Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Behind the name on the door...

Have you ever noticed that each of the study rooms in the Morrell and Fairhurst has a name on the door, and wondered what's behind that name?

Wonder no more, as all is being revealed this week. Each name has been chosen because it represents a place or person, or something with a York or Yorkshire connection.

Acomb doesn’t just refer to an obscure, far-away suburb at the end of the no. 4 bus line…
Acomb Room Sign, photo credit: Paul Shields, University Photographer
Researching for and writing these signs has been a fascinating process, and they show the wealth of resources that we hold here, in Special Collections and the Borthwick Institute for Archives. For instance, did you know that we have one of the original manuscripts of Laurence Sterne’s autobiography? And patient papers for The Retreat hospital, including poems, stories and paintings produced by the inmates?

Title page of the original manuscript of Laurence Sterne's autobiography, 5.36 RBY Col. Reproduced from an original in the Borthwick Institute. Click any image to enlarge.
Art therapy on lawn: Retreat patients sitting painting, RET 1/8/4/3/1, 1950s. Reproduced from an original in the Borthwick Institute

We don’t just have signs on famous figures either - there is information about lesser-known people, such as Catherine Cappe, who was prominent in the Unitarian movement in York.

Next time you’re in one of our study rooms, look up - you never know what you’ll find out.

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