial History Society, who were given them by the daughter of a former member, Roger Duffey (1920-2010).

Duffey attended the Gateway School before joining the Stibbe company as an apprentice. During his apprenticeship he studied at the School of Textiles in the Leicester College of Technology (one of DMU’s predecessors) and later became a lecturer in knitwear here. Duffey was sales director and technical director at Stibbe before moving to work for HATRA, the Hosiery and Allied Trades Research Association. He retired in 1980.

Similar holdings here at Special Collections include books, journals and papers from HATRA, the Boyd (Mac) McGeoch Collection, and papers and clothing samples from the William Baker factory.


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Folklore Thursday 18/01/2018

What an amazing theme for #FolkloreThursday this week! Requests for #clothing lore makes for the perfect opportunity to highlight this wonderful poster set produced by the International Wool Secretariat in 1954, titled ‘Costumes of Europe in Wool’.

Each beautifully illustrated poster, while offering somewhat stereotypical representations of European nationalities, is accompanied by explanatory text on the types of wool used (of course) and the costumes, shedding some light on the meanings and traditions behind the garments.

For Norway, we are told that the mountainous regions between villages meant that inhabitants of the  valleys rarely saw each other. This led to communities developing their own distinct traditions and costumes making for a bit of decorative rivalry.

In Austria, we discover that the origin of the phrase ‘a feather in his cap’ is associated with the Tyrol-style hat. Wrestlers in the region would fight wearing their hats and attempt to pin their opponent while plucking the feather from their hat. The acquired feather would then become a symbol of the victorious combat.

In Portugal, a fisherman’s hat is of the utmost importance as his woollen “pyjama-like” garments have no pockets. Prudently, small personal items “such as matches and tobacco” are stored safely in his thick woollen cap away from the water.

Handed down through generations of Flemish families, a mother teaches her daughter the tradition of lace-making in the poster for Belgium.

The collection was used as a fashion and textiles teaching resource and were held in the DMU library before being transferred to the archive.

Let’s get knitting!


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New Collections

Just before Christmas we were excited to take in three new collections. We are processing them and will put catalogues for each one on the Archives Hub in due course. Meanwhile if you are interested in viewing the papers please contact us to make arrangements for a visit.

Leicester Riders Basketball Club

The Leicester Riders are the oldest operating basketball team in the country, founded in April 1967. Their collection includes material from the 1970s to 2015 such as match programmes, press cuttings, administration and finance, papers relating to projects with schools including Hoops for Health and Sports Unlimited, papers relating to marketing and merchandising, match night recon, statistics, match photographs, magazines, guides and handbooks, rules and regulations, directories and coaching manuals. There are also some objects including vests, t-shirts and a signed basketball.

Leicester Area National Union of Mineworkers

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was a trade union for coal miners, formed in 1944 from the earlier Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). The Union represented its members on a variety of issues including wages, holidays, pensions, fuel allowances, social welfare benefits and the recognition of industrial diseases. The Leicester Area branch was based on Bakewell Street, Coalville, and was active at a number of coalmines including Desford, Snibston, Whitwick, Ellistown and Belvoir Prospect.

The collection includes committee minutes, correspondence, reports, plans, machinery schemes, maps and charts. It spans the 1930s to the 1980s.

Papers of David Batchelor, Community and Youth Work lecturer

David Batchelor undertook a degree in Sociology before becoming a teacher. He became a lecturer in Community and Youth Work at the City of Leicester Training College for Teachers, later known as the City of Leicester College of Education, which merged with Leicester Polytechnic in 1976.

The papers span the 1950s to 1990s and illuminate community, youth and social work teaching in this period. They include course papers such as timetables, modules and handbooks; brochures and promotional material; papers relating to students such as photographs, demographics and enrolment; papers relating to staff including photographs, appointments and regulations; and photographs of the Scraptoft Campus, events, and student activities.

Some of the material relates to the National College for Training Youth Leaders, founded in 1960, which merged with the Training College for Teachers in 1969; including prospectuses and photographs of a visit by Princess Margaret.



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Folklore Thursday 11/01/2018

As collections of European folk songs and poems, books on Nursery Rhymes became popular during the golden age of children’s literature in the mid-nineteenth century but many of the rhymes themselves are much older. Full of working-class imagery and trades they are the perfect subject for this week’s #folklorethursday theme of #work.

From Little Song of long Ago, Illustrated by H. Willebeek Le Mair1912


From Old King Cole’s Book of Nursery Rhymes, Illustrated by Byam Shaw, 1901.


From Mother Goose, Illustrated by Kate Greenaway, c 1880.


From Young England’s Nursery Rhymes, Illustrated by Constance Haslewood, c 1890.



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