The Wallace Collection Archives

Archives Hub feature for September 2015

In 1897 Lady Wallace died and bequeathed the contents of the ground and first floor of Hertford House, her art-filled London residence, to the nation. This included paintings by Rembrandt, Reynolds and Canaletto, the finest collection of Sèvres porcelain in the world and nearly 2, 500 pieces of arms and armour. These items were collected by the first 4 Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess.

The Wallace Collection Archives consist of papers relating to the founders, records of the Museum’s history and activities, and discrete archive collections relating to our subject specialist areas of French 18th century art, princely arms and armour and the history of collecting.

The Hertford and Wallace family archive paints a picture of the lives of the founders and how their art collection grew over the course of the 19th century. The archive holds a number of inventories revealing the contents of properties owned by the collectors on their deaths; these include objects in the collection today and items which were not included in Lady Wallace’s bequest.

The inventory taken on Sir Richard Wallace’s death in 1890 reveals that Lady Wallace’s bed was ‘a 6ft carved and gilt Parisian bedstead, stuffed head, and footboard covered in blue silk’ costing £200 (over £12,000 in today’s money). We know that Lady Wallace was a fan of Fragonard’s The Swing as it was one of the 15 paintings she chose to adorn her bedroom.

Image of The Swing, 1767.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing, 1767, © The Wallace Collection

The inventory shows that Richard Wallace had 8 horses, with names ranging from the more common Rodney to the clearly art-inspired Rembrandt, and 12 carriages for himself and his wife. Plans in the archive reveal that what were once the stables and coach house are now the arms and armour galleries. A mezzanine level was in place between the ground and first floors, where the stable boys and coachman’s family slept; the stable boys directly above the stables and the coachman’s family in a flat above the coach house.

Image of inventory, 1890
Extract from the 1890 inventory showing the names, ages and values of Sir Richard Wallace’s horses, © The Wallace Collection

Following Lady Wallace’s death a government enquiry determined that the Collection should remain in Hertford House and it was bought for the nation from her heir and former secretary, John Murray Scott. A large amount of building work was required to make Hertford House more suitable to display the Collection. For example, the mezzanine level above the stables was removed to create higher ceilings.

The Wallace Collection opened to the public on June 22 1900. John Murray Scott was appointed the first chairman of the Board of Trustees; he remained chairman until his sudden and dramatic death in 1912. Trustee minutes in the museum archive reveal that: ‘Sir John Scott was taken ill in the Boardroom about 12:30pm on Wednesday 17 January. At the moment of his seizure he was conversing on the history of the collection, and giving the Keeper notes on various objects contained in it. He died little more than an hour later.’

Photo of Underground Railway store at Paddington
The Post Office Underground Railway store at Paddington, © The Wallace Collection

On the outbreak of the First World War the Trustee minutes record that fire extinguishing equipment was purchased in case the Wallace Collection took a direct hit in aircraft raids. In 1916 the Collection was closed due to a lack of staff and in 1917 the decision was taken to evacuate the collection to the Post Office Underground Railway at Paddington – the move was completed in October 1918, one month before the Armistice. Various government departments used Hertford House during the war and it wasn’t until November 1920 that the Collection was able to re-open.

The archive reveals that the Collection was well-prepared for the Second World War, with planning for the possible evacuation of the Collection starting as early as 1933. Meetings were held on a regular basis throughout the mid-1930s and when the Munich Crisis occurred in 1938 the rarest Sèvres and majolica objects in the Collection were packed as a precaution. Priority lists were drawn up and practice drills held so when on August 23 1939 the Home Office gave the word ‘GO!’ to all the national museums and galleries to evacuate, the Wallace Collection was ready.

Photo of storage at Hall Barn
Part of the Collection in storage at Hall Barn during World War II, © The Wallace Collection

In fact they were so prepared that when Sir James Mann, the Director of the Museum at the time, returned from the continent on August 28 he found ‘Hertford House practically empty’. Between August 24 and September 4 the vast majority of the Collection was transported in 28 lorry journeys to Hall Barn and Balls Park. As with most national museums and galleries, the Collection remained outside London for the duration of the Second World War.

Hertford House itself had many lucky escapes during the Blitz; on the night of September 18/19 1940 a high explosive bomb fell in the front garden but did surprisingly little damage. Incendiary bombs fell on the roof in November 1940 and May 1941 but museum staff put the fires out before more than slight damage to the woodwork was caused.

Image of exhibition catalogue, 1942
Artists Aid Russia (1942) exhibition catalogue, signed by Sir Winston Churchill, © The Wallace Collection

Hertford House was not completely empty during the war as it was made available for temporary exhibitions, including the Arts and Crafts (1941) and Artists Aid Russia (1942) exhibitions. Below is a catalogue for the latter exhibition signed by Sir Winston Churchill; it was auctioned for Mrs Churchill’s Aid for Russia fund and presented to the Wallace Collection by Sir Alec Martin in 1942.

Information about most of our collected archives can be found on our Archives Hub contributor’s page, further descriptions including those for the family and museum archives will be added in due course.

Carys Lewis
Archivist & Records Manager




Browse the collections of The Wallace Collection on the Archives Hub.


Early English Ballet and the Royal Academy of Dance

Archives Hub feature for August 2015

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) was founded in 1920, a time when there was a heightened interest in the establishment of a British ballet tradition. As a result, the RAD’s archive collections contain a variety of materials that relate to this period. The following article draws on resources from several of the archives and special collections held in the RAD’s Philip Richardson Library, some of which are also described on the Archives Hub.

Photo of Phyllis Bedells c. 1911.
Phyllis Bedells c. 1911. Rotary Photographic Series.

At the turn of the twentieth century, ballet in Britain existed primarily in Music Halls. Danish-born Adeline Genée was the star of London’s Empire Theatre between 1897 and 1909 and it was here that Phyllis Bedells became the first British ballerina to hold the position of Première Danseuse in 1914. Bedells was also the first to resist the pressure upon English dancers to Russianise their names after the status of ballet began to change in 1911 with the appearance of Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in London, and in 1912 the celebrated Russian dancer Anna Pavlova made London her home. Both Diaghilev and Pavlova employed English dancers disguised with Russian-sounding names such as Alicia Markova (Lillian Marks), Anton Dolin (Pat Kay) and Hilda Butsova (Hilda Boot).

Audiences began to appreciate the artistry of fine performers and the production of great nineteenth-century repertory works alongside new ground-breaking choreography, design and music. By the 1920s strong moves were afoot to establish a British ballet tradition, spearheaded by Philip Richardson – the editor of the Dancing Times magazine. Alongside Adeline Genée, Phyllis Bedells, Tamara Karsavina, Edouard Espinosa and Lucia Cormani, Richardson had co-founded the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain (AOD) in 1920 (later to become the Royal Academy of Dancing – RAD). The AOD set the standard by which ballet should be taught and examined. The next step was to ensure that ballet could provide a viable vocation for dancers and associated artists in this country.

Image of programme for the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain’s First Annual Matinée performance, 1923.
Programme for the Association of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain’s First Annual Matinée performance at the Gaiety Theatre, 8th November 1923.

In November 1923, The AOD presented its first ‘Annual Matinée’ at the Gaiety Theatre, the object of which was to draw attention to the technical capabilities of the Association’s members. The programme included a divertissement by Philip Richardson entitled No English Need Apply, which satirised the prejudice felt to exist against British dancers at the time and the assumed greater success of dancers from the continent.

Established artists such as Phyllis Bedells and Tamara Karsavina presented their own individual programmes of ballet during the 1920s, but it wasn’t until 1926 that bookseller and publisher Cyril Beaumont attempted to establish one of the first British ballet companies. The Cremorne Company – (named after the famous pleasure gardens of the early nineteenth century) – debuted at the New Scala Theatre on March 11 of that year.

Image of Programme of A Grand Matinée devoted to Ballet, Divertissements & Song Scenas, 1926.
Programme of A Grand Matinée devoted to Ballet, Divertissements & Song Scenas, presented by the Cremorne Company on Thursday, March 11th, 1926, at the New Scala Theatre.

Beaumont enlisted the help of ballet teacher Flora Fairbairn and although their repertory was not particularly successful, the cast included Penelope Spencer, Stanley Judson and marked the stage debut of budding choreographer Frederick Ashton.

By this time, both Ninette de Valois and Marie Rambert had established studios in London. The Marie Rambert Dancers, including Frederick Ashton, appeared in a London Revue called Riverside Nights in June 1926 presenting Ashton’s first choreography – A Tragedy of Fashion; or, The Scarlet Scissors. Meanwhile, Ninette de Valois was pursuing her idea of establishing a repertory ballet company at Lilian Baylis’ Old Vic Theatre and was engaged as ballet mistress and choreographer at both the Festival Theatre in Cambridge and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

In July 1929 the AOD presented a ‘Special Matinée’ at the Gaiety Theatre which included an appearance and choreography by Ninette de Valois. Following the performance critic Arnold Haskell wrote to the Dancing Times to express his pleasure at “the dancing of the English girls who have been trained under the principles of the Association, which is rapidly taking the place of a State organisation.” *

Image of Programme for The Camargo Ballet Season at the Savoy Theatre in 1932. The performances were presented in conjunction with the Vic-Wells Ballet and The Ballet Club
Programme for The Camargo Ballet Season at the Savoy Theatre in 1932. The performances were presented in conjunction with the Vic-Wells Ballet and The Ballet Club.

Following the death of Serge Diaghilev in August 1929, the Ballets Russes company disbanded. Philip Richardson, through the Dancing Times, encouraged the founding of a society whose aim would be to produce regular programmes of ballet in London. The ‘Camargo Society’ was formed in January 1930 and the committee included Richardson, Arnold Haskell, Phyllis Bedells, Lydia Lopokova and Edwin Evans as chairman. The first performances were given in October of that year and included choreography by Frederick Ashton, Ninette de Valois and Penelope Spencer. In 1932 the Camargo Society presented a season of ballet at The Savoy Theatre in conjunction with the recently formed Ballet Club and Vic-Wells Ballet, set-up by Marie Rambert and Ninette de Valois respectively. The three companies for a short time shared dancers, choreographers, composers and designers. In 1933, following two Gala performances at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Camargo Society was closed and the remaining profits and repertory works were handed over to the Vic-Wells company, later to become the Royal Ballet.

In 1932, Adeline Genée arranged for an ‘English Ballet Company’ to travel to Denmark to appear at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. The company was made up of members of the AOD and Phyllis Bedells appeared alongside other famous British ballet names such as Alicia Markova, Anton Dolin and Ruth French. Ninette de Valois directed the performances and the programme included repertory from the Camargo Society and the recently formed Vic-Wells ballet company. Although it was not intended to be a permanent company, the ‘English Ballet Company’ was an important step for the promotion of British Ballet on an international level.

Photo of The English Ballet Company in Copenhagen, 1932.
The English Ballet Company in Copenhagen, September 1932. (Ninette de Valois is in centre front with Adeline Genée partially obscured behind her. Phyllis Bedells and Philip Richardson can be seen to the left of Genée).

* Quoted by ‘The Sitter-Out’ in the dancing Times, New Series no. 237, August 1929, p. 418

Eleanor Fitzpatrick
Assistant Library & Research Services Manager
Royal Academy of Dance


Browse the collections of the Royal Academy of Dance on the Archives Hub.

All images copyright the Royal Academy of Dance, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Thomas Baron Pitfield (1903-1999): a visual autobiography

Archives Hub feature for July 2015

Monstrous Monster drawing, 1979
TP1.12 Pen-and-wash drawing of the Monstrous Monster, the Duophonia, and landscapes, 1979

This month’s archive one true love is the Thomas Baron Pitfield Collection at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Pitfield was, to name a handful of epithets, a composer, teacher, poet, artist, engineer, furniture maker, calligrapher and engraver.

He studied and later taught at the Royal Manchester College of Music (RMCM). He is a well-loved composer. However, it is the rest of his creative life that I wish to draw attention to here in this feature. In particular, his sketchbooks.

A bit of context

Pitfield was born 5 April 1903 to a strict Church of England family in Bolton. His parents had him late in life and according to his memoirs he was an unwanted and unplanned for child.

Pitfield was not born into an environment of plentiful inspiration and artistic encouragement. His creative nature was exactly that: his nature. Nurture was not a feature. In his autobiographies he mentions that he was given no means to entertain himself as a child save for his own resourcefulness which he believed fostered innovation in his early years.

Painted minstrel, 1933
TP1.10 Painted minstrel, 1933

By age two he was notably good at drawing and in school his ability to learn music almost instantaneously by ear was remarked upon. Much, he assures us, to the unimpressed pillars of his parents who intended for him to be a joiner like his father. He strove on however, collecting scraps from his father’s workshop and working them into toys and other objects.

At age 14 he was pulled from school and enrolled in an apprenticeship in the millwrights’ department of a local engineering firm, which he despised. It took time away from his creative and musical endeavours which he sneakily developed when everyone else was asleep. He also abhorred the idea that the machines he was helping to maintain could one day severely harm or even kill someone, as the near misses he witnessed assured him could happen.

The artist

“The artist [it is said] should be able to find his inspiration in the objects and life about him. I could never wax poetic about the gasometers and industrial plant.” (Pitfield, A Song After Supper, 1990 p84). And so he haunted the Bolton moors at the weekends bringing sketchbooks with him. “The countryside is the backdrop of most of my creative thoughts.” (ibid 12)

Tree drawing, 1981
TP1.15 Pen-and-wash drawing of a contorted tree, Dunham Park, 1981

Here we witness the birth of his sketchbook obsession. By the end of his life he had filled over 6,000 pages of thoughts, ideas, paintings, music, teachings, prose, poetry and designs. The calls them “a visual autobiography… so that they have become an outline of my life’s activities.”(ibid, p95)

Calligraphy, 1960
TP1.16 Calligraphy swirls, 1960

In his books we see everything that influenced his life for over seven decades. From the many pen-and-wash sketches of churches, woodlands, creatures and characters, to the incredible astuteness of his calligraphy and furniture designs. This stream of creative consciousness follows him through his short time as a student at the RMCM after quitting engineering at 21; working as a teacher of woodwork for the unemployed from 23; his fruitful composition career; his fondly remembered time returning as a teacher to the RMCM and beyond.

Philosophy and themes

Pitfield was a complex mould breaker. He remarks that early on he “began to see that an almost rabid conformity in those about me was no assurance of their sanity.” (Pitfield, No Song, No Supper, 1986, p24) In his life, themes of self-efficiency and great personal motivation permeate, whether it be stepping away from the religious upbringing, becoming vegetarian at a young age, his pacifism or his love of John Ruskin and William Morris.

Dunbleton Church sketch, 1968
TP1.1 Dunbleton Church sketch with Aaron Copeland quote, 1968

Nevertheless Christian iconography is very apparent in his notebooks and sits alongside furniture designs and the wild nature scenes which uproot the carefully penned calligraphy and drafts for lino prints, prose and poetry. The finished artworks crop up elsewhere in the archive but it is in the sketchbooks, the first manifestation for many of his creative outputs, where we find an absolute wonderland of inspiration.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to know more about his wonderful creations then do get in touch:

Heather Roberts
College Archivist
Royal Northern College of Music



The Thomas Pitfield collections on the Archives Hub:

Browse the collections of the Royal Northern College of Music on the Archives Hub.

Artworks copyright: The Pitfield Trust.

Researching 150 years of Salvation Army history

Archives Hub feature for June 2015

As an international Christian Church and charity active in 126 countries, The Salvation Army is a well-known public presence. This year is its 150th anniversary and the occasion will be marked in the first week of July with the Boundless International Congress in London.

In its 150-year history, The Salvation Army has worked in many surprising ways and places. Since hiring its first professional archivist in 2007, The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre has steadily been opening up the organisation’s rich documentary heritage. Its recently catalogued archives provide a window into The Salvation Army’s diverse activities and the ways these have affected lives and shaped histories.

Image of First report of the East London Christian Mission, 1867
First report of the East London Christian Mission, 1867

A series of tent meetings held in East London in August 1865 led to the development of the East London Christian Mission, which became known as The Salvation Army in 1878. The Mission spread quickly outwards from London throughout the UK, and within two years of becoming The Salvation Army it had begun expanding overseas. The organisation had always aimed to bring the gospel to the poor and vulnerable but in the mid-1880s, it started developing new ways of helping struggling and marginalised people materially as well as spiritually through social work.

The international and social dimensions of The Salvation Army’s work are particular strengths of the Heritage Centre’s collections and expertise. This feature highlights just two among many aspects of this work that can be researched in depth using the archives at the Heritage Centre. ‘Criminal Tribe’ settlements in India and early women’s rescue work are now easily accessible subjects thanks to catalogues and other finding aids that have been produced as a priority because of increasing interest from and collaborations with the research community.

India: Denotified Tribes

Image of Criminocurology or The Indian Crim, and what to do with him, Frederick Booth-Tucker, 1911
Criminocurology or The Indian Crim, and what to do with him, Frederick Booth-Tucker, 1911

The Salvation Army describes India as its oldest mission field. Evangelical and social work started in Mumbai in 1882.

An important aspect of The Salvation Army’s work in India in the early to mid-twentieth century was its work with so-called ‘Criminal Tribes’. In 1871 the British Raj enacted the Criminal Tribes Act, which proposed that certain adivasi or ethnic, tribal communities in the Indian sub-continent were ‘habitually criminal’. As a consequence of the Act, Criminal Tribe settlements were established with the intention of altering the behaviour of these communities.

Anglo-Indian Salvation Army officer Frederick Booth-Tucker was a key exponent of developing agricultural and industrial settlements for Criminal Tribes. At first the British Raj did not agree to The Salvation Army’s attempts at rehabilitating Criminal Tribes but by 1908, after years of difficulties in managing settlements, it was willing to utilise missionaries. Within three years The Salvation Army was receiving government subsidies to run 22 settlements with approximately 10,000 residents and further settlements opened later.

Image of ‘Criminal’ tribeswomen attend a Salvation Army Home League meeting at Sahibganj settlement, Uttar Pradesh, c1940s
‘Criminal’ tribeswomen attend a Salvation Army Home League meeting at Sahibganj settlement, Uttar Pradesh, c1940s

The Salvation Army was still running five settlements when the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed by the newly independent Indian government in 1949. In 1952 Criminal Tribes were officially ‘de-notified’, but the impact of the former law is still being felt by communities today.

There has lately been considerable interest in the treatment of Criminal Tribes from a variety of researchers, including the production team of the documentary film Birth 1871: History, the State and the Arts of Denotified Tribes of India, so the Heritage Centre has prepared a guide to relevant records in its collections, now available on the Heritage Centre website. You can also read more about Salvation Army work in India and elsewhere on our blog.

Women’s Rescue Work

Image of cover of The Deliverer
The Deliverer and Record of Salvation Army Rescue Work, January 1891, published monthly 1889-1923 and 1928-1993

A number of highly successful student placements hosted by the Heritage Centre have led to an improved knowledge of The Salvation Army’s early rescue work with ‘fallen’ women, and better access to the relevant records. Each year, the Heritage Centre welcomes a student from UCL’s MA in Archives and Records Management and another from Birkbeck’s MA in Victorian Studies. In recent years, these students have focussed on the records of The Salvation Army’s Women’s Social Services resulting in a full catalogue of the collection and original research using the records.

The research of this year’s Victorian Studies student, Cathy David, has given new insight into the day-to-day running of The Salvation Army’s first rescue home for women, Hanbury Street Refuge, and the teething problems encountered in its earliest days. Cathy has also shown how different sets of our records can be read productively together to expose biases and subtext. Last year, Kate Taylor shed light on the extent to which the experiences of girls taken in by Hanbury Street Refuge influenced WT Stead’s journalistic exposé The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, which led to the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and the raising of the age of consent from 13 to 16 years of age. Their research was greatly aided by the catalogue produced by UCL student Arlinda Azaredo, which we hope to add to our existing descriptions on Archives Hub later in the year. It is already available on our online catalogue.

This year

Exhibition poster: 150 Years of The Salvation Army in Tower Hamlets, June-July 2015
150 Years of The Salvation Army in Tower Hamlets, June-July 2015

The 150th anniversary has afforded a wealth of further opportunities for the Heritage Centre to engage with communities, researchers and the media, improve its range of descriptive resources, and for staff to develop their expertise in a variety of ways. The Heritage Centre’s collections are expected to feature in a number of family history magazines in the coming months, and a two-week exhibition and programme of associated events in Tower Hamlets in early July is the outcome of a collaboration between the Heritage Centre, Stepney Salvation Army Corps and Tower Hamlets Council. The Heritage Centre also supplied images and loaned documents to the Geffrye Museum for the Homes of the Homeless exhibition, on now until 12 July. Subject guides and a blog have been added to our website, and more will appear throughout the year.

The Heritage Centre will be open longer during the Boundless Congress (29 June-6 July), and we look forward to welcoming many new visitors to our museum and archive reading room then. Full details of our extended opening hours are available on our website.

Ruth Macdonald
Archive Assistant, Salvation Army International Heritage Centre


Search for the Salvation Army descriptions on the Archives Hub

All images copyright the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.


Archives of Nostell Priory and the Winn Family

Archives Hub feature for May 2015

Image of Winn Arms, Rowland Winn 1st Baron, 1885
Winn Arms, Rowland Winn 1st Baron, 1885

The collection and cataloguing project

In 2011 the West Yorkshire Archive Service [WYAS] held a public vote in each of its five districts to find out which collection was considered to be the ‘Treasure of the Archives’. The Nostell Priory (Winn Family) collection (finding number WYW1352) easily won this title in the Wakefield district with a massive 40.73% of the votes.

Leading on from this, in 2013, WYAS secured funding for a year cataloguing project from the National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme to fully catalogue and make accessible the archives of Nostell Priory and the Winn family spanning 800 years of history. The project enabled the original catalogue for the collection to be enhanced and brought up to current archival standards, as well as making available previously unlisted and unknown records of the Winn family.

Additional information has been added for some 6000 entries including Civil War tracts from the 17th century and eye-witness accounts and letters relating to the doomed invasion of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.

Records held in the collection include family papers [13th century-1999] and estate papers [1215-1987]. The collection consists of over 544 boxes worth of material. Whether you are looking for your ancestors who worked there, researching the influential Winn family, the estate, the Priory, coalmining or any aspect of local history, there is something for everyone in this wonderful collection!

A brief history of the house and the Winn Family

The Priory of St Oswald at Nostell was founded in the early 12th century out of a pre-existing hermitage that was devoted to St James.

In 1540 the Priory was closed down by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and the buildings and land were granted to Dr Thomas Leigh. The estate passed through a number of owners and was then purchased by Rowland Winn, a London Alderman, in 1654. The Winns were originally from Gwydir in North Wales but had since become textile merchants in London, George Wynne of Gwydir was appointed draper to Elizabeth I. As the family increased its wealth they began acquiring land, which included the estate and manor of Thornton Curtis, Lincolnshire, and the manor of Appleby, Lincolnshire, before the purchase of Nostell in 1654.

By this time sections of the old Priory buildings had been converted into a manor house known as Nostell Hall, and the next three generations of the Winn family would use this house as their principal residence. The house that exists today is a result of the work commissioned by the 4th and 5th Baronets, both called Sir Rowland Winn. Work began in 1729 with Colonel James Moyser, James Paine and then Robert Adam all working on the house. Adam’s work on the interior and exterior of the house continued until 1785, when the 5th Baronet was suddenly killed in a carriage accident and money problems stopped all further work.

Engraving of Nostell Priory
Engraving of Nostell Priory

During his time at Nostell, Adam had brought in the painter Antonio Zucchi, the plasterer Joseph Rose, and the cabinet maker and furniture designer Thomas Chippendale to complete the interiors of the house, and these contributions are widely celebrated today.

After Sir Rowland Winn, 6th Baronet, died unmarried in 1805 the estate passed to his 11 year old nephew John Williamson, who was the son of Sir Rowland’s sister, Esther Winn, and John Williamson, a Manchester Baker. Upon inheriting the estate, John Williamson (junior) and his siblings, changed their names to Winn and we have the grant conferring John Williamson of Nostell Priory with the surname of Winn and coat of arms [see image above]. However the Williamson children did not inherit the Baronetcy, which could only be inherited through the male line in the family, and so it instead passed to Edmund Mark Winn, 7th Baronet, a first cousin. During much of the 6th Baronet’s ownership and the minority of John Winn, the daily management of the estate was left to Shepley Watson, a local solicitor.

After John Winn died in Rome in 1817, his brother Charles Winn inherited the estate. Charles commissioned further work on the furnishing and interiors at Nostell and, as a result of his keen antiquarian and scholarly interests, significantly added to the art, furniture and library collections at the house.

After Charles’ death in 1874, his son Rowland inherited the estate and embarked on further building and refurbishment work at Nostell. Rowland Winn was keenly interested in politics as was his son, Rowland [2nd Lord St Oswald]. The 2nd Lord St Oswald divided his time between Nostell and London and also travelled extensively overseas.

Following his father’s death in 1919, Rowland George Winn, 3rd Lord St Oswald, succeeded to the peerage but did not live at Nostell. During the 1920s and 1930s the house was occupied by other members of the Winn family. The Royal Artillery occupied the house during the Second World War, but the 4th Baron, Rowland Denys Guy Winn, returned to the family home following a distinguished service record in the Second World War and in Korea.

Upon his return he embarked on a political career and then succeeded to the title on his father’s death. He was an active member of the House of Lords throughout the rest of his life.

During the early 1950s the house was opened to the public as a heritage site, and in 1984 Nostell Priory was conveyed to the National Trust in lieu of inheritance tax, largely down to the work of the 4th Baron. Upon his death in 1984, he was succeeded by his younger brother Derek Edmund Anthony Winn, 5th Lord St Oswald, the father of the present Lord St Oswald, Charles Rowland Andrew Winn, 6th Baron Saint Oswald, who in turn took the title on the death of his father in 1999.

How to view the collection

Photo showing Nostell correspondence
Nostell correspondence

The collection is fully listed and information about the records can be found on the WYAS online catalogue at

This information is also due to be available to view on the Hub in the next fews months. Original records can be viewed at the Wakefield office of WYAS , telephone 01924 305980 [appointments are recommended as the material is not held on site]. Opening times and details of where the Wakefield office is located can be found at

Related information on the Archives Hub

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield: browse Wakefield collections

West Yorkshire Archive Service, all districts – Hub contributor information

Jennifer Brierley
ICT and Collections Archivist
West Yorkshire Archive Service

All images copyright the West Yorkshire Archive Service, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Capturing the Energy – Oil and Gas Archive at Aberdeen University

Archives Hub feature for April 2015

The University of Aberdeen’s Special Collections Centre has a growing collection of archives relating to the UK offshore oil and gas industry, which has been centred in Aberdeen since the 1960s. The Capturing the Energy project, based at the University, is working with companies and organisations across the industry to ensure that historical records find their way to the archive to preserve a record of one of modern Britain’s most significant industries.


One of the Oil & Gas Archive’s key collections is the Frigg UK archive, which was deposited by the operating company Total as part of a documentation project between 2006 and 2008.

The Frigg field was the world’s largest and deepest offshore gas field when it was discovered in 1971, straddling the international boundary between the Norwegian and British sectors of the North Sea. British and Norwegian companies involved agreed to develop and manage the field as a single entity operated by Total E&P Norge in Stavanger, Norway.

Drawing of the MCP-01 platform
A general arrangement drawing of the MCP-01 platform, early 1980s.

At its peak, 1800 men were working on the construction of five installations in the Frigg Field. There were two drilling and treatment platforms on the Norwegian side and three on the British side of the border: an accommodation platform for 120 people, plus additional treatment and drilling platforms. Bridges connected three of the platforms, crossing over the international boundary line.

An additional platform in the UK sector, MCP-01, formed part of the Frigg Transportation System (FTS) which transported gas from the field to the St Fergus terminal in Scotland. The FTS is formed of two 230 mile long pipelines, laid between 1974 and 1977, and MCP-01 switched gas between the two pipelines, compressed the gas entering the pipelines and was also used for the inspection and maintenance of the pipelines.


Aerial photograph of platforms
Aerial photograph of platforms in the Frigg Field, circa late 1970s.

The documentation project was run by the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, in partnership with the Stavanger Regional Archives and the University of Aberdeen who both took in archive material relating to Frigg. The University collected material relating to MCP-01, the Frigg Transportation System and the St Fergus terminal.

The Frigg UK collection contains over 1,500 individual items, including engineering drawings, technical manuals, operational records, staff magazines, photographs, and film and video footage. Oral history recordings provide a uniquely personal view of how the arrival of North Sea gas shaped people’s lives. There are runs of engineering, administrative and publicity records, showing the development of technology and changes in corporate policy.

Significance of Frigg

 Map showing MCP-01

Location map showing MCP-01 and the Frigg Field.

At its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Frigg supplied Britain with a third of its gas requirements, contributing to Britain being self-sufficient in energy for a time. More widely, the industry as a whole generated many jobs across the UK and in Aberdeen City and Shire in particular: in 2012 the offshore oil and gas industry was estimated to provide employment for 440,000 people across the whole country. The construction, development and operation of the Frigg platforms, FTS and St Fergus provided employment for many people locally in Aberdeenshire and across the UK and Norway. In the early 1980s MCP-01 also housed the first women to work on a British installation in the North Sea.

Radio tower
MCP-01’s radio tower at sunset, 1986.

Frigg’s position in the northern North Sea between the Norwegian and British sectors, and the depth of the field meant that many technological innovations and a landmark international agreement, the 1976 Frigg Treaty, were needed to develop the field. World records for speed and depth were set with the construction and installation of the FTS pipelines. As the first international field to be exploited in Europe, Frigg became the model on which later collaborative agreements and operations were based.
Although the platforms on the Frigg field have now been decommissioned and removed, the Frigg pipelines continue to be used to transport gas from other fields to St Fergus, which continues to supply around 20% of the UK’s energy requirements.

The field is also the first example of a documentation project for the UK sector of the North Sea, and Capturing the Energy hope to employ a similar methodology to capture important records about other significant fields in the industry’s history.

Frigg on the Archives Hub

The collection description is available on the Archives Hub and is also available on the University of Aberdeen’s own catalogue.

More information about the Frigg project and Capturing the Energy are available on the respective project websites: and, and you can get further details about the University of Aberdeen’s oil and gas collections in this factsheet:

Katy Johnson
Project Development Officer, Capturing the Energy

All images copyright the University of Aberdeen, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Continuity of Care – The Royal Scottish National Hospital

Archives Hub feature for March 2015

The Wellcome Trust is currently funding a project to catalogue and conserve the records of the Royal Scottish National Hospital (RSNH), Larbert. The historical importance of the collection was recognized by its inclusion in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in 2013.

The foundation of the Institution

Photo of the the Scottish National Institution c1910
The Scottish National Institution c1910

The background to the Institution’s revolutionary approach lies in its reaction to the prevailing social attitudes of the time. Prior to the Mental Deficiency Act 1913, there was no distinction made between mental illness and mental impairment. If children with learning disabilities could not be looked after by their families the alternatives were the poorhouse or an adult lunatic asylum.

The concern generated by this situation resulted in the foundation of the Society for the Education of Imbecile Youth in Scotland in 1859. The Society supported a small school in Edinburgh but it became clear that in order fully to realise their vision, they needed their own premises. In Edinburgh, according to the first annual report, any negotiations with landlords ended as soon as the purpose of the proposed Institution was known. They had to look outside the city and land in Larbert, with its excellent rail links, was chosen.

Initially the children were admitted on a fee-paying basis. For those whose families could not afford the fee the Institution paid, following the election of suitable applicants by donors to the Society.

Applications for admission

Image of Application for admission, 1865
Application for admission, 1865

This election process created one of the most important parts of the collection: the applications. Around 3000 of these have survived dating from 1865 to the 1940s. Most early applications include a form titled ‘Queries to be answered by Parent or other near Relative personally acquainted with Case, applying for admission’. This form asks for information on the family’s circumstances as well as the child’s health, behaviour and educational abilities.

Usually accompanying the form is a medical certificate signed by a local doctor which classifies the child’s abilities as Class 1 – very hopeful; Class 2 – hopeful; Class 3 – less so; and Class 4 – subject to severe and frequent fits. To ensure the success of its chosen applicants, the Institution makes it clear on this second form that ‘cases of insanity, of confirmed epilepsy, of the deaf and dumb, and of the blind are ineligible for admission except upon payment’.

Electioneering was expected and applicants were often direct in their approach. One letter asks for a list of subscribers so they could be asked for their votes. Another indicates how large a donation could be expected from the locality on the election of the desired candidate. Lobbying on behalf of applicants became such as nuisance that as early as 1864 the Directors voted to ban the use of cards in canvassing as ‘expensive to the parents and an annoyance to the subscribers’.

Many of the applications include correspondence. One early application was for a boy from Saltcoats called Charles McLarty. According to his form he was admitted in 1881 at the age of 15. But the application includes four letters written between 1927 and 1933 presumably from a relative, asking about his health and sending him sweets. At the age of 67 Charlie was still at the Institution.

This issue of adults in what was ostensibly a children’s Institution exercised the Commissioners in Lunacy during their twice-yearly inspections. One wrote in 1876 ‘[it] is no longer as to the detention of one or two exceptional cases, but it applies to a third or more of the inmates’. They requested that the situation be regularised with orders of the sheriff and a paid licence. But given the lack of any suitable Institution to discharge them to, many were kept on as servants in the Institution or were simply paid boarders. It was only with the opening of the Industrial Colony for Adults in 1935 that the Larbert Institution could officially be said to provide all-life care.

Photo of the new Industrial Colony, 1935
The new Industrial Colony, 1935

Life in the Institution

There is ample evidence that the children were treated with kindness. Even in a source as potentially dry as the cash book there are entries devoted to payments for travelling musicians, toys for children and bonnets for boys.

Image: In the schoolroom, c1915
In the schoolroom, c1915

Three and a half hours of schooling were given each day in the early years of the Institution but even training was seen as pleasurable: ‘kindly instructors and happy children’ as one inspector described the workshops in 1927. And there were plenty of leisure activities provided. Picnics were popular as were the introduction of ‘talkies’ in 1936. These were described in the minutes: ‘no innovation has given greater pleasure than this either in anticipation, realisation or retrospect’.

It is easier to understand the medical superintendent’s bewilderment in 1920 when faced with three runaways from the Institution in the one month. One boy had only been in the Institution a week ‘and was home-sick for a garret in a horrible slum in Glasgow…[with] no furniture’.

Image: Picnic in the grounds, c1937
Picnic in the grounds, c1937

The RSNH on the Archives Hub

The collection description is already available on the Archives Hub. The rest of the collection will be added when the project ends in July this year. It will also be available on the University of Stirling’s own catalogue:

Other highlights of the collection include admissions registers (1863-19880, minute books (1863-1969), annual reports (1862-1948) and correspondence (1881-1965).

University of Stirling collections on the Archives Hub

The university’s collections are as diverse as would be expected but are particularly strong in the areas of film-making, politics, literature and sport. Highlights of the collections on the Archives Hub include Lindsay Anderson (1923-1994) film director; James Hogg (1770-1835) poet and novelist; and the extensive collection of political papers, pamphlets and newspapers of William Tait (1889-1941) socialist labour politician.

Alison Scott, Project Archivist
University of Stirling

All images copyright the University of Stirling, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Exhibitions at the Shakespeare Institute: seeing beyond the book shelves

Archives Hub feature for February 2015

Image of poster for 2014 exhibition: Birth in Shakespeare's time
Poster for 2014 exhibition: Birth in Shakespeare’s time (to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth)

The Shakespeare Institute Library holds monthly exhibitions which bring out lesser known aspects of our collections and especially our archive holdings.

Image of poster for 2014 exhibition: Where are we now?
Poster for 2014 exhibition: Where are we now? (Showcasing alumni careers)

These exhibitions were designed as a way to inform our users, predominantly our student body, of the breadth and depth of our holdings. As they have developed they have also enabled us to connect with the students and our local community in other ways: highlighting the careers and output of alumni of the Institute, promoting other collections in the local area, tying in with events and conferences, etc.

All library staff get involved in the researching, formatting, publicising and mounting of exhibitions so, as well as informing our users our staff get an excellent chance for learning more about the contents of the library and to work on areas of professional development – which, of course, can only benefit out users. The enthusiasm of the staff for the exhibitions has helped developed an exciting programme themes which we programme for the year. Work on these is scheduled so that there is a clear picture of when other collections need to be approached. As one is launched the work on the next begins.

Photo of exhibition on Henry V
Exhibition on Henry V (1913) commemorating the boys of King Edward VI School killed in WW1

These exhibitions have also given us the opportunity to collaborate with neighbouring collections. In November 2014 we held an exhibition on the boys of a King Edward VI School (Stratford-upon-Avon) who died in the First World War and performed in a production of Henry V in 1913, directed by Frank Benson.

Image of poster for 2014 exhibition: Shakespeare's Composers
Poster for 2014 exhibition: Shakespeare’s Composers

We’ve also worked extensively with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Library of Birmingham, most recently on an exhibition on Shakespeare’s Composers for which we displayed a manuscript of Vaughan Williams incidental music to the afore mentioned Henry V (1913) and a manuscript of Granville Bantock’s music for a production of Macbeth performed at the Prince’s Theatre, London, 1926.

We also utilise the knowledge of our academic staff in order to develop exhibition ideas, themes and to check over content. When tied in to our curriculum, conference and symposia themes the exhibitions have also proved an ideal way of encouraging students to look beyond the reading list. By highlighting areas of direct relevance they also encourage visiting academics and students into the Library when they are attending events at the Institute. Our library users have really appreciated the opportunity to see beyond the book shelves.

Blogging about the exhibitions has also helped to market our library beyond the University.

Image of poster for 2014 exhibition: Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 (Old Vic, 1945)
Poster for 2014 exhibition: Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 (Old Vic, 1945)

In January 2015 as student came from America to consult the collections at the Shakespeare Institute, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and King Edward’s School after reading about the KES Henry V exhibition online. Now he has had access to the archives for this production he’s started writing a play as well as his MA dissertation. SIL blog address:

Our programme of exhibitions is going from strength-to-strength and their success has been acknowledged by our department in Library Services with the funding of high quality display boards and a glass cabinet in order to facilitate more ambitious projects. This year we look forward to showing off our resources on some fascinating themes, including: Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare, Elizabethan Printing, Comic Book Shakespeare and Shakespeare and the Actor. We hope that they’ll continue to be informative and inspiring to our users!

Karin Brown, Shakespeare Institute Librarian

Shakespeare Institute Library:

Shakespeare Institute:


Browse the collections of The Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) on the Archives Hub:

Image of poster for 2014 exhibition: Foakes and Hawkes
Poster for 2014 exhibition: Foakes and Hawkes

All images copyright Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

2014 Features Showcase

Archives Hub feature for January 2015

Woolwich advert, 1945
Woolwich Equitable Building Society advert, 1945

This month, January 2015, we’re showcasing our features from 2014, with themes including banking, dance, war, peace and educational reform.

Barclays Group Archives

Founded in 1690 by two goldsmith bankers, Barclays PLC now has customers in over 50 countries:

Be my Valentine

Photo of Barbara Cartland, 1925
© Image is in the public domain: Barbara Cartland, 1925 Barbara Cartland, 1925

Love letters, cards and poetry, together with less directly connected ‘Valentines’ descriptions!:

A European Journey: The Archives Portal Europe

The Archives Hub is the UK ‘Country Manager’ for the Archives Portal Europe, a European aggregator for archives:

250 and counting!

More than 250 UK institutions and organisations now contribute to the Archives Hub! A look at some of our most recent contributors:

A Spring in Your Step

Image of couple dancing, 1900s.
Lecon de Cake-Walk, 1900s. Image in Public domain

Collections relating to dancers, choreographers and teachers, schools and companies, ballet, contemporary and other styles of dance:

Exploring British Design: An Introduction

The Archives Hub has joined forces with The University of Brighton Design Archives for an exciting new project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council:

The Anti-Apartheid Movement

Image of Free Nelson Mandela rally poster
Free Nelson Mandela rally poster (1980), AAM Archives, ref: po059.

Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford:

Swords into Ploughshares

The cataloguing of two peace organisations’ archives at LSE, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Fellowship of Reconciliation: London Union:

Kettle’s Yard Archive

Image of Jim Ede
Jim Ede at Kettle’s Yard – Kettle’s Yard, 
University of Cambridge

Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, much more than a house, a museum or a gallery:

Engineering and innovation during the First World War

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers archives on how the war sparked a technological battle for the best weapons, infrastructure and defences, and what this meant for engineering:

James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth – pioneering educational reformer

Photograph of Elizabeth Gaskell
Elizabeth Gaskell, c. 1864. Photograph by Alexander McGlashon

Archivists at The University of Manchester Library recently catalogued the papers of celebrated Victorian educationist Sir James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth (1804-1877), relating to his career, family ties and literary circles:



The Twelve Days of Christmas – archives style!

Our feature is (loosely!) based on the traditional folk melody ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Collections highlighted include those of the drummer Max Abrams, the Swan Land and Cattle Company, Hen Gapel, Llanbryn-mair Chapel Records (one of the oldest and most famous chapels in Wales) and the singer David Cassidy:

The Twelve Days of Christmas – archives style!

Archives Hub feature for December 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas song poster
“The Twelve Days of Christmas song poster” by Xavier Romero-Frias is
licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

There are several versions of the traditional folk melody The Twelve Days of Christmas ( This feature is based on the 1909 publication by English composer Frederic Austin.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

Twelve drummers drumming

Max Abrams Collection, 1920s-1992. Max Abrams was a drummer, teacher of drums and author of drum tutors. He kept detailed diaries between 1943 and 1992, which document his performance career and information about his pupils, as well as personal information. He wrote around 50 jazz tutor books.

Logo for Seven Stories
Logo for Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books

‘The Little Drummer Boy’ greetings card, c. 1968-1999. An illustration of the well-known carol, the card is part of a collection of publications, prints and original artwork by the illustrators, twins Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. The Johnston Memorial Collection is held by Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books.

Beat The Retreat On Thy Drum (Sam, Sam, Beat the Retreat!), 1932.
Printed score of a musical monologue performed by Stanley Holloway, part
of the Stanley Holloway Archive held by the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Stanley Holloway (1890-1982) made over 50 films, but he loved performing in the theatre and the comic monologues, for which he was so well known.

Eleven pipers piping

Papers of John and Myfanwy Piper, 1882-1990s. John Piper (1903-1992) was a major figure in modern British art. He was a painter in oils and water colour, designed stained glass, ceramics and for the stage, made prints and devised ingenious firework displays. In addition to this he was also a gifted photographer of buildings and landscapes. Piper also wrote poetry, art criticism and several guidebooks on landscape and architecture.

W.T. Piper papers, 1914-1919. W.T. Piper was a Private, 5th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, serving in India.

Ten lords a-leaping

Papers of Horatio Nelson, Viscount and First Admiral, 1758-1805. Held by Glasgow University Library, Special Collections Department, comprising correspondence concerning the promotion of Lieutenant Scott of Monmouth.

Manuscript of speeches made by Lord Crewe, Lord Lansdowne, and Lord Loreburn in the Library of the House of Lords, 1908. The speeches were made on Monday, 27th July, 1908, on the occasion of the presentation to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Loreburn, of his portrait painted by Sir George Reid.

Transcription of Thomas Hope, Major Practicks, c. 1670. Sir Thomas Hope (1573-1646) of Craighall, advocate and politician. He was solicitor to the Church of Scotland, became a very successful advocate, then worked for Charles I and was appointed Lord Advocate in 1626 and admitted to the Scottish privy council 2 years later.

Nine ladies dancing

Photograph of ballet dancer, Anthony Crickmay Dance Photographs, © V&A Department of Theatre and Performance.
Anthony Crickmay Dance Photographs (THM/20), © V&A Department of Theatre and Performance, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Collection of material relating to Anna Pavlova, 1875-1965. Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) was the most celebrated ballerina of her generation. The collection includes accessories originally worn by Pavlova in performance, scrapbooks containing many assorted press and illustrated magazine cuttings featuring Pavlova and sepia prints of Pavlova at a young age.

Adeline Genée Archive Collection, c. 1890-1970. Danish by birth, Adeline Genée (1878-1970), was a talented ballerina and the founder president of the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain (later the Royal Academy of Dance).

Marie Rambert Collection, 1890s-1980s. Collection of films, costumes, photographs, correspondence, diaries, programmes, press cuttings, personal papers, autobiographical notes, awards and medals owned and collected by Dame Marie Rambert throughout her life as well as papers relating to her death and memorials.

Eight maids a-milking

M. Russell-Fergusson papers, 1914-1990. M. Russell-Fergusson, Women’s National Land Service Corps, served as a milk maid in Norfolk from Aug. 1917 and later in Leicestershire and at the Royal Dairy Farm, Windsor.

Photograph of Audree Howard as the Milkmaid in ‘Facade’, 1930s. Part of a small collection relating to the artist Paul Nash at the Tate Gallery Archive.

Seven swans a-swimming

Logo: University of Leeds
Logo: University of Leeds (Leeds University Library Special Collections)

Books about Russia written by members of the Swan/Swann family, 1968-1989. The Swan/Swann family were members of the British community in pre-revolutionary Russia. Material held by Leeds University Library.

Papers of and relating to Annie S. Swan, c. 1900-1946. Annie Shepherd Swan, daughter of Edward Swan, farmer and potato merchant, was born in Mountskip, near Edinburgh in 1859. She married James Burnett Smith in 1883, and in the early years of their marriage her writing supported him through medical school.

Swan Land and Cattle Company, 1883-1947. The collection is composed of reminiscences of the Swan Land and Cattle Company. The home ranch of the Swan Land and Cattle Company was sited at Chugwater, Wyoming. Its corporate headquarters were in Cheyenne. This large corporate cattle company, with between 50,000 and 80,000 livestock, at one time controlled an area of land greater than the size of the State of Connecticut.

Six geese a-laying

‘Taking a gander’. Article concerning the geese at the University, 1966. Part of the Lady Violet Deramore Collection (1881-2005) held by the Borthwick Institute, University of York.

As it’s pantomime season (oh no it’s not! Oh yes it is!), we also have:

Cuttings about Mother Goose pantomime, 1951. These records form part of the Unity Theatre, theatre company collection held by V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Unity Theatre was founded in 1936 by a general meeting of the Rebel Players and Red Radio, left-wing theatre groups derived from the Workers’ Theatre Movement.

Five gold rings

Small printed notice “Unique and hitherto unknown variety of the Gold Ring Money of Ireland in the form of an Ear Ornament”, 1840s. Held by Chetham’s Library, this item forms part of the The Correspondence of John Bell, Antiquary and Land Surveyor, Gateshead, Newcastle Collection.

The rings may in fact refer to ringed-necked pheasants:

Pictorial tapestry rug featuring a pheasant, 1888.
Tapestry rug of worsted yarn and jute in acid colours featuring a pheasant in a floral landscape. Part of the Stoddard-Templeton Carpet and Textile Collection (c. 1840s-1960s). James Templeton and Co. was established in 1843, making Chenille, Axminster, Wilton and Brussels carpets. It employed artists of international calibre such as Charles Voysey, Walter Crane and Frank Brangwyn, with their carpets used in Coronations and in liners such as the Titanic. The collection is held by The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections Centre.

Four calling birds

This could be song birds, such as Canaries, or may be ‘colly’ or black birds:

Descriptions of the Canary Islands and of the Azores, c. 1610.
The manuscript consists of two works, bound together. The first is a description of the Canary Islands, detailing the history, religion and laws of the natives, called the Guanches, as well as observations on the geography and fauna of the islands. The second work is a compilation from other works describing the Azores.The existence of the Canary Islands, a chain of seven islands off the northwest coast of Africa, was known to the Romans and later the Arabs, and European navigators reached the islands in the 13th century. The Azores, an archipelago in the Mid-Atlantic, were discovered in 1427 by the Portuguese and their colonisation by them began in 1432.

Image: Transport for London Metropolitan Line
Image: TfL Metropolitan Line, Transport for London Corporate Archives.

Briefing on Canary Wharf Station, 1989.
Paper concerning delays and changes in the redesign of Canary Wharf Station. Subjects include construction and negotiations, unresolved issues and financial risk. Part of a series of minutes of meetings belonging to the Transport for London Group Archive.

Production contracts for ‘Study from ‘Blackbird”, 2002. Part of the Rambert Dance Company Archive: Productions collection (1920s – 2010s), the folder includes choreographer contracts, production budget and correspondence concerning casting travel and rehearsals.

Three French hens

‘The Little White Hen’, 1989-2003.
Material relating to ‘The Little White Hen’, written by Philippa Pearce and illustrated by Gillian McClure (Scholastic, 1996). The series includes a dummy book; preliminary artwork; four pieces of finished artwork; a small amount of correspondence from Philippa Pearce, with some reviews of the book; and a copy of the first edition of the book.

Hen Gapel, Llanbryn-mair Chapel Records, 1898-1932.
Hen Gapel (Old Chapel) in Llanbryn-mair, Montgomeryshire is one of the oldest and most famous chapels in Wales. As far back as 1635 the Rev Walter Craddoc had a small congregation in Llanbryn-mair. Initially, the cause had no home and meetings were held in houses or in a nearby forest. In 1739 a chapel was built (then re-built in 1821).

Two turtle doves

Ms transcript of song, ‘The Turtle Dove’. 2 leaves belonging to a series of ms and ts transcripts of songs and ballads (1925 to 1965) by the poet and author Robert Graves (1895-1985). The papers are held at St John’s College, Oxford.

Records for the Dove Brothers Ltd, builders, 1850-1970.
Dove Brothers Ltd was a prominent construction company based in Islington from 1781 to 1993 which worked with most of the major architects of the late 19th to 20th century. The company was founded by William Spencer Dove (1793-1869). His sons formed the Dove Brothers partnership in 1852.

And a partridge in a pear tree!

David Cassidy Collection, 1972-1976. The Amercian singer David Cassidy was best known for the musical sitcom The Partridge Family.

Image of title page from "The 12 days of Christmas", 1780
Title page from the first known publication of “The 12 days of Christmas” in 1780.
Image in the public domain.

Bernard Partridge Drawings Collection, 1861-1905. Bernard Partridge (1861-1945) was a painter and illustrator who became the principal cartoonist of Punch magazine.

Artworks by James Joshua Guthrie and relating to the Pear Tree Press, 1897-1930s. Designs and illustrations, along with other book illustration work and bookplates for the Pear Tree Press.

Trustees of W S Brown – proposed purchase of Deep Mines under Pear Tree House, Tyldesley. 1905. 2 items of correspondence, maintained by the trustees of the Bridgewater estate Ltd.

Related information

Birds of the Twelve Days of Christmas, 10,000 Birds blog post, 2013: