Tag Archives: 1930s

Priestley, Documentary, Realism and Democracy: conference 25 October

Priestley, Documentary, Realism and Democracy: open one-day conference sponsored by the J.B. Priestley Society.

9.45-17.00 West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.  25 October 2014.

There is still time to book a place at this fascinating conference, which includes Special Collections staff among the speakers.

PRI8_1_11 27 closeIt is eighty years since the publication of J.B. Priestley’s English Journey . The book influenced a whole generation on its appearance and has since inspired numerous responses and sequels. This conference aims both to do justice to that impact and also to consider wider issues raised by the documentary and social-realistic work of Priestley and his contemporaries in the Thirties and Forties.  Alison Cullingford will introduce delegates to the Heinemann Scrapbook, which shows how the publisher whipped up interest in Priestley’s controversial comments on English cities (image above).  Martin Levy will explore belatedness and Priestley’s social philosophy.  Other speakers will cover aspects of cinema, Orwell, Muir, social fiction and Priestley’s wartime suspense stories.

To find out more and book your place, see the conference mini-website.

Download the Programme.  JBPS 2014 Conference Running Order

Download the Poster.  JBPS_Conference_Poster

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Preserving the New Atlantis

We have just finished a project to improve the condition of the New Atlantis Foundation Archive, thanks to a very welcome donation of £5000 earlier this year. This Archive came to us in a damp state, in poor quality boxes and folders which were damaging their contents. We have been able to dry it out somewhat since but it was still very vulnerable.

The funding was used to purchase archival quality boxes, folders, tissue and other materials. The Special Collections Assistant, John Brooker, carried out the laborious work of re-boxing, replacing folders, removing rusty pins, staples and adhesive tape, and crafting individual containers for less straightforward items such as pipes, hats and artworks.  Photograph albums were interleaved with tissue.

A basic list of the contents of the Archive should be available later this year, though far more work is required to bring out the connections and richness of this complex Archive. It tells the fascinating story of Dmitrije Mitrinovic, the circle that grew up around him, their ideas, their everyday lives, and how they connected with the intelligentsia, artists and writers of their day.  We believe it will be a key resource for scholars researching inter-war ideas and politics.

Sad Archive

From this …

Happy Archive

… To this

Excess Baggage

The English Journeying continues: Radio 4’s Excess Baggage on Saturday 26th included an interview with Tom Priestley about the new edition of  EJ.  Currently available on the BBC iplayer!

English Journeying – Birmingham and Newcastle

More events celebrating the 75th anniversary edition of English Journey:

Tom Priestley and Stuart Maconie at the Birmingham Book Festival 23 October 2009

Discovery Museum Newcastle on 27 October 2009. The details aren’t yet on their website, will post link when available.

Priestley’s English Journey

It is 75 years since J.B. Priestley’s “English Journey”, in which Priestley surveyed his country and wrote about the three Englands of rural tradition, postindustrial depression, and the mass media future.  It is one of his very best and most enduring books, and this July is being republished by Great Northern.  The new edition includes illustrations from the J.B. Priestley Archive and an article by Alison Cullingford highlighting the media campaign to promote the original publication in 1934.

Press coverage of the new edition:

In his article in the Observer 5 July Sarfraz Manzoor visits Bradford to reflect on changing ideas about Englishness since Priestley’s  Journey.  He visited Special Collections as part of his research, and spoke to ourselves and our colleagues about Priestley.

Review by Anthony Holden in the Daily Telegraph, which summarises the book and its appeal: “what blazes through this book with Priestley’s trademark sincerity is his driving sense of social justice”.

Drawing for Peace

Peggy Smith selling Peace News

Peggy Smith selling Peace News

A unique and fascinating glimpse at the personalities involved in 1930s politics, pacifism and the arts will be on show at Gallery II at the University of Bradford from 6 March – 3 April 2009. The exhibition, curated by Alison Cullingford, shows pencil drawings made by Peggy Smith while she was working freelance for newspapers in the 1930s. Peggy Smith was a dedicated peace campaigner, who worked for the League of Nations Union in the 1920s, was one of the first women to sign the Peace Pledge in 1936, and sold Peace News on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for many years, as seen in this image.  The exhibition will be the first time most of these original sketches have been shown in public.

The sketches are held by the Commonweal Library and are cared for by Special Collections at Bradford.

Like Brushes with Peace, which we blogged about last year, the show highlights the rich heritage of peace art at the University and at Bradford’s Peace Museum.

Image courtesy P. Connett.

Malham Memories

New Special Collections web page! The Fred Robinson Butterfield Collection. Albums of photographs of the Dales and other Yorkshire in the 1920s and 30s, taken on cycling club days out. Malham was a favourite destination. This image shows a detail from a photograph of Settle.

Settle in the 1930s