Our current exhibition showcases some of the fascinating and eclectic scrapbooks held by Special Collections.
Scrapbooking as a hobby has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years but its roots date back hundreds of years.
As early as the 15th century, people used commonplace books as a means of compiling information such as recipes, quotations, letters and poems.
In the 16th century, friendship albums became popular. They resemble modern day yearbooks, where friends or patrons would note their name, title and short texts or illustrations. Later on scrapbooks were often created as souvenirs of European tours and would contain local memorabilia and coloured plates to record aspects of a noteworthy journey or experience.
In the 19th century, printed material such as newspapers, visiting cards and pamphlets became more widely available and often became the primary components of people’s scrapbooks. Scrapbooks were often thematic, focusing perhaps on recipes or particular topics or current affairs.
The exhibition includes scrapbooks created as a record of personal experience, such as Joe Orton's compilation of cuttings and collages documenting his first play Entertaining Mr Sloane. It also features examples that reflect their creator's hobbies and interests, including the above Victorian compilation of prints, postcards and illustrations. Others record specific historical events, including an impressive collection of cuttings, letters and photographs recording the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1907.
The exhibition runs from 3 October 2016 until 29 January 2017 in the basement of the David Wilson Library, and may be viewed from Monday to Saturday between 9.30am and 5pm and on Sunday between 12.30pm and 5.30pm on Sunday. Entry to the Library is free but security controlled. Ask for admission to the Special Collections exhibition at reception.