One of the themes of this year’s Explore Your Archive campaign is #ArchivesRocks. This has encouraged me to look at a few sources in DMU Special Collections relating to music.

Opera Dress collage

It was important to sport the latest fashion when attending a music performance, as this illustration of ‘opera dress’ demonstrates. From “The Ladies Cabinet”, 1852, part of the Rare Books and Journals collection.


These cassette tapes hold a recording of a lunchtime concert held at Leicester Polytechnic in 1981. Details of other lunchtime concerts are found in the programmes. These are part of an uncatalogued ‘events’ section of DMU Archive.

Tickets Thin Lizzy 1974

Leicester Polytechnic and DMU in the 1990s were well-known for hosting gigs for prominent bands. An alumni donated these tickets to the Archive while the gig schedule is from the press cuttings albums.

string quartet005

We hold a copy of a String Quartet commissioned by De Montfort University from composer Sally Beamish. The piece was performed by the Schidlof Quartet in honour of the retirement of Professor Kenneth Barker as Vice-Chancellor, July 1999.


Photograph from the Official Report of the Leicester Polytechnic Caving and Mountaineering Club trip to Oksfjord, Loppa Peninsular, Finnmark, Arctic Norway in March 1971. The students undertook a geological survey – looking at rocks!

About Katharine Short

When I was 13 every careers questionnaire I did at school suggested I become an archivist. In rebellion I studied History of Art at Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute before giving in to the inevitable and undertaking a qualification in Archives Administration at Aberystwyth University. I worked at King’s College London Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives before becoming the Archivist here at DMU in January 2013. My role is hugely varied: answering enquiries and assisting researchers, sorting, cataloguing, cleaning and packaging archival material, managing our environmentally controlled storage areas, giving seminars, talks and tours, researching aspects of University history, liaising with potential donors and advocating for the importance of archives within the organisation. I am one of those incredibly fortunate people who can say ‘I love my job’ and really mean it.
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