Celebrating Archives: University of Nottingham Manuscripts & Special Collections

10 Jan, 2019

Celebrating Archives: University of Nottingham Manuscripts & Special Collections

Manuscripts & Special Collections at the University of Nottingham has been collecting archives and rare books relating to the East Midlands’ rich heritage for the past eighty years. Our 3 ½  million archive documents and 80,000 books span the 12th to the 21st centuries and documents the lives of many ordinary people who lived in the East Midlands and beyond. We are an Accredited Archive Service and some of our collections are ranked among the most important nationally and internationally.

We have extensive collections including medieval literary works, business archives (especially textiles and lace), hospital records, and the University’s own archive, and recently we have taken in a significant quantity of Nottinghamshire newspapers from the 18th to the 20th century.

Bundle of mortgage deeds relating to the manor of Cawkwell, Lincolnshire; 1675-1707.

Some of the largest collections are those from landed estates. Until the last century, powerful British landowners were involved with the courts, military affairs and politics at both local and national levels. Their estates employed large numbers of people, and had many tenants often mentioned in the papers.

The Archdeaconry Records contain records of couples married by licence in the Archdeaconry of Nottingham between the late 16th to late 19th centuries, as well as papers relating to people brought before the church court for offences of a religious or moral nature (not criminal) such as having illegitimate children or not attending church. Some were non-Conformists, which is a general term for Protestant churches that are not part of the Church of England. A few non-Conformist churches have histories going back as far as the mid-17th century, but many started in the 19th century. We hold the birth, marriage and burial registers for several churches, plus Sunday School registers, temperance pledge books and other church records.

Our Reading Room at King’s Meadow Campus, Nottingham is open to everyone on an appointment basis, and we’re happy to host bespoke group visits for societies and organisations. For people unable to travel to us we offer enquiry and copying services, including a Heritage Digitisation Service for large-scale or commercial orders.

More details about the collections and the catalogues is on the website www.nottingham.ac.uk/mss. Enquiries can be sent to mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk. You can follow us on Twitter @mssUniNott and read our newsletter Discover https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/manuscriptsandspecialcollections/newsletter.aspx


Clare O'Grady