Object of the Week

Object of the Week 27/01/2018

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2018 this year we have chosen a programme from the ‘Anne Frank – A History for Today Exhibition’ 2000 produced by the Anne Frank Trust to complement the Anne Frank + You exhibition currently at New Walk Museum, Leicester.

This year’s theme is the power of words and while the voices of many holocaust victims remain unheard, the diary of Anne Frank is at once a testament to the suffering endured by millions and an inspiration for those of us still trying to build a prejudice-free world.

Close up of quotation from Ann’e dairy taken from the back page of ‘The Anne Frank – A History for Today Exhibition’ programme.



Object of the Week 19/01/2018

This week I wanted to share the joy that archives bring to readers when looking for records of their relative’s activities in our holdings. The grand-daughter of Bill Heaton, a glass-maker and tutor who worked at DMU, 1972-1982, in the School of Industrial Design, had a fruitful visit today as well as sharing some of her own collected papers and photographs.

But I’m not saying anymore… sounds like the perfect subject for an article in our newsletter…

Below you can see Bill at work featured in the 1977-78 prospectus!

Object of the Week 12/01/2018

Glad, and grateful, to have our volunteers back after the holidays I thought it would be nice to show an item from one of our slide collections which they catalogued last year.

Taken by photographer, orator, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Edith Barlow, this fantastic image of Venice was taken while on her travels in Italy, c 1920.

It must be that point in January when you start dreaming about summer holidays!


Object of the Week 02/01/2018

Personally, I’m glad to be back on campus with the wondrous archives, but for those feeling traumatised by the return to work I thought I would share these fascinating and thought-provoking workers’ portraits from this week’s gem: Victorian Life in Photographs first published in 1974.

Workers at an iron works in South Wales, 1865.

Swabbing the decks of the S.S. Illawara, 1881.

Stone cutting at Tilly Fourie Quarry, Aberdeen, 1880.

Swab the decks and make way for 2018. Happy new year!


Object of the Week 19/12/2017

With the end of the year fast approaching and it being #WinterSolstice on Thursday 21st (the day of the year with the shortest daylight hours in the northern hemisphere) I thought it would be nice to make our last object of the year about hope.

So here is the final image and poem from John Pudney’s Almanack of Hope published in 1994.

The image also seemed rather fitting considering our festive flurry of snow last week


Object of the Week 13/12/2017

With much hype about the announcement of the royal wedding this month it reminded me of a book we have in our Kodak collection that one of our readers had been perusing recently: Queen Alexandra’s Christmas Gift Book: photographs from my camera, published in 1908 by the Daily Telegraph and to be sold for charity. The book details the Russian royal family’s trip around the UK in 1908.



Object of the Week 01/12/2017

The first of our Christmas and new year-themed objects throughout December is this wonderful little greetings card produced by the Queen’s Institute of District Nursing c 1940 from our School of Nursing and Midwifery Collection

Object of the Week 10/11/2017

To complement our Remembrance Day post, this week’s object has been chosen from our Photographers Gallery Library: Historical Events 1839-1939.  The book features a striking photo of the trenches at the Battle of the Somme.

A trench during the Battle of the Somme 1916

by Helmut and Alison Gernsheim London: Longmans and Green, 1960.

Object of the Week 03/11/2017

We see no reason / Why Gunpowder treason / Should ever be forgot!                                    So goes the famous Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night nursery rhyme.

As #BonfireNight2017 events get underway this weekend we thought we would showcase this little feature from The Lady’s Newspaper published on 2nd November 1850. The Weekly Calendar article includes a contemporaneous portrait of Guy Fawkes and an illustration of Guy Fawkes’s cellar situated beneath the Houses of Parliament.

The Weekly Calendar pg 238

Guy Fawkes’s cellar

Object of the Week 27/10/2017

Who could possibly resist joining in with #BlackCatDay!!

These three beautiful black kitties are from Young England’s Nursery Rhyme Book illustrated by Constance Haslewood,c 1890. As well as proving they are a popular feature in children’s stories the rhymes suggest there is no better companion than a cat, whatever your age.

The book contains a lovely little handwritten inscription providing a little bit of context for the book’s history, having first been bought as a Christmas gift: “For Harold with love from Daisy, Christmas, 1893.

Object of the Week 16/10/2017

The Contour Fashion Programme celebrates its 70th birthday this academic year and to mark this milestone the Heritage Centre based in the Hawthorn Building is showcasing a fantastic exhibition on the course. On display are examples of current and alumni work as well as items from the Special Collections. Come in and check it out!

Exhibition title panel in the Heritage Centre, The Hawthorn Building, Newarke Street, Leicester.


Display case curated with archive objects related to the Contour Fashion programme. Items include press cuttings, prospectuses, photographs, student work and test garments.

Object of the Week 13/10/2017

In celebration of #LibrariesWeek we thought we should showcase an item from our very own library collection. 120 years ago, before the building of Kimberlin, the library at the Leicester College of Art used these highly decorative, art nouveau style book labels. Beautiful.

Object of the Week 04/10/2017

While searching for some fashion designs for a student I discovered this wonderful drawing and thought it would get us all nicely in the mood for @FolkloreThursday’s #tree theme this week. However, I suspect this rather glam Red Riding Hood might be off to one of the Great Gatsby’s champagne parties rather than a journey through the forest.

French Fashion Drawings, 1920s. The annotation is written in French and is quite faint but “crepe Georgette” is legible which refers to a sheer lightweight fabric, which originally would have been silk.


Object of the Week 20/09/2017

Ticket for admission to classes at the Leicester School of Art, 1920s.

Object of the Week 14/09/2017


Leicester as an Educational Centre, leaflet by the City of Leicester Education Committee, published c.1948. The leaflet describes the Colleges of Art and Technology, DMU’s predecessors, praising it’s wide curriculum and internationally recognised courses. Other educational institutions in Leicester featured are the City of Leicester Training College (later amalgamated with Leicester Polytechnic), the Domestic Science Training College, and University College Leicester.

Object of the Week 01/09/2017

So the debate about choosing between meteorological autumn (starting today for a neat 3 month block from now until the end of November) or astronomical autumn (beginning on the 21st September, the autumnal equinox, when daylight and night time hours are of equal length) continues on Twitter #autumnishere.

Whatever your thoughts this lovely little book reminded me of a favourite childhood pastime – collecting autumn leaves for painting and collages.

Many of the papers are made from pulped leaves and textiles (old clothes and rags) with leaves dyed and embedded in the pulp.

John Mason, however, takes this to another level in this beautifully crafted collection of home-made papers, produced at the Leicester College of Art in 1959.

Object of the Week 22/08/2017

Twinning is winning: After realising that we are similarly dressed in navy chinos and pink tops today we decided we should feature in this week’s OOTW.

Town Armour Collection Halberds, 17th Century and Extraordinary Archive Assistants, 21st century.


So, we dusted off the 17th century halberds to compliment our matching outfits and blog post to mark the 375th anniversary of the English Civil War.


Object of the Week, 27/07/2017

Gate of Opportunity

The Hawthorn Building today and as depicted on the cover of the 1921 City of Leicester Technical School prospectus.

Object of the Week 21/07/2017

As it’s graduation week I thought it would be nice to remember the success of one of our former students by showcasing one of the rare examples of student certificates that we have in our holdings: Reginald Johnson was a student at the Leicester College of Technology (DMU predecessor) between 1935-1938.

The certificates were recently donated to Special Collections by his daughter following a visit to trace records of her father’s time here. We were able to find numerous entries in the registers and as the recipient of a bursary, but the best find by far was a photo of him in the College’s magazine The Prism:

Reg Johnson photo

Johnson can be seen in the front row on the far left. What a find!!!

Object of the Week, 14/07/2017

This week’s object is a bandage roller thought to have been used at around the turn of the twentieth century. Unlike some bandage rollers from this era with three horizontal rods of metal, this one sports two wooden rods, with the middle rod being metal. The vertical wooden block in the centre can be moved across the frame to suit the width of the bandage, allowing it to be rolled evenly. The steel rod, around which the bandage is wound, can be pulled out of the frame, allowing the bandage to be removed from the device.


Object of the Week, 07/07/2017

As the G20 summit gets under way in Hamburg this week to discuss the world’s finances, this DMU annual review from 1996-1997 reminds us that there have been many collaborative efforts across the globe that focus on knowledge sharing to encourage cultrual prosperity as well as fiscal. More often than not, of course, the two are linked but working together for the many not the few enriches all aspects of society.

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ELISE II: ‘Libraries Pictured Across Europe’ pg 12

In the days before Youtube, Instagram, and SnapChat etc. the ELISE II project (Electronic Library Image Server for Europe), developed in the mid-nineties, was the cutting edge technology. Used to link databases and image banks across Europe for the purpose of image sharing, ELISE II effectively created an image library that included, photography, film, medical imaging, maps, and much more.

Front cover of the DMU Annual Review 1996-1997

Front cover of the DMU Annual Review 1996-1997

Object of the Week, 28/06/2017

Littlewoods St petersburg288 These photographs show a Littlewoods concession in a St. Petersburg shop. They were sent to DMU lecturer Helen Dunn by a Russian colleague in May 1996. The images follow a visit to St. Petersburg University of Technology and Design by delegates from DMU’s Department of Textiles and Fashion in September 1994.

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Object of the Week 21/06/2017

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DMU was known as the Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School between 1897 and 1919. It was managed by the Borough of Leicester Education Committee and features in this financial report for 1906-07. The expenditure of £11734 would be roughly £672,944.90 today.

Object of the Week 14/06/2017

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As many students are anxiously waiting for the results of their exams, we thought this examination results ledger from the School of Nursing and Midwifery collection would be of interest. Nurses took in-house exams and then went forward to state exams that would allow them to qualify and register with the General Nursing Council.

Object of the Week 07/06/2017

Turret Gateway before damage

This illustration shows the Turret Gateway, the entrance to the Leicester Castle precinct from The Newarke. Once as large as the Magazine, the Gateway was damaged during riots.

Turret Gateway

Turret Gateway

 Object of the Week 02/06/2017

We have been searching  through the press cuttings a lot this week and today just happens to be #nationalfishandchipday and so this image seemed perfect!

fish and chip day

The image accompanies an article from the ‘Leicester Mercury’ 2 December 1954, titled, ‘Courses for Salesman in Leicester’ celebrating the new courses offered by the School of Commerce on salesmanship and sales organisation.

 Fishmonger or fish and chip shop owner?

Object of the Week 25/05/2017


Banner made for the Leicester Special Olympics celebrating inclusivity in sport.

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Object of the Week 17/05/2017

Kimberlin, Eric Wood and Queens Site 1975

View looking towards the river from the Campus Centre, showing the ground being prepared before construction of Kimberlin Library and Eric Wood. Queens would later be constructed on the site of the demountables at the top of the photograph. Mill Lane and the old Fletcher low rise are to the right. 1973.

Object of the week 12/05/2017

As is usually the way, while searching through the archives for something else we discovered this little treasure: a gallery booklet from 1982 promoting a London exhibition of former student, Harry Morley (1881-1943).

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Front cover: engraving ‘Rites of Spring’ c 1930s.

Morley was born in Leicester and attended Alderman Newton’s School before studying architecture at Leicester School of Art (now DMU). Morley won several travelling scholarship allowing him to devote more time to painting and he spent long periods in France and Italy.

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Inside plate: painting on cardboard and wood, ‘The Young Bacchus’ c 1930.

Object of the Week 27/04/2017

School of Design and Manufacture brochure highlighting student successes, 1996-97

Design and manufacture 1996 leaflet
Design and manufacture 1996 leaflet inside

Object of the Week 20/04/2017

Computer lab from annual report 1985

New facilities at the Scraptoft Campus include a computer laboratory shown here being used by Humanities students for whom computing is now incorporated into their course. This reflects the Polytechnic’s determination to enable all its students to have ‘hands on’ computing experience.” – Leicester Polytechnic Annual Report 1985-86

Object of the Week 11/04/2017

Today is #NationalPetDay and who better to find our Object of the Week then our office pet the Unconditionally-Loving-Blue-Eyed-Dino Roary the Reptile! And what a find Roary has clawed from the roller stacks for us this week, Lady Pussy Cat’s Ball written by F. E. Weatherly and illustrated by A. M. Lockyer, published by Hildesheimer and Faulkner, London.

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Roary the Reptile finds a nice read

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Roary looks to tuck into the Rare Books collection

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Roary has impeccable taste in music and makes an apt choice for the day whilst also acknowledging any copyright to Capitol Records and the Beach Boys.

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Roary had to pop outside to chase the Magpies so I have selected this rich illustration. I am not sure if this is a dance or the cats are about to assault these pups…

Don’t forget to cuddle up to you’re furry (or scaly if your an owner of the cold-blooded critters), friends when home from work everyone!

Happy National Pet Day 2017

Object of the Week 04/04/2017

There are many beautifully illustrated picture books for children in the archive so for #picbookday 2017 we have chosen a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.

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‘The Snow Queen’ retold by Louey Chisolm and illustrated by Honor C. Appleton. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd, c 1920s.

Object of the Week 31/03/2017

Today the Google Doodle celebrates the 145th birthday of Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballet Russes.

In the early twentieth century Diaghilev helped to bring ballet into the world of modern art. He surrounded himself with influential figures from music, art, fashion, set design, dance and choreography to create spectacular ballets that he showed around the world.

Within our Art Design and Architecture Rare Books collection we hold the amazing biography of the artist Léon Bakst, written by André Levinson. Bakst’s fame lay in the ballets he designed for the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, designing exotic sets and richly coloured costumes.

Bakst: The Story of The Artist’s Life. André Levinson, London, 1923.

The book is bound with vellum over boards, lettered in brown and is illustrated throughout with 68 plates (52 coloured), and numerous illustrations throughout the text. The copy we hold is the 288th of 315 copies printed in London by The Bayard Press.

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A Young Beotian, Water colour, design for the “Narcissus” Ballet.

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Design for the character Rinaldo from the ballet, “Women of Good Humour.”

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Stage Design for the Ballet of “Cleopatra.”

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Costume for Stravinskys “Bird of Fire.”




Design for a doll costume for the ballet “Boutique Fantasque.”

Stage decorations for “Thamar.”

Object of the Week 24/03/2017

Theatre De La Mode

On my hunt for all things Shakespeare yesterday I came across this amazing book of the touring exhibition Theatre de la Mode (Theatre of Fashion) which first took place shortly before and after the end of WWII between 1945-46.

Following liberation from Nazi occupation, but before the war had ended, in 1944 Parisian fashion designers and artists endeavoured to resurrect the Fashion industry by intending to present the haute couture collections for Spring 1945.  With fabrics, thread, and metals in short supply the idea for a miniature fashion theatre began to take shape and wire mannequins approximately 1/3 the size of human scale were constructed to model the collections.

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Designers from left: Georgette Renal and Molyneux. The attention to detail is one of the most striking things about the collection with outfits having working buttons and zips and the handbags are said to contain mini compacts and leather purses. pg 145.

The exhibition first went on display in the Louvre in March 1945 and went on to tour Europe and the US. The proceeds from the tour were used to help war survivors. At the end of the tour in 1946 the mannequins remained in the US and disappeared before being re-discovered 40 years later at the Maryhill Museum of Art, Washington, which is where they can be seen today.

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Designed by Jeanne Lafaurie. ‘Theatre De La Mode’ New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 1991. pg 154.

Object of the Week 17/03/2017

DSU Elections 2017

This week DMU campus has been a hive of campaign activity as the students’ union elections got underway. Below are some images of the posters and banners that are currently adorning the Kimberlin Library – no favouritism intended!

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Above are just some of the banners that have adorned the campus! These pictured have braved the elements at the front of the Kimberlin Library.

Digging around the archives, the earliest mention of a students’ union we could find was in the Leicester School of Arts and Crafts autumn prospectus, 1921. From these early days it is clear the School wished to provide a sense of community and solidarity amongst its students.

annual report

Page 55 in the 1922 autum prosepctus detailing the aim and services provided by the first students’ union.

The early 1970s was a significant period for the students’ union. Firstly, it got a new build  and its first bar opened in 1975.


A beautiful (ahem) example of 1970s architecture, the original DSU was situated near to where the Bede cafe area is today.


Inside the students’ union refectory and bar, 1975.

And secondly, from 1973, student reps were invited to sit on committee and faculty boards giving students a voice in all aspects of university life. On that note, remember, the purpose of the elections is to ensure effective representation of the student body’s needs, so, make sure you have your say and vote!

For more info on the student union and the latest on elections follow the links.

Object of the Week 10th March 2017

Silk Merchant’s Sample Album, Lyons, France 1837

This beautiful sample album was purchased for the DMU Art Library in 1972. While the identity of the merchant remains unknown the album provides a fascinating glimpse into his or her trade. The book contains 71 examples of fabric sold by the merchant, arranged 4-6 to a page with handwritten notes in a column beside them. The notes seem to indicate stock numbers or notes of sales. The silks are in a wide variety of patterns and colours including striped and floral.

silk merchant 1

The album has been rebound for preservation purposes but the original stitching in the spine can still be seen.

silk merchant 2

As well as fabric samples the album contains notes, prices and sketches of patterns.

The lovely floral patterns remind me that spring is just around the corner!

Object of the Week 3rd March 2017

There has been a lot of interest in the Ernest Gimson Collection of late so this week I thought I would share a photograph of one his more ornate designs for furniture seen in this church lectern. Gimson (1869-1919), who was born in Leicester and attended Leicester School of Art (now DMU) is considered to be among the most influential designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries’ Arts and Crafts Movement.


‘Church Furniture’ unfortunately many of the photographs are undated but this piece is most likely to have been produced between 1895-1919.

For further information on the collection please refer to the Ernest Gimson catalogue or pop into the archive.

Object of the Week 23rd February 2017

On this day fifty years ago, the Governors of the Leicester College of Art and Technology agreed on naming the buildings on campus after two of the its former headmasters.

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Minute Book  of the Leicester College of Art and Technology 1965-1968.

Benjamin J. Fletcher was headmaster of the Leicester School of Art from 1900 to 1920, and John H. Hawthorn was head of the Leicester Technical School fro 1898 to 1924.

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Minute entry regarding the “Naming of the College Buildings”, agreed on Thursday 23rd February 1967.

Object of the Week 17th February 2017

Exploring the archives this week I found these lovely ladies! These three dolls come from the Leicester General Hospitals’ Nursing League Collection, which was created and donated by former nurse, Pauline Wells, and were presumably made to represent nurses and carers throughout the ages. There are eight dolls in all and while most appear to have some historical or regional connection there is also a doll dressed as a postgraduate student receiving her nursing award and even a doll representing the fictional Dickens character, Sarah Gamp.

Nursing Dolls

Old dolls always look slightly sinister… unfortunately there is no further information or date but the bouffant hairstyles that most of them have suggests late 50s early 60s, and the Nursing Aide (seen in the picture) appears to be the latest example.

Object of the Week 10th February 2017

Inspired by the splendid demonstration of solidarity and community during the LoveInternational 24-hour vigil this week I thought I would choose something from the archive to reflect the diverse range of groups and societies that have existed at the University over the years.

The images below are a selection of past Student Union Handbooks designed to help students navigate their way through student life, featuring advice on health, finance, housing and enjoying all DMU and Leicester has to offer. All of the handbooks list a number of Societies and Clubs students have been able to join such as Amnesty International, Gaming, Theatre, Yoga, Sailing, Women’s Liberation Groups, International Relations, and the International Students Association.

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Two front covers of the Student Union Handbook from when DMU was known as Leicester Polytechnic. On the Left: 1978-79. On the Right: 1982-83.


Page 48 from the 1982/83 handbook featuring some of the societies and their aims.


Page 28 from the 2006/07 Student Handbook listing some of the societies and clubs on offer at DMU.

 Clubs and societies are a great way to meet others and share ideas. For a current list of De Montfort Student Union Societies click on the link. But if you can’t find one that quite suits you, you can always create your own!

Object of the Week 27th January 2017

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and while we should make the time to reflect on the horrors of the past we also need to be mindful of the the present and the future if we are to create a world free from genocide, ghettoization, and discrimination.

The image below is taken from a book in our Photographic Gallery Library, titled, In the Warsaw Ghetto Summer 1941. The images were taken by soldier Willy Georg who was a radio operator in the German Army. He managed to snap four rolls of film, and was half way through his fifth, before he had the camera and the film inside confiscated by the police. The other four rolls he kept and the images were not seen for fifty years until discovered by Rafael Scharf.

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Caption from page 15: Arm bands were white with a blue Star of David. The Nazis required all Jews to provide their own. Some were purchased and some homemade. ‘In the Warsaw Ghetto Summer 1941’. Scharf, Rafael F. London: Robert Hale Ltd, 1993.



Object of the Week 06/01/2016

January is traditionally seen as the month to get fit and start working off the Xmas pudding – and the archive team is dutifully playing along: Steven has been playing football while I have been clocking up the mileage on my new fitness tracking device with some epic walks and aerobic workouts. So to share our motivation for all things active we thought we would try to inspire you with a book from our Sporting History Collection:


‘The Sport of Race Walking’ (Middlesex: Race Walking Association, 1967).


According to the 1967 publication, “the action of walking is complete exercise in itself” (73). Great news!!

Have an active week…

Object of the Week 14/12/2016

With Christmas just around the corner it seemed a great time to share this lovely edition of the ‘Illustrated London Times’ dated xmas 1906.

The pages are filled with reproductions of glorious festive paintings along with news, adverts and features from the day.

Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 07/12/2016

I’m often stopped in my tracks by items which sit on the shelves in the archives and today I discovered an amazing looking book…

The beautiful book is kept closed by two sturdy metal clasps and has a thick leather cover attached to two panels of solid wood, making it very solid and also very heavy.

Printed by Nicholas of Lyra and dated 1474, (although it is unsure whether it is a later edition by Heinrich Eggestejn, 1485 he is considered to be one of the earliest book printers) the book is a critical interpretation of the bible.


Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 23/11/2016

This week we’re concentrating on nature as we’re all hooked on the BBC series ‘Planet Earth 2’. We had a visit from a student who was researching our collection of nature photography books and also this week it’s the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of the Species’, published 24 Nov 1859.

Below are some stunning  images from our copy of Stephen Dalton’s ‘Caught in Motion’ high speed photography book, which was created in 1982 using the latest photography technology.

Object of the Week 15/11/2016

This amazing architectural model of DMU’s Kimberlin Library, created by DMU’s school of architecture tutor Gil Lewis in 1995, is packed full of tiny detail with a scale of 1:200.

2017 will mark the 40th Birthday of the building and we thought it would be great to feature it on the blog.

#FutureLibrary  is a project which will determine the future of the library and through conversations via https://twitter.com/FutureLibDMU you can get involved. The extent of DMU’s ambitions will become clear in early 2017, and your voice is vital in shaping that ambition.

Details are available here: https://futurelibdmu.com/about/

Jonjo Elliott.


Object of the week 8/11/2016

As part of our ‘Remembering World War I’ posts, we thought it would be most fitting to show you this this copy of The Illustrated War News from November 8th 1916, exactly 100 years ago today.

Up to date news from the front lines and detailed instructions for building military bridges and women’s roles in the war effort are all featured.   The centre pages are filled with a dramatic drawing by British artist Charles Pears which shows a cargo steamer foundering after striking a German mine. The crew can be seen endeavouring to stand by in a rescue boat whilst looking for their shipmates in the water.


Jonjo Elliott

Object of the Week 2/11/2016

Every now and then something on the archives shelves catches my attention and today I noticed this portfolio which sat amongst a collection of old art books and journals…

Printed by Thames and Hudson in 1960, the A3 sized book has a detailed foreword by Georges Boudaille which gives a day by day account of Picasso’s artistic creation process:

 ‘Nov 1, 1955. Picasso attacks the theme to which he will devote himself for some months, and which, during the same period, he will treat in a series of oil paintings collectively called the studio’s. 


This beautiful portfolio is an exact copy of Picasso’s sketchbook which he filled with drawings and paintings from Nov 1st 1955 – January 14th 1956 and is printed on the same cardboard as that of the book originally bought by Picasso. Every detail has been captured precisely by lithographic printing methods and Picasso’s own page by page sequence has been respected.

Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 25/10/2016

‘Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred’.                                                                                                                     ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ (1854) by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Today marks the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade which occurred during the battle of Balaclava on the 25th October 1854 during the Crimean War.

Amongst the historical nursing items held in the archives I discovered a small silver medal dedicated to Florence Nightingale who’s tireless work during the Crimean War played a key role in the recovery of the injured soldiers.


nightingale-coin-case                    nightingale-coin-rear

Jonjo Elliott

Object of the Week 12/10/2016

The archives has several wooden and leather cases sitting on the shelves amongst the other items and this week I was attracted one in particular due to its distinct aroma.


Opening the lid reveals a great selection of medical equipment including various metal containers, glass syringes, a string weigh sling and a small bottle of Dettol which still holds a tiny amount of liquid. The aroma comes from two small hand towels, folded neatly and tucked into the corners of the case, which at one time would have been dipped in the disinfectant liquid.


Jonjo Elliott

Object of the Week 05/10/2016

This week I happened to find this beautiful little Kodak Portfolio amongst DMU’s extensive collection of archived photography books . This edition De Luxe is a souvenir of the Eastman Photographic exhibition, held at the New Gallery, Regent Street, London and is dated 1897.


Each page displays a delicate little print made by eminent photographers of the time and illustrates the ‘various classes of subjects which can be effectively exploited by Kodak Photography‘.


Child Portrait,  6cm x 7cm,   J. Craig. Annan:

‘There is no more delightful occupation for the Kodaker than to photograph a charming child. The self-consciousness which so often spoils an otherwise capital model  of more mature years is entirely absent, and the operator has full scope to exercise his skill in reproducing some of the childish graces of his dainty subject’. 

Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 21/09/2016

Leicester Society of Artists and the Mystery of ‘Hans Heinz’. 

The archives at DMU has an extensive collection of old newspaper clippings relating to the University. This week I’ve been exploring the stories amongst the pages of carefully cut out and pasted articles and I discovered a great little mystery about a painting from 1958.


Since 1882 the Leicester Society of Artists have held an exhibition of their work in Leicester and since 1897 they’ve displayed their creations at New Walk Museum, but in 1958 they had an uninvited guest:


The culprits soon came forward, both students from the Leicester College of Art, and exposed themselves as the rogue exhibitionists.


Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 15/09/2016

“Run and fetch me a pumpkin from the garden, six lizards from the water tub and six white mice from the cage.”  Meanwhile she took from the rat trap the largest of two big rats’. 

I’m constantly surprised by the items I discover amongst the shelves of the archives at DMU. Today’s favourite find is this beautiful little ‘Peepshow Book’ of Cinderella.


Untying the ribbons on the side of the book lets the pages unfold in a concertina style creating lovely multi-layered three dimensional scenes of each part of the folk tale.


Each scene features a beautifully romantic illustration, lovingly created by the artist Roland Pym, a famous illustrator, muralist and set designer whose sought after work could be seen worldwide in the 1900’s.                                                                            Jonjo Elliott.


Jonjo Elliott

 Object of the Week 07/09/2016

One of the best aspects of my Frontrunner post with the Archives department is the chance to explore every shelf, box and file of items in the collection.

This week I discovered a beautiful set of prints labelled ‘Miniatures exhibition 1977’. Measuring just 7cm x 4cm the delicate little box contains 72 tiny cards which feature monotone prints of artwork from the exhibition.

catalogue 5

Printed by Coracle Press, London, with assistance from the Arts Council of Great Britain they serve as an intriguing little portable exhibition which could easily be carried around in your pocket.

coin and small cards for blog

Jonjo Elliott.

Object of the Week 05/09/2016

Whilst tidying some of the strong room shelves I came across a collection of fashion plate sketches that had been recently catalogued by one of our helpful volunteers, Janette.

A small but rich collection of ten pencil drawings showing 1930s women’s fashion, all signed “A Posner”. The drawings include a main image and smaller sketches of the clothes from different angles. There are annotations about fabric, trimmings and orders.


IMG_3170 IMG_3171

Unfortunately we do not know anything about Posner except what can be extracted from these images. Before the mid 20th century rise in ready-to-wear clothing, it was common for towns and cities to have a few designers who the paying customer could call upon for their latest wardrobe update.

Object of the Week 26/08/2016

As Steven and I have been prepping for our Medieval Heritage Tour next week we’ve discovered lots of fabulous things about the area and DMU’s recent acquisition ‘The Castle’ which, made from Royal Oak, was once “the grandest hall in all of Europe”.

view of St. Mary De Castro from the Castle Motte

View of St. Mary De Castro from the Motte. This was the site for the original Norman Castle, built in 1068, which would have been accompanied by a surrounding bailey. The building known today as ‘The Castle’ was actually The Great Hall built a bit later in 1150.

A gorgeous day today – let’s hope it’s like this next week when we invite 18 people to accompany us!

Below is an example from the extensive collection of rare books we have on the history of Leicester.

Plan of the Newarke with it's Medieval features still intact.

Plan of the Newarke with it’s Medieval features still intact. Image taken from ‘The Newarke: Its Origin and Associations’ by S. H. Skillington, Leicester Municipal School of Art Press, The Newarke, 1912.

Object of the Week 18/08/2016

Having noticed that this year marks the 190th year since Joseph Nicéphore Niépce created the first permanent image made in a camera, it seemed a good a time as any to show off our latest pop-up exhibition, showcasing the Archive’s Kodak Collection.

Archive Display Cabinet, Kimberlin Library 00.21

Archive Display Cabinet, Kimberlin Library 00.21

Object of the Week 12/08/2016

The Olympics are well under way and Team GB is doing great! To get in the sporting team spirit I thought we should highlight the extensive sport collections we have in the Archive, including the Special Olympics Leicester and the newly acquired England Boxing, among others. Below are two medals commemorating the Olympic Games held in London in 1908.

Olympic medals OOTW1

Two medals commemorating the Olympic Games held in London in 1908. The medal on the right features London Bridge in the background.

Object of the Week, 2/8/2016

Below are images of 2 beautiful artist sketchbooks which arrived in the office this week. One is labelled as an ‘Examinations in Art Evidence of Study’ and dated 1965 with drawings dating from Nov 2nd 1962 – Jan 1965. The name ‘A.Judd’ has been signed on the first page in pencil. The other book has no reference to dates or artist. Both are stunning examples of what an artists sketchbook should look like.                                      Jonjo Elliott.

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Jonjo Elliott

Object of the Week, 26/7/2016

As a DeMontfort University ‘Frontrunner’ I’ve been given a project to create a series of images featuring vintage DMU Campus photographs which are held in the archives and modern photographs taken on my phone. Once I have two corresponding images I combine them through a digital process and together they make a ‘Then and Now’ picture which highlights the changing face of DMU through the decades. Here is a taster of the project below  – full on blog post coming up soon…

Check out the rest of the images via this link   …  Then and Now

Jonjo Elliott.

The Magazine, Law school, best version..jpg no name

Object of the Week, 15/07/2016

Below is a Nelson Mandela’s signature in the University’s Visitors Book that the President signed whilst receiving his Honorary Doctorate of Laws and Companionship of De Montfort University at Buckingham Palace on the 10th of July 1996. Check out the Home page for more on what the Archive holds on Mandela. 

Photo 15-07-2016, 15 42 17

Photo 15-07-2016, 15 41 09

A collection of the University’s Visitor Books are available for viewing in the Archive.

Object of the Week, 08/07/2016

After a colleague came looking for a rare book in Special Collections this week I thought it my duty to share such a beautiful piece of work.

Paper craft

‘The Paper Makers Craft’ (1965) is a collection of verse printed on hand-crafted paper written by former DMU student, Oliver Bayldon, who studied Drawing and Painting here in the late 1950s.

Object of the Week, 1 July 2016

Read all about it Read all about it!

Currently being donated to the Archive are various Newspapers dating from 1910-1917.

2016-07-01 14.41.17

Front cover of the Sunday Pictorial, October 3rd 1915.

Object of the Week, 24 June 2016

2016-06-24 10.18.25

Two and a half metre Halberd, Town Armour Collection from Trinity Hospital, c1645

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In light of today’s news, a post showcasing the Armour and Weapons Collection from the English Civil War (1642-1651) seems appropriate, reminding us of a divided country. Hhhmm revolution!

Object of the Week, 17 June 2016

Slipping Slide 02 

Slipping Slide Frame

‘Performing Acrobats’, an example of one of the Magic Lantern slipping slides from the V&A National Art Slide Collection. c.19th Century. The collection also features a series of comic images, including ‘Feeding Baby’ and ‘Dancing Devil’.

Object of the Week, 03 June 2016

1920 olympics

Gold medal winning middleweight boxer Harry Mallin at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

Object of the Week 27th May 2016

Peter and Wendy

“Come Away, Come Away!” Peter Pan arrives at the nursery window looking for his shadow in this illustration by F. D. Bedford for the 1911 Hodder & Stoughton edition of  J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. A copy of which can be found in the DMU Special Collections Rare Books section.

Object of the Week 20th May 2016

MND programme

Centre page from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1972 programme for A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Peter Brooks. The image is a photograph of Sally Jacob’s model for the set depicting Titania in her fairy queen’s bower. TAP collection.

Object of the Week, 06 May 2016

Arthur Bryan Drawing, Sep. 1905.

Arthur Bryan Drawing, Sep. 1905. Detail of Bay window of a house, St. Peter’s Street, Stamford, Leicestershire.

Work by Arthur Bryan and other alumni from the Leicester School of Architecture is on display at the Heritage Centre based in the Hawthorn Building basement, HA00.34.

Object of the Week, 06 April 2016

Doodles from Dennis Berry notebook

Doodles by Architecture student Dennis Berry.

Object of the Week, 27 January 2016

Parking Permit

Parking permit for Leicester Polytechnic, 1970s. Parking on campus has always been limited, needing much administration and issuing of permits to those with official permission to use a parking space. From file D/037/01/02/003.

Object of the Week, 9 December 2015

pony post

Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology student Pamela Hall acts as a temporary postman over Christmas, with help from her pony Lady Kitty, 1956.

Object of the Week, 02 December 2015


“The Bird of Christmas” from the Ladies’ Pocket Magazine and Gem of Fashion, 1837. The magazine is part of a good selection of women’s journals held in DMU Special Collections Rare Books section.

Object of the Week, 25 November 2015

rugby ball bra 1998 016

Contour Fashion students designed this bra in support of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Appeal. The cups are made from rugby balls signed by the England Rugby Union team. The image above comes from an article in Foursite, the DMU newsletter, June 1998, ref D/030/C/02.

Object of the Week, 18 November 2015

Diary 1951 May and June

May and June from the Leicester College of Art Diary 1951.

Object of the Week, 11 November 2015

roll of honour dead022

To commemorate Remembrance Day 2015, this is the student created Roll of Honour listing students of the Leicester School of Arts and Crafts who were killed during the First World War.

Object of the Week, 4 November 2015

Walter Brand Hawthorn 001

Pencil drawing of the Hawthorn Building in the 1920s, by architect Walter Brand. For more information see our catalogue L/002.

Object of the Week, 28 October 2015

Halloween diary 003

A spooky page in the 1936 Leicester College of Art and Crafts Diary (produced by students). See the catalogue D/025 for information.

Object of the Week, 21 October 2015

 Drainpipe on the Main Building dating to its origin as a Georgian townhouse

Detail of a drainpipe on the Philip Tasker Building, which began life as a Georgian house built for a doctor in what was then considered “the smartest part of town”.

Object of the Week, 14 October 2015


Running from November 2015 till April 2016, the next Heritage Centre exhibitions will consider themes of protest, reform, revolution and political engagement. We have just taken delivery of this Suffragette outfit, complete with sash and banner, which has kindly been loaned to DMU for the exhibition by the Leicestershire Museums Service.

Object of the Week, 7 October 2015

Slipping slides

2017-03-15 13.18.26Slipping slides

To celebrate the National Poetry Day theme of light, these are ‘slipping slides’ or magic lantern slides, photographed illuminated on a light box. The slides include a tab that can be pulled to animate the picture. The image on the bottom, for example, shows the man’s belly swelling as he takes a drink. The slides are part of the National Art Library Slide collection, as yet uncatalogued.

Object of the Week, 30 September 2015

Athletics annual025

The International Centre for Sports History and Culture, part of DMU’s School of Humanities, have recently transferred a large collection of books and journals on sports history to Special Collections. This is an example from the section on athletics, though football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, hockey, baseball, American football, cycling and winter sports are also featured. The collection will be catalogued on the main Library system but until then are available to browse.

Object of the Week, 23 September 2015

WW1 julian gould work

This beautiful portrait was by Julian Gould, a Leicester School of Art student who lost his life during the First World War. The image can be found in the Printing Trade Yearbooks (D/045 Catalogue on Archives Hub).

Julian studied drawing, design and lithography at the Art School around 1907 to 1909, and won a silver medal for his drawing. In 1910 he went to Paris to sketch before returning to the family home in London and working as a graphic designer for a printer.

Julian enlisted out of disgust at the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German U-boat. He became a Private in the 16th Middlesex Regiment, participating in the Battle of the Somme and acting as Company Machine Gunner. He was killed in action on 31 May 1917 at the age of 25. His grave is unknown and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial.

Object of the Week, 16 September 2015

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, c 1970

Students of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Leicester Polytechnic, 1971. From collection D/010.

Object of the Week, 09 September 2015

Detail of donations to the Technical School, 1930, demonstrating the range of subjects taught

Page from the Leicester College of Technology gift book, 1930. The variety of gifts demonstrates the range of subjects taught as well as the close relationship the college enjoyed with local industry.

Object of the Week, 02 September 2015

civil war

Four illustrations commissioned by the Heritage Centre have recently gone on display. These reconstruct the campus site, known as the Newarke, in four key periods: Roman, Medieval, Civil War and Industrial Revolution. Above is a detail from the Civil War illustration, showing Parliamentary forces attacking the Newarke precinct, which was held by the Royalists. The line of the walls follows roughly the site of the modern Mill Lane. The illustrations were done by artist John Cook, an alumni of Leicester Polytechnic who has a keen interest in the history of Leicester. For more of his work see his Flickr site.

Object of the Week, 27 August 2015

Festival of Britain 001

This leaflet advertising the Festival of Britain, 1951, has been selected as Object of the Week by volunteer David Freestone. It comes from a collection of pamphlets and brochures relating to art, design and fashion which David has just catalogued (reference BR).

Object of the Week, 19 August 2015

campus map 1977004

Map of Leicester Polytechnic Campus, 1977

Object of the Week, 12 August 2015

Cartoon from The Tonic, Leicester School of Pharmacy student magasine, 1935

Cartoon from The Tonic, the Leicester School of Pharmacy student magazine, 1935.

Object of the Week, 5 August 2015

Poster for play by Bryony Lavery, 1984

Poster for play “Origin of the Species” by Bryony Lavery, 1984. Lavery is a celebrated playwright and honorary Doctor of Arts at DMU.

Object of the Week, 28 July 2015

concrete poetry 041

Concrete poetry by Ronald Johnson, from the Wild Hawthorn Press of Ian Hamilton-Finlay. From the DMU Art Collection.

Object of the Week, 15 July 2015

business prospectus 1993

Photograph from the School of Business section of the DMU prospectus, 1993.

Object of the Week, 08 July 2015


The Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School and its successors collected a small set of early printed books. These were not needed for the information contained within them, which in most of the volumes does not relate to subjects taught at the Schools. Rather, the objects themselves were of interest – the paper, the typography, the binding and the leather working. These subjects were all taught at the Schools.


The example above is The Great Etymology by Fridericus Sylburgus, published in 1594 in Heidelberg by Hieronymus Commelinus.


You can find out more about the Early Printed Books collection here.

Object of the Week, 1 July 2015

Secret radar training station

Students and staff at DMU’s predecessors, the Colleges of Art and Technology, contributed in various ways to the Second World War. It was only after the war, however, that one of the most exciting contributions was revealed in local press: the role of the College of Technology as a radar training station. Radar was developed by the Allies and kept a close secret from the enemy. A rumour was put about that carrots were responsible for improving the night-time vision of British pilots. See this article for more information.

Object of the Week, 24 June 2015

hugh aston opening

2010 saw the replacement of the 1960s James Went Building with the Hugh Aston Building, named after a sixteenth century composer and choirmaster at the Church of the Annunciation. The opportunity was taken to open up the Magazine Gateway which used to stand in the middle of the dual carriageway. The image is the front cover of DMYou staff magazine, past issues of which are available to consult in the Archive.

Object of the Week, 17 June 2015

Teacher training photo 020

Students of the City of Leicester Training College for Teachers attend a ball, 1958.

The article beneath has not dated well as the author expresses shock at how well these ‘bluestockings’ have managed to dress.

For more information about the Training College collection see the description here: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb3071-d/039

Object of the Week, 10 June 2015

simon de montfort

Illustration of Simon de Montfort by a student, from the 1950 College of Art Diary.

Object of the Week, 03 June 2015

Designs for ceremonial keys featuring the Leicester coat of arms, by Benjamin Fletcher, headmaster

Designs for ceremonial keys by Benjamin Fletcher, Headmaster of the Leicester School of Art, 1900-1920. The keys were meant for the opening of a new building in Leicester and incorporate the city coat of arms into the design.

Object of the Week, 27 May 2015

computing suite in 1991

Computing Suite from the 1991 Leicester Polytechnic prospectus.

Object of the Week, 20 May 2015

Catalogue for Fine Art Degree Show 1990

Leicester Polytechnic Fine Art Degree Show catalogue, 1990.

Object of the Week, 13 May 2015

City of Leicester School of Arts and Crafts courses, 1922 City of Leicester Technical School courses, 1922

Left: City of Leicester School of Arts and Crafts classes

Right: City of Leicester Technical School classes

These extracts from the 1922 prospectuses show the range of subjects offered by the Schools at this date. All of the classes were vocational and many were connected to local industries such as boot and shoe manufacture, textiles manufacture and book printing.

Object of the Week, 06 May 2015

Ephemera from the 2012 Royal Visit

As the nation celebrates the birth of Princess Charlotte, here is a photograph of some of the ephemera kept in the Archive from the visit of HRH The Queen in 2012. The collection includes tablecloths, magazines, menu cards, banners and pennants, sashes worn by staff and students, flags, recordings from the news coverage of the event, and the diamond paperweight issued  to commemorate the visit.





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