Friday, 18 September 2015

Treasures on display: York University Open Day displays, 19th and 21st September

Saturday 19th and Monday 21st September will see us undertake one of our yearly highlights - the annual University Open Day. Aimed primarily at students thinking of applying to study here in the near future, Open Day provides us with an opportunity to show off some of the fantastic archives we hold on site - so, we thought we’d give you a bit of a taster of what we have on show for the 2015 Open Days!

We’ve got Archbishops’ Register 10A - the entries on this page date from the period of the Archbishop William Zouche and the Black Death (May 1349, in this case). Each entry records the ordination of a new applicant to various levels of the clergy (Deacons and Subdeacons, in this case). Each individual is replacing another member of the clergy - at the time, almost certainly victims of the plague, clergy being the front line of support for sufferers in pastoral comfort, taking confessions, and preparing them for the afterlife.

The University of York was established in 1963 - but efforts to get a University established date back much further. Here’s a copy of a 1647 petition campaigning for the establishment of a University in York, stating that without a place of learning, ‘the blind lead the blind, and both shall fall into the ditch”

Great estates - such as that of the Halifax family - created great appetites. Here we have an example of an 18th century recipe book from our Halifax Archive. Anyone for pickled mushrooms and pigeon?

Tales of nautical derring-do abound in this log book of Admiral Robert Fairfax (1665-1725). Latterly MP and Lord Mayor for York, the entries here document his time aboard the Cornwall  between the 19-21 September 1697. Sadly, it seems the weather off Cork harbour wasn’t particularly clement, Fairfax noting the drizzly rain, strong winds, bad gales and generally stormy weather.

Bringing us into the 20th century, the records of the first Earl Halifax are a fantastic resource for students of modern political history. On display, we have the notes of conversations between Lord Halifax and Adolf Hitler in 1937. The passage here presages many later developments in the war and are a fascinating record of a conversation - in tone, firm and assured - between two political heavyweights on the eve of War.  

This is just a small sample of what we have on offer - we also have medical case books, items from the Sir Alan Ayckbourn archive, Wills, Rowntree’s advertising material and records relating to 18th century slavery. In addition, we’ll display some great items from Special Collections - including a rare record of fire in York Minster in 1829 (along with some salvaged wood from the timbers made into something quite special)

The documents will be on display between 12pm-2pm on Saturday 19th and Monday 21st September in the Yorkshire Room, located in the Raymond Burton Library. Staff will also be on hand to advise you too. And, although the day will be aimed at prospective students, everyone is more than welcome to pop in and say hello - and don’t forget, our Microfilm Room will be open until 10pm as usual on both days.