Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: May 2018

Suffragettes Heritage Project

Stanislava Dikova and Annie Kelly (Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) placements) started on 8 May. They have been working to a tight deadline, selecting, describing and digitising materials from the suffragette archive (Kenney Papers) for a creative writing workshop and other community engagement workshops taking place within Norfolk Library service, as well as digitising materials which are soon to be loaned for an exhibition in Oldham.


Graham Linehan (Father Ted, IT Crowd …) held two scriptwriting seminars on 18 May – ‘Creating Ideas’ and ‘Writing Comedy’. These were held in the Enterprise Centre and hosted by the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) & Dr Brett Mills (Art, Media & American Studies). 25 students attended.

‘Genuine & hilarious screenwriter imparting knowledge & experience.’
‘Brilliant insights into the industry, charismatic delivery.’
‘Excellent mix of self-reference and contemporary examples from elsewhere.’


The Academic and Research Libraries Group (ARLG) Eastern visited on 22 May for a general introduction to the BACW.

Doris Lessing Archive

A visiting postgraduate student researching ‘Gender, Culture and Social Change in the Fiction of Margaret Drabble’ has visited to read the correspondence between Lessing and her friend Drabble. Listing of this correspondence.

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

KP-JK-Russian Diary CoverNorwich based ‘Art at Work’ visited our suffragette archives as part of an art and wellbeing community project funded for Suffragette 100 celebrations. They had the opportunity to see a display of archive material and were especially drawn to the 1917 Russian diary. This documents a three-month government sponsored trip made by Jessie Kenney and Emmeline Pankhurst as part of an effort to gain the support of Russian women in the war. The unpublished manuscript was prepared under the title The Price of Liberty.

Naomi Alderman Archive

MA students of Contemporary Fiction are visiting individually to study the first draft of The Power, winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Pritchard Papers

PP. writer has visited over two days to work on the finalisation of a publication on Lawn Road Flats, the modernist building designed by Wells Coates and opened in 1934.

UEA Collection

  • Architectural consultants have visited to research some of UEA’s iconic buildings. They are assisting Estates in developing a buildings conservation strategy.
  • We have been trying to find a 1973 article which apparently appeared in the UEA student magazine Twice on dyeing the fountain in the Square pink. Whilst we have found a news cutting on the adding of soap powder, we have yet to find the ‘pink’ article.

Zuckerman Archive

A UEA academic is consulting bombing survey reports and papers on the WWII bombing of Pantelleria and mainland Italy. The island was invaded by Allied forces on 11 June 1943 under the code name of Operation Corkscrew.

Special Collections

There were 20 enquiries; and a visit from a MA Art History class studying the works of Peter Henry Emerson – Wild life on a tidal water: the adventures of a houseboat and her crew (1890); and Marsh leaves from the Norfolk broad-land (1898).



Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: April 2018


Norfolk Festival of Nature ‘celebrating the cultural relationships that exist between people and nature’ took place at the Forum in Norwich on 21 & 22 April. The literary element of the event was launched by Jos Smith and included Mark Cocker in conversation with Jean McNeil; the launch of Cocker’s new book Our Place and discussion and debate on ‘nature’s moral conscience’, nature conservation and the role of nature writing. The BACW displayed archive materials from Cocker’s collection.

NFON Exhibition Evening

Norfolk Festival of Nature

Teaching sessions in the Archives

• LDC PGT Publishing Module. This featured selected correspondence and manuscripts from the archives of: Tash Aw, Richard Beard, Andrew Cowan, Roger Deakin and Doris Lessing. Students were introduced to the BACW; they explored the editorial process and relationships between authors, editors and agents through real examples; and reflected on their own literary archives.

‘Seeing hard evidence of how an author and their agent talks formally with publishers is very helpful as an aspiring writer.’
‘Highly relevant. I concentrated only on Tash Aw’s story. It is neatly organized and I got to know the whole story from pitching to promotion of a book.’

Spring 2018 Visit MA Publishing cropped

LDC PGT Publishing Module

• LDC UG Short Stories Module. The students were able to see drafts, workshop comments and correspondence relating to Tash Aw’s short story The Sail, Naomi Alderman’s award winning Gravity and Sarah Taylor’s novel The Shore (a novel developed from short stories).

‘It was interesting to see and read the whole process of writing a short story.’
‘Seeing the steps of the process changes the way I think about the story.’


The Librarian from Cornell University, New York has visited to explore our research materials relating to American Studies.

A.P. Watt Archive

Following the recent death of the novelist Philip Kerr (1956-2018), his embargoed papers within this collection have now been made available. Kerr is the creator of the Bernie Gunther detective thriller series.

Charles Pick Archive

Requests relating to the wider William Heinemann archive are being referred to the Random House Group Archive and Library

Mark Cocker Archive

A recent deposit of papers relating to Loneliness and Time: British Travel Writing in the Twentieth Century (1992) has been listed and made available. Contains biographical research papers and correspondence concerning prominent travel writers.

Naomi Alderman Archive

MA students of Contemporary Fiction are visiting individually to study the first draft of The Power, winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Patricia Crampton Archive

Patricia Crampton (1)

Miffy stories by Dick Bruna; translated by Patricia Crampton

This gifted archive from a literary translator of mainly children’s books arrived on 10 April. Re-boxing and an initial sort of the papers has begun.

Zuckerman Archive

• A survivor of the Hull blitz has been re-united with the essay she wrote as a 10 year old as part of a government psychological survey on the effects of bombing.
• Another recipient of an essay has written back ‘Not only is it personally very moving but it also offers a fascinating insight into a key period of our history.’
More on the 2,000 Hull school essays.

Special Collections

17 enquiries

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: March 2018

Teaching sessions in the Archives

• Literature, Drama and Creative Writing ‘Space Fiction’ module. The session focussed on Lessing’s Memoirs of a Survivor, Shikasta and Canopus in Argos, her interviews, related correspondence and wider reflections on ‘space’ and ‘science fiction’.

• LDC UG Poetics of Place module. This session focussed on the creation of book proposals in nature writing and drew on material from Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin.

Fascinating secret-seeming place. I feel there’s a lot of chances to get inspired down here and I’ll be back.

Amazing rich breadth of material.

• HISTORY UG History Controversy and Debate Module. This session focused on allowing the students to explore primary resources for the first time, including microfilm, correspondence and WWI material from the suffragette archives.

Found it interesting and useful to be able to see sources in same format as they were made, to bring history to life.

The session provides a practical and hands on way of showcasing the importance of primary sources, which I personally find very interesting.

Doris Lessing ArchiveDL 116

• A UEA MA student has been examining Lessing’s correspondence and works for references relating to the theme of domestic space. The confines and responsibilities of domestic life are a recurring theme in Lessing’s works and in her archive.
• An English student from a London university has asked for a citation of Lessing’s letter to John Major’s Private Secretary, refusing a damehood (DBE). She is later quoted as saying “When young I did my best to undo that bit of the British Empire I found myself in.”

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

• We are trying to trace a leaflet referenced to the Kenney Papers. It contains a 1918 general election speech by Christabel Pankhurst. This highlights the importance of referencing with as much detail and accuracy as possible.
• The British Library has sought copyright permission for the digitisation of a letter by Annie Kenney to Arthur Balfour which is currently on display in the Treasures Gallery.
• A 2nd year history student has visited to research her essay on the Kenney sisters.

Sara Taylor Archive

Shore (9)

Manuscript of The Shore

This collection has now been listed and is available for consultation. Taylor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) from UEA (2013), and completed the Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing at UEA in 2017. This loan deposit includes novel manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, and detailed research papers. Also included are submissions and workshopped pieces from the MA in Creative Writing with notes from visiting writer Ali Smith. Some of the short story submissions were later worked into her published novels The Shore and The Lauras.

UEA Collection

A UEA academic has visited to read the report by former Student Union President Ian McKenzie to the Vice-Chancellor on a visit made to the University by MP John Carlisle on 24/4/86. This forms part of Richard Grayson’s deposit (former UEA SU General Secretary and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate).

Zuckerman Archive

• Staff at the Royal Zoological Society have expressed an interest in seeing the almost 50 boxes we have on the Society. Zuckerman was Secretary from 1955-1977 and President from 1977-1984.
• A request has been received for reports and surveys of the Allies’ campaign against Germany. These form part of the work of the RAF’s Bombing Analysis Unit, formed in 1944. Zuckerman was its Scientific Director.
• Portrait photographs of Zuckerman and the bombing aftermath of a German factory have been supplied for a public lecture at the Wellington Goethe Institut (4 May) entitled The Firebombing of German Cities, 1939-45.
• A returning visitor is researching The Committee on the Management and Control of Research and Development, 1958-1963.

Special Collections

18 enquiries

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: February 2018

Teaching and training sessions in the Archives

• UG Digital Media: Theory and Practice. This session allowed students to consider the complexities and challenges of various formats of archival material and how they may best be tackled in terms of digitisation and access.
• Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) UG Reading texts: The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing. Students had the opportunity to see letters from Clancy Sigal – Lessing’s American lover and inspiration for the character, Saul.
• LDC UG Writing the Wild. Students were introduced to the Archives and its nature writing collections, and listened to interviews with Richard Mabey, Mark Cocker, Roger Deakin, and Robert MacFarlane.
• Blog writing workshop for ‘Unboxed’ volunteers. Two sessions were delivered by Claire Hynes (UEA Academic and Guardian writer), coinciding with ‘Do Something Different Week’.

“Good for learning the art of writing concisely and with a more personal and less academic touch.”
“Such an informative day which helped me tremendously. Would definitely recommend.”

• PGT MA Contemporary Fiction. An in depth look at literary archives and a chance to delve into Naomi Alderman’s complex born digital archive and see a first draft of The Power.

BACW-MA Contemp W feb 2018

The complexities of a digital archive.

• UG Contemporary Fiction. This session focussed on the works of Adam Foulds.

Doris Lessing Archive

A Guardian article features a lovely photograph from the Archives of Lessing with her baby son Peter. The photo was one sent by Lessing to her lover John Whitehorn in the 1940s. The parent trap: can you be a good writer and a good parent? Guardian Review by Lara Fiegel. Issue no. 6, 24/2/18.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

• A visitor has been researching the friendship of Annie Kenney and Constance Lytton.
• Annie Kenney donated a number of artefacts to a ‘record room and museum’, the Lytton Estate is keen to identify the repository. Items included a bannerette and hat worn by Constance Lytton and a tablecloth worked by members of the W.S.P.U. of Knebworth. AK.JK. donation list
• The Government Equalities office is promoting the Archives’ suffragette display. Celebrating votes for women.

Roger Deakin Archive

Swimming trunks (1)

Deakin’s swimming trunks

Bathers at the Kenilworth lido are tapping into Deakin’s legacy as they try to save their swimming pool. Deakin swam in this pool as a child and recalls these impressionable early swims with his uncle on p. 2 of Waterlog. Campaign page.

Deakin has also been a source of interest to a researcher focussing on writers of the Waveney Valley in Suffolk. Listen to Deakin’s canoe journey down the River Waveney (BBC Radio 4).

Special Collections

20 enquiries

‘Do Different’: a motto to be remembered, quoted and practised

Each year the UEA Students’ Union hosts a week-long festival of events encouraging students to ‘Do Something Different’, try something new, build knowledge and experience, meet new friends and have fun along the way. A wide range of extra-curricular activities are submitted to the programme, there’s something for everyone. By the end of the week (19-23 Feb) it is hoped that as many as possible will be able to say “I did different.”

This tradition is very much in keeping with the spirit of UEA when ‘Do different’ was adopted as the fledgling university’s motto in 1963. ‘Do different’ can be seen embedded in the foot of our coat of arms, along with three gold crowns symbolising the ancient kingdom of East Anglia, an angel holding an open book to indicate a place of learning and Norwich Castle at its centre.UEA Do different

Choosing a motto proved more controversial than deciding on the design of a coat of arms. The last thing Frank Thistlethwaite (founding Vice-Chancellor) wanted for a mid-twentieth century university was yet another late Victorian Latin tag. He was encouraged in this by medieval historian and friend Michael Maclagan. “Heraldry, [Maclagan] said, ever since it first evolved had been characterised by an element of pageant, of theatre, indeed of kitsch. Mottos should be bold and simple and were often in the vernacular.”

Ever since Thistlethwaite had come to Norwich he had enjoyed the Norfolk dialect saying ‘in Norfolk we du different’. He used the phrase as the theme in an early speech and won praise from the Eastern Evening News which ran with a headline ‘Du Different a Virtue’. The expression is based on the independent spirit of East Anglians who prefer the course of action they feel to be right to that which is conventional. When encouraged by the dean of BIO, Thomas Bennet-Clark, Thistlethwaite jumped at the chance to adopt it, though after going through the College of Arms mill it emerged as ‘Do different’.

UEA.SMI Do different (1)

Adrian Smith’s letter home, 1964.

It was found to be a contentious choice, some thinking it was making fun at the Norfolk dialect. Others praised it for expressing the independent nature of the local character. UEA’s attempt to produce a motto which broke with tradition, yet aimed to please, won it instant recognition for living up to its motto from the outset.

The rightness of the choice, as Thistlethwaite pointed out many decades later, has been proven over time, a motto not only remembered but quoted; and in this week of ‘Do Something Different’, brought into play.

Thistlethwaite, Frank. Origins: a personal reminiscence of UEA’s foundation.
UEA Collection/SMI (student’s correspondence, 1963-1966)].

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: January 2018


• The Snoo Wilson Prize for Scriptwriting 2017 was judged and awarded by scriptwriter Molly Naylor and Adam Taylor (Chief Executive of The Garage) at an events ceremony in Norwich on 31 January 2018. The Award, created in 2015 is in recognition of his legacy and the gift of his archive to UEA. It will expand to include scriptwriting students of Art, Media and American Studies (AMA) from 2018. Read more on our blog.
• Dr Paul Gooding and Justine Mann presented a paper on capturing digital creativity at a two day international Symposium on born digital archives, After the Digital Revolution, which was sponsored by the British Academy and which took place on 25 and 26 January at Here East in Stratford, London.

Teaching sessions held in the Archives

• AMA (Art, Media & American Studies) Teaching Visit: Feminism and Television (Kenney Papers). This session took a look at the 1974 television series Shoulder to Shoulder in which a whole episode was devoted to Annie Kenney. The portrayal of the suffragettes was discussed and the media representations of feminist histories. [19 attendees].
• LDC (Literature, Drama and Creative Writing) module on Feminist Theatres. This session also looked at the representation of suffragettes within film, television and radio; and asked questions on the usage of archive material when conducting research into feminism, theatre and history. [18 attendees]

Doris Lessing Archive

• An academic from a Spanish University has returned for a second research visit. She is reading the Whitehorn letters and other correspondence by Doris Lessing.
• A CHASE placement continues to work on detailed descriptions of correspondence by Muriel Spark. This is assisting us with a recent enquiry from an author and lecturer regarding letters between Lessing and Spark.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

KP.AK.4 (6) • We have provided a citation for an article on Pinner’s Suffragettes (including Elspeth McClelland) for the Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. The Archives supplied an account by Jessie Kenney of a human letter stunt.
• An MA student from another university is researching suffragette dress.
• A 2nd year history student from a London university is writing an essay on Annie and Jessie Kenney.
• We have been alerted to the change in repository of Rowland Kenney’s archive. Rowland was one of Annie and Jessie’s brothers. His archive has re-located from the University of St Andrews to the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, University of Cambridge.
• See also ‘teaching sessions’.

Naomi Alderman Archive

A Postdoctoral Research Associate from a London university has requested a visit to further her work on contemporary literature and computing. Alderman’s works include computer games and fictional writing.

Pritchard Papers

• We received a permissons request from an academic at another university for a book he is writing. This relates to the papers on Political and Economic Planning which was founded by Jack Pritchard in 1931. It later became known as the Policy Studies Institute.
• A former UEA graduate has visited to research the history of a sailing boat Nyanza, which was once owned by Jack and Molly Pritchard. The Theta Club was a Norfolk sailing club for young people set up by the Pritchards in the 1940s and still exists today.

Tinkler and Williams’ Theatre Collections

• Heritage staff from the Forum in Norwich have visited to research the history of circuses in Norwich and East Anglia. This is part of Norwich City Council’s Circus 250 project involving primary schools. The collection contains assorted materials including chronologies on circus venues in Great Yarmouth, including the Hippodrome, and performances relating to Gilbert and Russell’s circuses.

• Assorted 20th century theatre programmes from across venues in London, and from Norwich Theatre Royal were used in a teaching session for an LDC module on Theatre and Feminism.

UEA Collection


UEA Teaching Wall by Denys Lasdun. Completed 1968-70 by Feilden & Mawson

• A heritage consultant working for a firm of architects has visited to read papers on the architect Denys Lasdun and the early UEA development plans. This is in relation to the refurbishment of the Lasdun teaching wall.
• A creator of a website on counter-culture in Norwich norch.co.uk has been reading student journals from the late 1960s and reviewing photos and press-cuttings relating to student protests from the late 60s and early 70s.

UEA Literary Festival Archive

A group of LDC students has been introduced to the recordings of the UEA Literary Festival. They will be scoping clips from this archive and from those already uploaded to e-Stream, for inclusion in LDC marketing material.

Zuckerman Archive

• There have been five enquiries relating to the collection of 2,000 school essays on WWII air-raid experiences, mostly from family members. In addition a UEA HIS (PGR) student is examining the essays from a psychological angle and a UG student from another university has been looking at the impact of the raids on morale and the effects experienced in Norwich.


c. United Press International. UK & US Naval staff inspecting a model Polaris missile. Chief Scientific Adviser, Solly Zuckerman (second right), 1963.

• An enquiry has been received regarding papers and correspondence on the 1960s decision to adopt the submarine-launched Polaris missile as Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
• A student from Italy is researching the restoration of military sites built in Pantelleria, 1938-1943. Zuckerman led an assessment of the bombardment (Operation Corkscrew) on this island, and was a pioneer in the science of operational research.

Special Collections

There were 23 enquiries.

A module specifically on books as material objects (The Business of Books) was held in Special Collections on 15 January. This provided an opportunity for third year literature students to examine a range of early books.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: December 2017

Teaching sessions held in the Archives

MA CW Autumn 2017 001

MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction)

• The Grass is Singing: an LDC session on Doris Lessing’s first published work. This drew on material from Lessing’s archive including letters she wrote to friends at the time she was writing the book in the 1940s, and correspondence written much later which provides a more reflective interpretation. (LDC = Literature, Drama and Creative Writing).
• MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction). This visit enabled students to review manuscripts and correspondence from their predecessors on the MA, including: Tash Aw, Naomi Alderman, Richard Beard and Andrew Cowan. MA Creative Writing dissertations from Anne Enright, John Boyne and Tracy Chevalier were also on display.

Digital Preservation Coalition

An introductory session to launch UEA’s joining of the Digital Preservation Coalition was held on 14 December. We were joined by Executive Director of the DPC, William Kilbride (by video-link to Glasgow).

Inaugural meeting of EasternARC

068Representatives from UEA, the University of Essex and the University of Kent met in London on 19 December. The initial plan is to map collections under shared themes and think about joint initiatives. the Group will meet a few times a year to discuss potential projects and also create a Website.

Andrew Cowan

A visiting academic from China in LDC is looking at Cowan’s novel manuscripts.

Doris Lessing Archive

• A student has accessed Lessing’s 1940s love letters to John Whitehorn.
• A PhD student doing a creative/critical course of study in biography has accessed papers on Lessing’s biography of her parents Alfred and Emily.
• See also ‘Teaching session in the Archives’.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

See ‘Unboxed’.


Students continue to visit, to explore in particular the Kenney Papers (suffragettes), as they prepare to write blogs and digitise selected items.

Zuckerman Archive

• A researcher has been reading correspondence pertaining to the Advisory Council for Scientific Policy (ACSP).
• An enquiry from France has focussed on the history of cell biology and the correspondence of Dr Peter Leslie Krohn (Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Birmingham).
• There have been 10 enquiries relating to a collection of 2,000 school children’s essays on their experiences in WWII air-raids.

Special Collections
There were 12 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: November 2017


Hull school essays (4)
What happened to me and what I did in the air-raids.

• The Zuckerman Archive has featured in a BBC2 TV programme Blitz: the bombs that changed Britain. The second episode recalls a bomb landing on Hull and the government’s casualty survey conducted by Solly Zuckerman and his team at the Oxford Extra-Mural Unit. The programme brings to light a collection of 2,000 school essays written by 10-14 year olds in Hull in 1941/42.
Children’s essays reveal the effects of Blitz bombing in Hull (blog post)
BBC programme information.

• UEA has joined the Digital Preservation Coalition (following approval from the BACW Executive). This will have a significant impact on the BACW’s work with born digital literary archive material, as well as the management of digitised material. Link to UEA News item. A briefing for staff will be held on 14 December. To celebrate the first ever International Digital Preservation Day, we worked with a HIS student and a graduate intern in the Humanities Media Suite to begin the process of digitising Jessie Kenney’s diary of her trip to Russia in 1917 with Emmeline Pankhurst and the first half of Doris Lessing’s Whitehorn letters.

Teaching sessions in the Archives

Reading and Writing Translation. Year 2 UG

EBellos Translation of W or The Memory of Childhood

Draft manuscript translations by David Bellos

An LDC session looking at the translations of David Bellos including George Perec’s W, ou, Le Souvenir d’Enfance. The English translation W, or, The Memory of Childhood has been added to Special Collections.

“It was also helpful to look at handwritten materials as they show that translation involves serious decision-making and even professionals struggle”

“Very interesting to see the process first hand, relevant and exciting”

“It was very informative to work with archives, as I have never done so before. I enjoyed working with them in a smaller setting”

Fiction ‘after’ modernism: Re-reading the 20th Century (Literature, Drama, Creative Writing (LDC) PGT)
This session led by Tutor Nonia Williams looked at the correspondence between the writers Doris Lessing, Iris Murdoch, Margaret Drabble and Muriel Spark. The challenges and opportunities of evaluating archival papers alongside literary texts were considered.

MA in Literary Translation (MALT)
This session looked at the translation process of translators David Bellos, Anne Born, Anthony Vivis, and correspondence of Doris Lessing with translators of her works. (Literary Translation Archive).

Humanities (HUM) Foundation year visit
This introductory visit to the Archives and the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) outlined the opportunities and achievements of the Unboxed blog writing project, our experience in working with other archives and museums and our plans for the suffragette centenary celebrations #vote100.

Angela Carter

A Reader in Literary Studies has asked us to check the inventory of Angela Carter’s library in order to establish whether she owned a particular text. (Part of the Lorna Sage Archive).

Anthony Grey Archive

• An enquiry relating to Grey’s book The Prime Minister was a Spy has been received. The book alleges that the former Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt did not drown off the coast of Melbourne almost 50 years ago on 17 December 1967 but instead staged his own disappearance with the help of the Chinese for whom he had been spying all his political life.

• A football supporter has visited to read Grey’s papers concerning Trowse Villa Football Club. Grey played for Trowse Villa in the 1950s and early 1960s.

BACW (general)

The Film Television & Media Studies departmental meeting was held in the Archives reading room in order to exhibit screenwriting manuscripts (from Malcolm Bradbury, Snoo Wilson and Charlie Higson) as potential teaching resources and illustrate what has been achieved in LDC and AMA (Art, Media & American Studies) teaching sessions in the Archives.

Charlie Higson Archive

A PGR AMA student with an interest in religion and sitcoms is looking at Higson’s papers.

Doris Lessing Archive

The Iris Murdoch Research Centre has requested and received copies of the two Murdoch letters we hold.

Frank Thistlethwaite Archive

A researcher has visited to consult the early records of the University for a book being written on the new universities of the 1960s. The Thistlethwaite archive comprises 4 steel cabinets of the first Vice-Chancellor’s papers.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

• A couple of members of the UEA Feminist Society gathered in the Archives to explore the legacy of the suffrage movement. They discussed contemporary feminism & links with past activism. A framework was drawn up for the selection of 100 things for a digitisation project and on-line exhibition showcasing the Annie and Jessie Kenney Archive.

• The Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague has identified letters from Annie Kenney to Thomas Masaryk (first President of Czechoslovakia, 1918-1935). Unfortunately we don’t hold any letters from Masaryk.

Pelman Institute

Papers of the Pelman Institute have been usefully identified for a reader in two collections: Jessie Kenney (suffragette) held exam papers and work sheets of the Institute; and Jack Pritchard (entrepreneur) had a detailed personal psychological report administered by the Institute. Pelmanism was a system of training the mind in order to improve memory.

Roger Deakin Archive

• An overseas PhD researcher has visited.  Her interests include the supernatural in twenty-first century nature writing.

• An LDC lecturer has accessed Deakin’s unpublished poetry.

• An external lecturer has visited to research Deakin’s papers with reference to the writers Ronald Blythe, Richard Mabey and Ken Worpole.

W.G. Sebald

A PhD student in Literature and Philosophy has visited and listened/viewed all recordings in this collection. It took him a day and a bit to complete. A couple of recordings are in German.

Zuckerman Archive

• Blitz: the bombs that changed Britain. See ‘highlights’ above.

• An undergraduate from another university has visited to read papers on bomb raid shelters and morale surveys.

• A visit is being planned by a reader researching the Insurance Technical Bureau. SZ was a founder of the Bureau, its aims being to bring rigour and co-ordination to the scientific and technical advice needed by the insurance industry.


Scanning documents in the HUM Digital Media Suite for an overseas request.

• An overseas academic has requested papers documenting the comments of senior RAF and Air Ministry staff in response to the overall British Bombing Survey Unit (BBSU) report (1945) which assessed the impact of the Allied war offensive on the German war machine, with particular reference to transport, oil and the economy. Zuckerman was Scientific Director of the unit.

Special Collections

There were 20 requests and two workshops.

Workshop: Robert Rauschenberg. Dante’s inferno.


LDC PG CHASE – Latin workshop

Workshop: Cicero. For Residential Latin language training students. (M. Tul. Ciceronis in M. Antonius orationes quae Demosthenis in Regem Philippum Macedon e exemplo Philippici nuncupantur.) A manuscript from the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps.

“I thought the session with the Latinists was fabulous – they clearly loved the chance to have a little look at the MS and to work with some of Cicero’s Latin in its shadow, as it were.  They’re working with the excellent online dictionary, William Whitaker’s Words:  a happy meeting of technologies old and new, perhaps.  They clearly relished the chance to work in the archive and in relation to the MS.”

How big is this archive?

Ever wondered just how much there is of a collection? Researchers and visitors often don’t know what the big picture is and how much of the iceberg they’re seeing. It’s good to ask, and amazingly many are reluctant to be direct, but knowing the bigger picture makes you more connected to the whole; and being able to visualise what you’re up against means you can pace yourself.

UEAContemporaryWritingArchiveLR 101
Standard archive boxes (Zuckerman Archive). Four boxes = 1 linear metre

The simplest measure is the standard archive box which measures approximately 38 x 27 x 13.5 cm. Our biggest collection is that of the anatomist and scientific advisor Solly Zuckerman which has a staggering 1,568 boxes (or equivalent). Beyond the boxes the material can be broken down into smaller chunks of series or files and this brings the user ever closer to the material they’re particularly focussed on.

APWattArchive (2)

A publisher’s archive in large boxes

Archivists use the term ‘extent’ to describe ‘how much’. Linear metres is often the measure for substantial collections. Picture Zuckerman’s boxes of material lined up in a very long row with a height of 30 cm. This long row would measure 392 metres, the archive’s extent could be described as 392 linear metres. This would allow for a long line of large archive boxes, or a long line of two small archive boxes stacked one on top of the other.

In contrast, the suffragette archive ‘The Kenney Papers’ measures 5.75 metres. The archive of Charlie Higson is 16 metres and Tash Aw’s loan deposit has just 3 boxes which equates to 1 metre (rounded up).


A first glimpse of Roger Deakin’s Archive

When we’re describing a collection we often have to visually translate what we’re looking at into the total linear metres it would amount to if it were all lined up in a very long row. Archives are not usually presented in a neat package, they can be in an assortment of boxes, biscuit tins and shopping bags. They are sometimes described to us in terms of ‘car loads’ or even ‘bed loads’. We’ve yet to have ‘shed loads’ offered but Roger Deakin’s Archive container came close. Thankfully by the time they are ready for public access they have usually been transferred into a number of standard archive boxes.

A final point worth mentioning is that it’s not all about quantity. Some of our most regularly used and valuable collections are contained in a single box or indeed recorded on a single leaf of paper.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: October 2017

Opening of 195 new Library study spaces & Research Collections refurbishment

062This opening ceremony was performed by Vice-Chancellor David Richardson on 10 October. As well as celebrating the improvements in the Library building, he used his speech to highlight developments within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW). Attendees included staff and contractors. Tours of the refurbished areas and new study areas followed the opening ceremony.

UEA Open Day, 21 October

Parents and prospective applicants to the Faculty of Humanities (HUM) attended presentations on the BACW as part of their Open Day tour. They were also provided with access to materials from the Archive and were given insight into how we use these resources within teaching.

Teaching sessions in the Archives

• Research Methodologies Seminar 
Research Methodology in Literature and the Visual Arts: Building an Archive. This session aimed to engage post-graduate students with some of the challenges and questions that working with archives begins to throw up, connecting theoretical approaches with practical archival activities. It was hoped that they would be encouraged to reflect on the process of building their own archive as a researcher, probing the complex relationship between subjectivity and objectivity in what they are doing.

• MA in Biography & Creative Non-Fiction (LDC – Literature, Drama & Creative Writing)
DSCF3073An introduction to the BACW and an opportunity to explore a variety of papers belonging to individuals. This included fascinating & revealing letters from Doris Lessing; an unpublished manuscript and Russian diary by Jessie Kenney (suffragette); detailed field notebooks belonging to nature writer Roger Deakin along with chapter drafts of Waterlog; correspondence from Lorna Sage’s archive along with the manuscript of Bad Blood; correspondence of the publisher Charles Pick which revealed a particularly personal involvement with the authors; and personal letters of J.D. Salinger in which the students noted his sense of humour.

Unboxed (LDC students contributing to the Archives blog)

Three introductory sessions to the Unboxed project were held on 31 October. Interested LDC students learnt more about this opportunity, what’s expected and how they might like to contribute. There are three pathways to get involved: blogging, digitisation or in researching Archive content. This year we are particularly keen to highlight the Kenney Papers (suffragettes), though students are free to choose from across the collections.

Charles Pick (Publisher)

An overseas PhD candidate has traced useful trade figures for the publication of the Loeb Classical Library. The LCL was published by Heinemann until the late 1980s.

Kenney Papers (Suffragettes)

Students taking the MA in Gender Studies module were introduced to the Kenney papers. They were fortunate to have a discussion with a biographer and researcher who is currently working on the papers and who has already published a biography of another suffragette, Lady Constance Lytton. Jessie Kenney’s unpublished autobiography, The Price of Liberty, provides insight into how the suffragettes viewed the struggle many years later. Also of interest are the influences and implications of the Kenney family’s working class background

Malcolm Bradbury Archive

An overseas visiting academic in LDC is looking at published press-cuttings and journal articles by and about Bradbury (former Creative Writing Professor at UEA).

Pritchard Papers


Copyright  Pritchard Papers

Users of this collection have been interested in architects and designers, and in the 1930s branding of the Isokon Furniture Company.

UEA Collection

• A PhD student from an overseas university is looking at the interior design and feel of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) as well as the visitor experience.

• Recordings from UEA’s former Audio-Visual Services relating to the palaeopathologist Calvin Wells have been traced to the East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA).

Zuckerman Archive (Chief Scientific Adviser)

• A PhD Associate Professor from a US university has visited to research the activities of the Tots and Quots (a left-of-centre dining club for the discussion of science and society) which included Cyril Darlington, J.B.S. Haldane, J.D. Bernal, Solly Zuckerman, and others.

• Another US PhD Fellow visited to research papers on nuclear weapons and defence. He was particularly struck by the depth of the correspondence we hold on Richard Garwin (American Physicist and designer of the first hydrogen bomb).

Special Collections

UEAContemporaryWritingArchiveLR 134• There were 16 requests.
• Seminar: Reading the 18th Century Novel (LDC for Y3 Undergraduates).