Tag Archives: Newspapers

The Calliphon Mystery …

Between 1953 and 1969 Calvin Wells wrote numerous columns for the Eastern Daily Press under the nom de plume ‘Calliphon’. Wells was a well-known physician of high social standing in East Anglia and it is possible he found greater freedom of expression writing through a pseudonym. Although many readers wrote letters of enquiry, Calliphon never […]

via Calliphon. — Putting Flesh on the Bones

So, what is a palaeopathologist?

We’ve been asked this question several times over the last week or so.  Why?  The University of Bradford has been in the news with an archives project that is fascinating journalists, academics, and members of the public.  The project, ‘Putting Flesh on the Bones‘, is a Wellcome-funded joint endeavour between Special Collections the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences at the University of Bradford.

male and female brow images m7

We are investigating the life and work of, yes, a palaeopathologist,   Dr Calvin Wells.  A palaeopathologist is a scientist who studies ancient pathologies (injuries, disease).  Dr Wells was a pioneer in this discipline, reporting on skeletal finds from many archaeological sites.  The people whose remains he studied led often difficult, violent and painful lives – all shown in the growth of and damage to the bones.

Coverage so far includes:

There will be much more to discover as we delve deeper into this rich archive.  Keep in touch with project developments via the project blog.

Our Archaeological Sciences colleagues are expert palaeopathologists, using old and new techniques to unlock the secrets of the bones.  Which brings me to the pleasant task of welcoming a new colleague, our Project Osteologist, Michelle Williams-Ward.  Michelle is working on burials in medieval Norfolk for her PhD student at the University. Her project role involves making sense of the many images of bones in the archive.  This requires considerable expertise.  Michelle’s insights have already proved most helpful!

1966, a Year that made a University. 20 January: Nearly There?

In January 1966 it looked as though Bradford might be at the point of achieving a century-old dream: its own University.  Or was it?

First page of Bradford Institute of Technology's Petition, July 1965 (Uni C04)

First page of Bradford Institute of Technology’s Petition, July 1965 (Uni C04)

1868-1963 The fight for a University

As early as 1868, local Member of Parliament W.E. Forster was clear that “if industrial universities were to be established in large centres of manufacturing, Bradford would do its best to become one of those centres”.  Such universities were indeed established: Leeds, Sheffield etc. acquired universities in the”red-brick” boom of the 1890s and 1900s.  Lack of local support and political influence meant Bradford missed out.

Scheme after scheme for university status foundered over the next century.  At last, in 1957, Bradford became Bradford Institute of Technology, one of eight Colleges of Advanced Technology, concentrating on university-level teaching and research.  But the CATS lacked the independence, kudos, and funding available to”universities”.

This unfairness was particularly noticeable during the early 1960s, as so many new universities were springing up.  These, as Robert McKinlay remarked in his histories of the University, achieved university status with all its benefits while often consisting of only a “Vice-Chancellor and a watchman’s hut”.  The CATs, with years of high-level work, buildings, staff and students, were still at a disadvantage.

1963-1966.  Hope for Bradford?

To put right this anomaly, Lord Robbins in his 1963 report recommended that the CATs be granted Royal Charters to become technological universities.  It’s easy to assume that this meant the Institute’s move to university status was inevitable.

Javelin, 20 Jan.1966. Charter rotated

However, the lead article in the 20 January 1966 edition of Javelin suggests some students at least were not so sure.  Was there “hope for Bradford”?

  •   An article in the Guardian had implied that Bradford would be a university by the following year: this seemed hopeful, as “surely such a reputable newspaper would not have raised our hopes by printing an untruth”.
  • Aston University, another CAT on the same journey, was “nearly there”, having had their charter accepted by the Privy Council.  Encouraging news!
  • Vice-Principal Robert McKinlay had recently stated that a recent conference was probably the last to be held at BIT. “Does this indicate official optimism, or are we to assume there are to be no further conferences …?”

Of course it is possible that uncertainty about university status was being exaggerated for effect.  Javelin reporters tended to be sarcastic and cynical!   Either way, the signs were correct: Bradford would indeed become a University before the year was out.

Part II to follow: what else was happening around the Institute and the City in January 1966?

Odds, Quads, Fabrics and Fashion Plates: British Patterns Scrapbook in the Times Higher

One of the loveliest and most surprising objects in Special Collections featured in The Times Higher’s Odds and Quads section last week: our scrapbook of fabric samples from Ackermann’s Repository.

Page of fabric samples from British Dyeing Patterns.

Page of fabric samples from British Dyeing Patterns.

Odds and Quads tells the stories of the many unusual and interesting things to be found in university collections.    The scrapbook’s appearance is particularly timely as this winter we will be working on our dyeing and textile history collection to bring out the historic connections to the University and the city of Bradford.  Here’s the Odds and Quads piece and here’s some more detail from the 100 Objects exhibition.



In Praise of … J.B. Priestley

Great to see this Guardian editorial In Praise of … J.B. Priestley, which in a short piece manages to cover the excellence of his prose, his political campaigning and his attitude to the honours system (which has brought him into the news this week).   Interesting also to follow up the letters,  including one from the J.B. Priestley Society Chairman, and the comments on the editorial, many of which show great knowledge of and affection for Priestley’s works.

Postscript Sunday 30 June 1940

The fifth of the BBC radio Postscripts is the first in which J.B. Priestley,  gently and with good humour, criticised aspects of government handling of the War.

A drunken man had been fined fifteen shillings for singing Rule Britannia! in the street after the air-raid warning had sounded.  Priestley could not help sympathising with this man against the “official and important personages” who were giving people orders but keeping them in the dark about the progress of the war.

He reflected on “Two Ton Annie”, whom he had written about during the early days of the war.  She was being evacuated to an Isle of Wight hospital and, despite her illness, was “a roaring and indomitable old lioness”, livening up everyone she met on her journey.  He felt that this quality was what Britain needed now: “It isn’t woolly, pussy-footed officialdom that will win this war, but the courage, endurance and rising spirits of the British people”.

Priestley's byline image in Reynolds News, 1940

Priestley’s byline image in Reynolds News, 1940

This piece reminds me that alongside Priestley’s busy broadcasting schedule, he was writing many newspaper and magazine articles.  The item about “Two Ton Annie” had been published in the News Chronicle on 4 September.  He also wrote for Picture Post, the Sunday Express, The Times, Answers, London Calling, The Listener, the New Statesman …

This image is from Reynolds News, for which he wrote several pieces around the time of the Postscripts.  Special Collections at Bradford holds a complete set, including regional editions, of this publication.

We do not (yet) have copies of all Priestley’s wartime writings, but most of these publications can be accessed via the British LibraryAlan Day’s bibliography of Priestley offers a comprehensive list.

Dozens and dozens of Delights …

114 delights in total in Priestley’s 1949 essay collection of simple pleasures, now re-issued by Great Northern.  Along with Modern Delight, its celebrity-penned update, it has been extensively reviewed and discussed this autumn …

Brian Viner in the Independent 5 September 2009 reflects on “The sound of a football”.

“From frost to frogspawn” Yorkshire Post 8 September 2009.

“Yorkshire relish” Mike Amos in the Northern Echo 9 September 2009.

Radio 4 Today interviewed Tom Priestley and Alexei Sayle, one of the contributors to Modern Delight, 9 September 2009.

“Life’s little delights” Daily Mail 10 September 2009.

“Uncommon readings: delightful prose from a grumbler” David Robinson in the Scotsman 12 September 2009.

“The simplest of delights …” India Knight (a contributor to Modern Delight) in the Sunday Times 13 September 2009.

“Delights by the dozen” Jim Greenhalf in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus 5 October 2009.

Review by Lisa O’Kelly in the Observer 27 September 2009.

Priestley’s Journey continues

As already mentioned in several blog posts this year, the 75th anniversary edition of J.B. Priestley’s “English Journey” (Great Northern Books) is attracting plenty of interest around the country.

Nottingham Evening Post Tuesday 4 August Stewed tea, football, and Goose Fair.

The Press (York) Saturday 25 July

Bradford Telegraph and Argus Saturday 15 August and Friday 24 July

Leicester Mercury Tuesday 25 August Priestley’s views on hunting, what he considered to be Leicester’s lack of atmosphere, and slipper problems.

Yorkshire Post 12 September. Revisiting Priestley’s Bradford.

There have also been reviews in the Eastern Daily Press (Norwich), Lincolnshire Echo, Evening Post (Bristol), and Lancashire Evening Post, and 5 London magazines: Angel, Resident, Grove, Clapham, and Northside.

Image of the month May 2009: What the paper said

What's in the newspaper?We were recently sent this photograph by an enquirer in Australia.  It shows his wife’s father as a boy with his two sisters, mother and grandmother appearing to read a copy of Reynolds News.  Our enquirer wanted to know the date of the newspaper issue, which is not clear from the photograph.  Fortunately he was able to send us a better quality version, though it was still not particularly clear.  However the name Lansbury could be found, at the top right, which led us to a story about Mr Lansbury calling for more lidos, and hence to a heat-wave.  We concluded that the paper was dated 31 August 1930.

The front page headline was “Trade depression passing: revival in Steel, Motors, Cotton and Shipping”, with a photo of the President of the Board of Trade; to the right “More Lidos says Mr. Lansbury” referred to the opening of outdoor public swimming-pools. On the inside pages the hunt was on for the gangster ‘Legs’ Diamond; the islanders of St. Kilda were evacuated to mainland Scotland; film star Greta Garbo was appearing as an Italian singer in ‘Romance’; 5 lads from London’s East End stole a car and crashed it 70 km. away in Sussex; a man was charged with dealing in cocaine; there were fears of unemployment in the banking world due to increasing mechanisation; Australia had a narrow win in the Ruby Test at Sydney; and an English cricketer reflected on the need for team-building following Australia’s Ashes win. On the back page were photos illustrative of the heat-wave, including a crowd on the beach at Southsea and a tenor, Enrico Muzio, practising in the bath.

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.