Happy 137th Birthday Mr Shepard!

98 years ago today – 10th December 1918 – on his birthday and whilst stationed in Italy at the end of WWI, we know that E. H. Shepard spent time with American writer Ernest Hemingway. Shepard’s letters and manuscripts reveal that he met a young Hemingway, aged only 19, in Italy in 1918. Initially he met […]

The extraordinary Rudolf Laban and his hidden animals

One of the most prestigious, diverse and frequently consulted archives held by Archives & Special Collections is that of Rudolf Laban, now considered the 20th Century’s foremost movement theorist. Laban had a huge impact on not only dance, which he is best known for, but movement theory more generally with aspects of his approaches adapted and […]

A Year of Discovery in Archives & Special Collections

Looking back, we’ve had a busy year of it, this last year! Here are some of our highlights.

We’re well underway with our first project to catalogue the University photograph collection (yes, I said first – this collection is rather large!). Already we are feeling the benefits of understanding this collection more fully and we will start releasing the catalogue records in the New Year. Watch this space for more information!


We’ve also been lucky that one of volunteers is an alumna of the Battersea Polytechnic hotel and catering course and has been identifying the various types of silverware which were in use in our training restaurant. So now we know that this is a Guerdion lamp which was used for cooking Steak Diane and Crêpes Suzettes at the table.

Nor have we been neglecting our dance archives. This year we have had a cataloguing archivist working on the Warren Lamb Archive.  Starting with the Industrial Rhythm work carried out by Rudolf Laban which looked at factory workers’ movements, Warren Lamb took this approach into the corporate world where it was used to support recruitment and management consulting. With more work on this collection scheduled for the New Year, we hope to have the material ready for researchers by the summer.

Our collections have also been out and about. Over the course of the year, the E H Shepard archive has been much in demand, going…

… up the hill to Guildford Cathedral for their children’s literature day

… over the A3 to the Vet School for the Too Cute to Kill research seminar

…and up to London for the Shepard’s War exhibition at the House of Illustration


Closer to home in our Research Room, our programme of displays has had us seeking out animals in the archives in celebration of International Animal Rights Day and World Conservation Day; thinking about our sporting heritage; and commemorating the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. And Ivy Arts Centre has been home to exhibitions about Geraldine Stephenson and Yolande Snaith to complement dance workshops, performances and research events.  Archives Team at the Battersea ShowcaseAnd the highlight of our year was the Museum Exhibition we created at the Battersea Showcase to celebrate our history as Battersea Polytechnic alongside our alumni.

And our collections are ever increasing and diversifying. This year we were proud to establish the Nursing Ethics Heritage Collection in conjunction with our colleagues at the International Care Ethics Observatory and founding donor Professor Marsha Fowler. Currently amounting to just under 3 linear metres of books from the 19th century through to today, we expect this collection to expand rapidly with donations arriving regularly.

And with the new team on board, we are looking forward to the next twelve months being even busier!

Explore Your Archive: “Explorers” in our Archives…

As Public Services Archivist, I get to meet a whole host of different researchers, visitors and students in a busy, creative environment. A major part of my role is administering the Research Room and making sure our visitors are able to access our collections. So who exactly does visit, and “explore” the University of Surrey […]

Explore Your Archive 19th-27th November 2016

Explore your Archive (which runs 19th-27th November 2016) is a national campaign delivered by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association to promote, publicise and celebrate archives and special collections across the UK. (http://www.exploreyourarchive.org/ ) As part of the Explore your Archive week, the University of Surrey Archives & Special Collections will be […]

Battersea Showcase 16 September 2016

On Friday 16 September our Alumni and Development Department hosted an event to celebrate the University of Surrey’s 125 year heritage with 280 of our Battersea alumni. This was a chance to see the fruits of the Build Our History project which has gathered in the memories of our former Battersea students and also their […]

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