Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: August 2019


c. University of East Anglia

Writer’s born-digital creations pose unique challenges for literary archives. Copyright UEA.

Back in June we reported that an article on writers’ born digital archives had been accepted for publication. The article from Paul Gooding, Jos Smith and Justine Mann on the challenges of capturing the creative process in born digital literary archives has now been published in a special issue of the Taylor and Francis Journal ‘Archives and Manuscripts’ the professional and scholarly journal of the Australian Society of Archivists. It is based on a paper given at an AHRC funded conference in January 2017.

The forensic imagination: interdisciplinary approaches to tracing creativity in writers’ born-digital archives by Paul Gooding, Jos Smith & Justine Mann. Pages 374-390. Published online: 11 Aug 2019. Read the article.

Enquiries & Visits

Literary collections

Requests have centred on the history of UEA’s Creative Writing course, Doris Lessing and Malcolm Bradbury Archives.

A photograph of a cat and chess set has been requested for a website on the history of chess (from the archive of Anthony Grey, journalist). More.

Pritchard Papers

A London museum has requested an Isobar restaurant dinner menu from the period of the Spanish Civil War for their exhibition on how art influences politics.

A photograph of a bedroom in a 1930s minimalist flat has been requested for an article on Hilary Hinds’ book The Cultural History of Twin Beds; the same image has been requested by the University of Zagreb.

PP.Blythburgh 001

The Pritchard’s Blythburgh house built in the early 1960s by Colin and Jennifer Jones. Courtesy Pritchard Papers.

Photographs of the Pritchard’s early 1960s designer house in Blythburgh, Suffolk have been supplied for a new website.

We’ve also been helping the Bauhaus Foundation with their exhibition on modernist furniture following their visit to our Archives.

Zuckerman Archive

Enquiries and visits have concerned the 1941 bombing of the Café de Paris in London and the national casualty survey conducted by Zuckerman; the UK’s purchase of nuclear weapons from the US; the civilian casualty response to the German bombing in WWII; and the breeding of endangered species in captivity.

The enquiries have come from a journalist and researchers from King’s College; the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM) at the University of Manchester; the University of Waterloo in Canada; and the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies (PPL) at UEA.


Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: July 2019


DSCF37842019 marks the centenary of the founding of the unique and legendary Bauhaus school of art. Beyond the Bauhaus: Walter Gropius in the UK and US is on display in the Archives foyer until 6 September. It draws from the Pritchard Papers, a collection we hold which is rich in the history of modernism, design and architecture. More.

Enquiries & Visits


Over 35 prospective students and their families visited to learn more about how the Archives supports learning and provides unique opportunities to develop a range of skills including critical thinking, creative writing and analysis of information; all during the course of working with a wide range of engrossing, stimulating and unique materials.


Postgraduates from the fields of architecture, design, cultural and curatorial studies have once again chosen to visit us as part of their annual intensive and collective research project.

This year they have chosen a 1936 table designed by Marcel Breuer (and currently at the V&A) as the object of their focus. This modernist piece simultaneously serves as a thematic anchor and starting point from which to research provenance, migration, exhibition careers and historiographies in which it has played a part.

The research findings will be presented in an experimental exhibition in the Bauhaus building, and constitute a contribution to the conference “Collecting Bauhaus” taking place in December 2019.

Our Pritchard Papers hold over 600 items relating to the architect Marcel Breuer and his involvement with the Isokon Furniture Company. These items have been digitised on the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive.


Justine Mann and Paul Cooper, Chase PGR student, gave an introductory talk to Sainsbury Centre staff and volunteer gallery guides in preparation for the launch of the Doris Lessing 100 archive exhibition in September.

Reminder: An event to launch the exhibition takes place on Thur 12 Sep when Margaret Drabble, Lessing’s old friend, and Lessing scholar Roberta Rubenstein will be in conversation with Professor Christopher Bigsby. The international academic conference Doris Lessing at 100: The Writer’s Quest takes place 12-14 Sep. Further information can be found here: http://dorislessing.org


One of the optional sessions of this conference included ‘Archival Encounter’. This attracted 16 staff to the Archives for an introduction to our work and the collections as well as that of the East Anglian Film Archive. There were opportunities to search and view film clips, navigate through the ‘Suffragette Stories’ online exhibits, see some noteworthy publications held in Special Collections and follow the creative process in a range of unique archive materials.


This annual visit to the Archives provided students the opportunity to examine the manuscript drafts and writing process of Sara Taylor’s short stories. Nine attendees.


This session was led by Jos Smith, Director of the BACW. The suffragettes archive was used as a focus from which to explore and develop critical thinking and creative writing. This collection is particularly inspirational for conversation and story-telling around forgotten legacies and women’s equality. 17 attendees.

‘Really fascinating to see records of such a relevant and revolutionary time, and to get a glimpse into the lives of women who created so many opportunities for women today.’

‘The idea of historical fiction is one not covered much at A-level.’

‘The session was interesting and surrounded a topic I am passionate about, and drew questions surrounding genre.’

Special Collections

There were 12 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: June 2019



Walnut Tree Farm. Copyright Estate of Roger Deakin

  • The Archives are pleased to have been of assistance with a newly published work Life at Walnut Tree Farm by Rufus Deakin and Titus Rowlandson. Richly illustrated, the book examines the property formerly owned by nature writer Roger Deakin; the restoration of the semi-ruined Elizabethan farmhouse by Deakin, and his passion for the surrounding countryside in which he quite literally immersed himself.
  • An article on born digital archives from Paul Gooding, Jos Smith and Justine Mann “The Forensic Imagination: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Tracing Creativity in Writers’ Born-Digital Archives” has been accepted for publication in a special issues of the journal: Archives and Manuscripts (Taylor and Francis). The paper draws on a panel event at the ‘Born Digital Literary Archives’ event that took place at Loughborough University in January 2017.

‘Institutions in the 21c. Libraries, Archives and Digital Heritage: Projects and Prospects’ – Heritage Dot Conference, University of Lincoln, 3 June

Justine Mann joined a panel of colleagues from the British Library at the inaugural Heritage Dot Conference to talk about the challenges and opportunities of digital in archive and libraries. The innovative governance model for the BACW and the challenges in archiving born digital literary material were discussed. http://heritagedot.org/

Interviews for internship, 13 June

The Strachey Trust has generously granted funds to the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) to employ a UEA graduate intern to assist in an archive cataloguing project during the Nobel laureate, Doris Lessing’s Centenary year.

This role will help to improve the visibility of the Doris Lessing Archive catalogue ahead of a major international conference in September. An LDC finalist was offered the role as part of UEA’s Graduate Internship Programme.

Enquiries & Visits


UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) hosted this event for teachers of English Literature. The focus was dystopian fiction, in particular Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. They examined questions of narrative, voice, structure, theme, genre and the dystopian tradition in literature, with the aim being to suggest some fresh perspectives that the teachers could use with their students. 18 attendees.


These have been for Naomi Alderman’s The Power and J.D. Salinger’s personal letters. We’ve also gained some biographical information relating to the children’s illustrator Cecil Mary Leslie, which complements our collection of original ink drawings.


From the Zuckerman  Archive we’ve received enquiries on the WWII school essays; the history of bio-engineering; the disaster of the Torrey Canyon (an oil tanker which hit rocks off the coast of Cornwall); defence; Lord Mountbatten; and the history of the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA.

Special Collections

There were 5 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: May 2019

Creative Writing Workshops

A series of creative writing workshops was held in the Archives by Fiona Sinclair (former Writer in Residence on the Suffragette Stories project) on 23 May. Students were able to draw on the experiences and documentary evidence of the suffragettes to develop their own narratives and creative writing skills. Eight attendees from LDC.

Doris Lessing at 100

Planning is well underway for UEA’s celebrations to mark the centenary of the Nobel laureate, Doris Lessing, in Autumn 2019. Highlights from Lessing’s vast archive of correspondence, held within the BACW, will be exhibited at the Sainsbury Centre from 12 Sep 2019 – 9 Feb 2020 alongside loans from national museums and The National Archives (TNA). The exhibition will explore the less familiar side of Lessing’s life as well as celebrate her notable achievements in literature, political activism and feminism. Her official biographer, Patrick French, who has used the archive extensively, will be in conversation with Professor Christopher Bigsby on its opening evening. A Doris Lessing at 100 academic conference, with wide participation from a range of high profile international scholars of Lessing will be held during 12-14 September 2019. More about these events can be found on the conference website: http://dorislessing100.org or www.uea.ac.uk/bacw

Enquiries & Visits


Louise Doughty Paula Hawkins and Tracy Chevalier

Louise Doughty, Paula Hawkins and Tracy Chevalier

UEA Creative Writing graduates Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) and Louise Doughty (Apple Tree Yard) along with Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train) were introduced to the BACW to see how students and researchers work with material. Tracy was reunited with drafts of her short stories and first novel.


DSCF3753 00228 agents from a host of countries visited us to learn about the benefits of the literary archive collections to students of Literature and Creative Writing (LDC), how the collections are used in teaching, and the ways in which our students engage with the Archives through volunteer blogging, digitisation projects and research.


We’ve offered general advice to the following: a US researcher interested in the literacy narratives of self-taught authors and how they became literate; a doctoral student researching poetry in television; and a UEA staff member on the restrictions pertaining to the filming of works which are under copyright.


Annie Kenney statue Oldham by Jeremy Sutcliffe

Statue of suffragette Annie Kenney in Oldham. Photo by Jeremy Sutcliffe

  • An elderly couple from Oldham have made the journey to Norwich to spend three days with us getting to know the archive of working class Oldham sisters Annie and Jessie Kenney. Annie played a significant role in the campaign for women’s suffrage and in 2018 a bronze statue was erected in her honour in the centre of Oldham.
  • A Heritage Foundation has sought permission to reproduce a photograph from the collection in a new publication.


Matt Salinger (J.D. Salinger’s son) paid us a visit to see some of the 50 letters his father wrote to a friend Donald Hartog. These are available to see in the Archives. More details.

Rowen Bryer, third-year English Literature undergraduate has contributed a blog post about the letters entitled J.D. Salinger: On ageing, friendship, and keeping a vegetable garden.


Heather Martin, Child’s official biographer has spent a week in the Archives taking a close look at drafts and manuscripts of the first novels in the Jack Reacher series. The collection remains closed for cataloguing.


  • David Bellos’ drafts, working documents, and corrected copies of his translations of the works of French writer Georges Perec were consulted by a LDC student.
  • We supplied biographical information on translator Patricia Crampton, for a Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) entry. Crampton served as translator at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and translated many stories for children.


This collection has been consulted by a LDC student with a special focus on the work Disobedience.


  • Walter Gropius visionary founder of the BauhausThe Archives is pleased to have assisted Fiona MacCarthy with her newly published book Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus. Faber & Faber, 2019. Chapters 14-18 examine Gropius’s years in London (1934-37) and draw heavily on the Pritchard Papers.
  • An academic from the University of Newcastle has spent a couple of days with us researching the relationships between architectural design and building products manufacturers in the interwar period. More from our blog on early plywood design.
  • We’ve provided a photograph for a forthcoming Australian architectural publication.
  • An academic from South Africa has sought a 1956 speech by scientist Julian Huxley wherein he recognises the contributions of the designer and architect Walter Gropius as well as the importance of the integration of art, architecture and science.



Western end of Lasdun’s ‘teaching wall’, circa 1969

The appointed architects of the ‘teaching wall’ refurbishment project visited to consult floor plans, development plans and architect’s sketch design reports from the 1960s. Estates have also been supplied with photos and plans for submission to architects and designers.


Interviews which have been accessed include those of Jay McInerney (2006) and Michael Chabon (2012).


  • Aerial photographs, target maps and reports on the strategic bombing of German towns are currently on display in the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery exhibition Lines of Sight. W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia, until 6 January 2020.
  • A PGR student is beginning to research the history of UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences, established in 1967. Zuckerman is one of UEA’s founders who also played a key role in establishing the School.

Special Collections

There were 13 requests.

Five books from Special Collections are currently on display at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery in the exhibition Lines of Sight. W.G. Sebald’s East Anglia, until 6 January 2020. These include a 17th century volume of the works of Sir Thomas Browne.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: April 2019

Productions and publications

Bauhaus Goes WestThe Archives is pleased to have been of assistance to Alan Powers with his most recent publication Bauhaus Goes West: Modern Art and Design in Britain and America.

Emily Walker has contributed to the Digital Preservation Coalition’s blog. Archiving Final Draft: A potential digital gold mine of film and TV scripts  examines the scriptwriting software Final Draft™ and the challenges experienced in accessing the creative process of the original work. Emily is a PhD researcher who is undertaking a placement as Curatorial Assistant for the BACW’s TV Comedy Collection.

On 3 April the BBC filmed an interview in the Reading Room and shone a spotlight on one of our science collections. More on this later in the year when the programme is aired.


Norfolk Festival of Nature, 12-14 April

The BACW exhibited Roger Deakin’s swimming journey and writing process behind his work Waterlog. The event, at the Forum in Norwich, included a debate about ‘The Future of Nature’ with Patrick Barkham, Henry Castor, Pamela Manning, Isabella Tree and Jake Grinned.

Enquiries & Visits


We’ve been pleased to welcome Alice Ridout to the Doris Lessing Archive. Alice is an English professor at Algoma University, Ontario.

Requests we received were for:

  • Anthony Vivis’s translation of a work by the German author Ulrich Plenzdorf (request from the US).
  • Angela Carter’s personal library, for which we hold an inventory (request from Switzerland).
  • The interviews of writers Toni Morrison, John Boyne and W.G. Sebald (part of the UEA Literary Festival collection).
  • Performance rights for The Number of the Beast, a work by playwright Snoo Wilson.


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Nottingham Contemporary Arts Centre are researching the collection for their upcoming exhibitions on the Bauhaus and British architecture.

The authors of The Isokon and Bauhaus in Britain are delivering a talk on the Isobar and Half Hundred Club and have asked for dinner menus and papers of the dinner directors. There’s a possibility that some of the dinners from the thirties may be re-created. More on the Isobar.


Sportspark staff have been looking back at our sporting history; and a former student is tracing recordings of Nexus (a TV channel 1969-1989 with output from our students).


  • Amazingly, we have re-united another school essay with its author. Dorothy, now 88, contacted us. She was just 10 when she wrote the essay in 1942. More on our collection of 2,000 WWII essays.
  • A researcher from the Instituto Nazionale Ferruccio Parri (Milan) has visited the Archives to plot Allied bombing strategies and compare patterns between the bombing of Germany and Italy.

Special Collections

There were 14 requests; and a group booking from MA Literary Translation students studying ‘process and product’ in A Humament: a treated Victorian novel, by Tom Phillips.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: March 2019


Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain (001)The Archives is pleased to have been of assistance to Leyla Daybelge and Magnus Englund with their publication Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain. Pavilion Books. Published March 2019. The authors made countless research trips to the Archives, researching the Pritchard Papers.

Jos Smith (Director of the British Archive for Contemporary Writing) and Fiona Sinclair (UEA Archive’s Writer in Residence) were interviewed on local radio (BBC Radio Norfolk, 15 March). They talked about our local theatre collections as well as the Suffragette Stories community project and the significance of some tree-clippings (remnants of an arboretum planted by the suffragettes).


MA Publishing Module, 4 March

Students had the opportunity to look at selected correspondence between authors, their agents, editors and publishers. Some letters are tense and fractious, others are encouraging and bear good news.

For those interested in literary translation the papers of translator John Fletcher (UEA Emeritus Professor) provided insight into the translation process, the time pressures of authors and publishers and the importance of watertight contracts. Nine attendees.

“It was really interesting to look at the letters regarding the publication process.”

“It’s been relevant to the whole Creative Writing course actually!”

LDC UG Creative Writers, 5 March (pm & late pm)

These two sessions focussed on the texts of Sara Taylor (The Shore). 16 attendees.

“It was extremely helpful to see how a published writer develops their work through redrafting. I felt inspired by her methods and will use these in my own writing.”

“ … Reading other people’s comments on the draft and the editors’ notes, and seeing how the author adapted the feedback or rejected it was also interesting.”

LDC PGT Contemporary Fiction, 7 March

Naomi Alderman The Power. 13 attendees.

“The session gave me a perspective which I would not have grasped on my own.”

LDC PGT Poetics of Place, 14 March

Deakin - Treyarnon Cornwall

Roger Deakin – Treyarnon Bay Cornwall

This module led by Jos Smith looked at proposals for Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin’s books, TV and radio programmes. Also Deakin’s preliminary work for Waterlog. Seven attendees and two additional visitors.

LDC PGT Feminist Writing, 20 March

A chance to explore feminist views in the works and letters of Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, Muriel Spark, prominent suffragettes, and Naomi Alderman. 11 attendees.

“This is my first archive session, and I wish I had done one sooner. This really is a great resource and I will definitely aim to sit in again.”

“Some great resources that I otherwise would’ve been unaware of. Great starting points to inspire our summative projects.”

“The material is great for specific information and contextualising ideologies or societal views.”

PGT Module ‘Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age’. Two three hour module seminars led by Justine Mann (Archivist) and Annie Kelly (Digitisation Assistant) on the Suffragette Stories project, 19 and 26 March


Session one – Students worked with us in the Digitisation Suite (within UEA Media Suite) to digitise unique archive material from our suffragette archives. They worked through the process of capturing & enhancing digital surrogates in preparation for adding to the Suffragette Stories UEA digital exhibition. Nine attendees.

Session two – Students were given an overview of UEA Archives’ recent digitisation and engagement project, Suffragette Stories, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The session introduced i) key theoretical debates in the area of digitisation and public engagement and ii) the importance of metadata standards and controlled vocabulary. Students were also given a hands on introduction to our digital exhibition software, Omeka, and added their own digitised exhibits to the Suffragette Stories test site. Eleven attendees.

“Useful introduction to the Omeka site and info about metadata.”

“Great to see the lifecycle of a digitised item and to hear a critical engagement with a digitisation project.”

“Useful to have practical experience alongside the theory – learning in context!”

HUM Foundation Year – Adventures in the Archives, 26-28 March

Over a period of three days, three groups of students were introduced to the Archives for an opportunity to engage with the suffragette and WWII archives. A new discovery for most. 22 attendees.

“Very useful. I didn’t even know it existed before this week. Will use it for future research.”

“Interesting and thoroughly fascinating.”

Unboxed (blog writing)

Editorial workshop, 5 March. Five attendees.

Enquiries & Visits

• A student on the MA scriptwriting course is reading a suffragette’s diary of her 1917 trip to Russia, and Doris Lessing’s love letters of the 1940s.
• An AMA student is selecting slides on the Kalahari Bushmen, part of the UEA Collection.
• A DEV student is comparing UEA’s marketing and information literature before and after the introduction of the 2010 Equality Act.
• An overseas researcher is researching free speech at British universities, in particular the visit of politician John Carlisle to UEA in 1986.

Special Collections

There were 16 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: February 2019

Productions and publications

The Archives is pleased to have been of assistance to Carol Talbot with her publication Working-Class Suffragette, the Life of Annie Kenney. Oldham Writers’ Café, Dec. 2018.


The loan of 14 items from our suffragette’s archive to Oldham Gallery has now been returned. They formed part of their exhibition: ‘Peace and Plenty? Oldham and the First World War’.

Now safely back at UEA these precious pieces are on display in a case within our Reading Room. Included are photographs, badges, passports dated 1915 and 1916, and an autograph album containing messages and signatures of prominent suffragettes from 1906-1913.

Our Suffragette Stories exhibition, curated by Broadland Academy students, continues in the Archive Foyer on Floor 02 of the Library.


MA in Scriptwriting, 8 February

In this introduction to the Archives the group discovered how archives can inspire, inform and be invaluable source material for scriptwriting.

I found something really good and inspiring!

Fantastic and surprising resource for us.

I was just a bit overwhelmed but this is my first time in an archive.

A hugely inspiring session. I hadn’t ever thought about using the archive but found it to be a thrilling prospect, and an idea I want to develop.

12 attendees.

Writing the Wild, 12 February

IMG_0386LDC students followed the writing process of Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin, from field notebooks to fully fledged manuscripts. Documenting as they go, these writers’ journeys become a means to explore, observe, encounter and appreciate.

LDC UG Creative Writers, 14 & 15 February

These two sessions focussed on the texts of Sara Taylor (The Shore).
21 attendees.

Unboxed (blog writing)

IMG_0410Our blogging volunteers are dipping into the far reaches of our collections. They’ve each attended a blog training session in the Archives with LDC lecturer Claire Hynes and are now preparing their first draft for an editorial workshop. It’s great to see what’s inspiring them; each one producing a unique narrative based on something which sparks their interest and from which they can expand and explore.

12 attendees: 3 from History; 8 from LDC and 1 from AMA.

Blog training, 21 February morning

Excellent writing exercises that challenged me and made me approach writing in new ways.

Blog training, 21 February afternoon

The workshop helped me to critique my own style of writing in a way that was really encouraging.


Do Something Different Festival, 20 February

As part of UEA’s annual ‘Do Something Different Festival’ the Archives scheduled to re-screen the 2011 Literary Festival interview with Andrea Levy. Sadly Andrea passed away the very same week, making the re-screening all the more poignant and a bit special.

Enquiries & visits

Literary Archives

Students visiting from within UEA are coming to us for The Power (Naomi Alderman) and The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing). The papers of Malcolm Bradbury are also proving useful to one of our MA Modern and Contemporary Writing students.

UEA Collection

Three overseas enquiries have related to former UEA members of staff: the late W.G. Sebald, John Kimber and Werner Mosse.

Zuckerman Archive

  • A prospective PhD candidate at an English university has expressed an interest in accessing papers on Zuckerman’s time as Secretary of the Zoological Society of London.
  • An archaeological researcher has been examining the bombing survey reports detailing the damage caused in the bombing of Sicilian and mainland Italian ports during WWII.

Special Collections

There were 15 requests

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: January 2019

Productions and Publications

Front Row Late, BBC2, 11 January 2019. Mary Beard and guests discuss the posthumous reputations of writers and artists. The programme included Beard’s visit to Doris Lessing’s archive.

Tate Etc Spring issue includes material from the Pritchard Papers and features the contributions of the Pritchards towards Walter Gropius’s success in England. Gropius founded the Bauhaus School of Design in 1919.

• Permission has been requested to use a photo of the Pritchard family in a television series which premiered on 30 January. Phil Spencer’s History of Britain in 100 Homes (channel More4) will include the Isokon building (Lawn Road Flats) in episode 6. Molly and Jack Pritchard were the visionaries, owners and residents of the modernist flats built in 1934 in Hampstead, London.


• The Suffragette Stories exhibition (curated by Broadland High Ormiston Academy) is on display on Floor 02 of UEA Library.DSCF3684

• A three year extension has been granted for the loan of G.S. Callendar’s notebooks to the Science Museum for their permanent ‘Atmosphere Gallery’.


AMA (Art, Media and American Studies) PGT Cultural Heritage and Digital Archiving module, 22 January

The focus of the module for that week was ‘collection management’ and as well as a general introduction to the archive, the session focussed on the innovative collection management strategy for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing. The session also profiled forthcoming hands on sessions on digitisation, using the Humanities Media Suite, and the use of digital exhibition software. These will be led by the Archivist and CHASE funded PGR student placement, Annie Kelly, who worked as Digitisation Assistant on the HLF funded Suffragette Stories project. 18 attendees.

LDC (Literature, Drama and Creative Writing) UG Feminist Theatre, 22 January

Session drawing on our suffragette and feminist theatre collections, exploring feminist historiography and how writers can engage creatively and critically with Archives to consider and challenge underrepresentation. 18 attendees.Feminist Theatre 220119

LDC UG Reading Texts, 23 January

Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. Including letters which offer insight into the book’s innovative structure & relationships with fictionalised friends & lovers. 12 attendees.


Doris Lessing Archive

• A visiting PG student has been reading correspondence between Lessing and prominent female authors.

• We’ve been looking for a letter which a member of the public wrote to Lessing in 1991 concerning the epigraph she used in Under My Skin but so far the letter hasn’t turned up.

G.S. Callendar Archive

A Californian publisher has requested permission to use Callendar’s portrait photograph in a textbook on energy.

Kenney Papers

In response to the Telegraph article which highlighted the tree-clippings found in the Archives, some further fascinating information on the suffragette’s arboretum in Batheaston has come to our attention.

Dr Cynthia Hammond from Canada contacted us. She has published Architects, Angels, Activist and the City of Bath, 1765-1965 (2012) and an exhibition catalogue Suffragettes in Bath: Activism in an Edwardian Arboretum (2011).

Fiona Sinclair, Project Officer for Suffragette Stories commented: “Although I have looked at many images of the wood, your work really helped me to see it and understand the space.”

Malcolm Bradbury Archive

An MA student in Modern and Contemporary Writing has consulted biographical papers relating to Bradbury.

Pritchard Papers

Visiting researchers are examining the detail of the legal battle which took place between furniture makers Jack Pritchard and Alvar Aalto regarding the design of the Long Chair.

Roger Deakin Archive

An LDC PGT student is using some of the dozens of notebooks which formed the basis of Deakin’s published nature writing.

UEA Collection

A history lecturer from an English university has requested a recording of Lord Blake’s lecture delivered at UEA in 1997 (Launcelot Fleming lecture). The lecture focuses on historians as interpreters of contemporary history. He cites three great problems for Britain: Northern Ireland, the Welfare State and ‘Europe’.

Unboxed (Archive blog)

Volunteer student bloggers have started researching the collections ahead of the blog writing workshops which will be held in the Archives in February.

Zuckerman Archive

• A professor from an American university has made an initial enquiry on papers relating to the British Bombing Survey Unit and the bombing of Japan and the Pacific islands. He is keen to visit the Archives later in the year.

• An LDC PGT student has accessed the collection of 2,000 children’s essays describing their experiences of the blitz in Hull.

Special Collections

There were 16 requests.

Additional group bookings included:
• ’Books as material objects’ – a session for LDC literature students.
• ‘Visualising History’ module – an introduction to using microfilm.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: December 2018


Suffragette Stories, 6 December

UEA and Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service hosted a celebration at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library to mark 100 years since women first voted in a general election in the UK. The event launched a physical archive exhibition curated by students from Broadland High Ormiston Academy. The exhibition, which ran throughout December, included material from the Kenney Papers and stories of local suffragettes and a showcase of the numerous intergenerational workshops held throughout Norfolk involving school children, who interviewed community residents in libraries on how women’s roles have changed since women first voted in 1918.

The launch also heard readings from an anthology of stories written by established and emerging writers, school children and other community members to be published online by UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) throughout 2019, to remember forgotten suffragettes and to recreate the suffragette tree plantation which was sadly destroyed in the 1960s to make way for housing.

Suffragette Stories is a partnership between the UEA and Norfolk County Council Library & Information Service, and is generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A digital exhibition of 100 digitised items from the Kenney Papers archive is nearing completion and will be launched online at the end of February 2019.


The suffragette display curated by Norfolk school children was on display at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library throughout December.


Creative Writing module visit, 6 December

This module, delivered by Kate Moorhead-Kuhn, explored the manuscripts and working process of novelist Sara Taylor. 7 attendees.

Shore (9)

Manuscript of The Shore


Fisher Theatre, Bungay

Legal documents on the theatre from 1790-1886 have been made available to the board of trustees of this former theatre building. Collection description.

G.S. Callendar Archive


Guy Callendar’s notebook on CO2, 1939-1940.

A Swiss online magazine, Republik, has published an article on climate change which describes Callendar’s painstaking audit of weather station data across the globe and his resultant theory of global warming in response to rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

Tinkler Theatre Collection

A couple from Great Yarmouth have visited to trace their relatives’ performances in the early 20th century. They were known as the ‘Two Magnets’ and performed in concert halls from 1890-1924.

UEA Collection

• The BBC has asked for contact details of the estate of the late Lord Oliver Franks (former Chancellor). They hope to re-run a recording of his 1954 Reith Lecture.
• The Students’ Union are gathering photographs of all former SU Presidents. The Archives holds an album of portrait photographs of all presidents from 1968-1980. The rest are scattered throughout UEA magazines.

Zuckerman Archive

An academic has visited to read the children’s essays describing the blitz in Hull. This is a collection of over 2,000 essays and is a rare resource of children’s first-hand accounts of their wartime experiences. More on the essays.

Special Collections

There were 19 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: November 2018


UEA Staff Association visit, 21 November

Over a lunchtime visit staff enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and discovered some of the treasures that lie in the depths of UEA Library. After an informal talk they could browse displays of literary archive material, including manuscripts from authors who have studied creative writing as part of the UEA MA in Creative Writing. Also available were working drafts from crime writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, the nature writing archives of East Anglian writers Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin and original letters between leading suffragettes. 10 attendees.

Workers’ Educational Association, Norwich branch, 24 November

Visiting members received an introduction to the British Archive for Contemporary Archives (BACW) and wider archive. They received a presentation which provided insight into how the collections came into being at UEA, their value and how they are being used in teaching. Jos Smith (BACW Director) held a workshop focussing on Naomi Alderman’s The Power.


A display from the Kenney Papers (suffragette archive) has been installed at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. The display is curated by Norfolk school children as part of the HLF Suffragette Stories project. Young and old within local communities have had the opportunity of connecting through the archive. The display is open to the public throughout December.


MA in Literary Translations (MALT), 1 November

Students were introduced to literary and translation archives. Lecturer Tom Boll led the session on reading and writing literary translations. 5 attendees.

MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction), 7 & 8 November

The works of Sara Taylor were the focus of two teaching sessions held by Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) lecturer Kate Moorhead-Kuhn.  22 attendees.

LDC UG Living Modernism, 7 November

This session, run by LDC lecturer Nonia Williams, used the collections as a background for social studies of the twenties and thirties. Material was included from across the collections, from minimalist domestic living in thirties London (Pritchard Papers), to Doris Lessing’s views on Virginia Woolf, printed ephemera from theatre collections and the diaries and memoirs of suffragettes. 10 attendees.

Analysing Film and Television (Art, Media and American Studies (AMA) UG) module, 26 November

Students were able to work with the screenwriting scripts of Charlie Higson (The Fast Show and Monstroso) and Malcolm Bradbury (Dalziel and Pascoe and Porterhouse Blues) and gain insight into what it takes to make a career in the creative arts.

The session was developed by Emily Walker, current UEA PGR in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the BACW, (CHASE-funded placement). 5 attendees.

LDC UG Reading Texts, The Grass is Singing, 27 November

After receiving an introduction to copyright and the handling of archival materials, the students gained familiarity with the letters written between Doris Lessing, her agent and publishers in her quest to bring The Grass is Singing to print. They photographed themselves using the collection and were able to include a couple of love letters by Lessing to John Whitehorn from the forties. The session was supervised by Jos Smith. The photographs will be made available to the Archives and UEA’s Media Library.


Introductory sessions were delivered to 21 volunteer bloggers, some of whom we hope will write some interesting blogs on items selected from our collections.



Enquiries and visits have related to Graham Greene, Virginia Woolf, Ann Quin and Barbara Kingsolver.

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

A scholar who is re-creating an Edwardian dress has asked for information on the dress worn by the suffragettes.

Pritchard Papers (architecture and design)

• A curator from RIBA has visited to consult papers on designers, in particular László Moholy-Nagy.
• New information on copyright ownership has emerged for a couple of sought after photographs of László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius. This has already assisted two publishers who wish to use them.
• Speeches by Walter Gropius have been requested by a researcher in the US.

Long chair leaflet designed by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Roger Deakin Archive

We assisted with an enquiry on the East Anglian ceramic artist Mary Newcomb.

UEA Collection

We’ve helped answer questions on where in the Library marks the join between the original building by Lasdun (1968) and the first extension by Feilden & Mawson (1974); and how the authors of Concrete and Open Skies settled on the title.

West corner. Originally just 10 bays, the building extended to 16 as part of a second phase extension (Feilden & Mawson, 1974)

Other enquiries related to the Sex Pistols (a cancelled UEA gig in the sixties); and the eighties Crawl Club (a social drinking club at UEA).

Zuckerman Archive

A research visit focussed on the correspondence between Zuckerman and Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

Special Collections

There were 16 requests.