Friday 31 August 2012

Grant of Edward VI

This week's treasure represents an important chapter in the history of Chetham's - it's the grant of Edward VI transferring ownership of the College House buildings to the Earl of Stanley after their dissolution under the Chantries Act of 1549. Find out more about this beautiful illuminated document on our 101 Treasures page this week.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Chetham's to host Poetry Prize Gala

We are very pleased to be hosting the Manchester Poetry Prize Gala on 19th October as part of the Manchester Literary Festival. The event will be held in the Baronial Hall and follows on from last years very successful hosting of the Fiction Prize.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the Literature Festival website.

Friday 24 August 2012


This week's page in the 101 Treasures series is this two-volume edition of the first ever printing of Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, which has beautiful gauffered gilt foredges. Take a look here.

Thursday 23 August 2012

More views of London

We hope you all enjoyed yesterday's post about the glass lantern slide collection of views of London. Today we're showcasing some beautiful prints of the city from a recent donation, John and Josiah Boydell's History of the River Thames, published between 1794 and 1796 - around a hundred years earlier than yesterday's views.

The lavish two-volume work is part of a selection of books from the estate of the late Paul Minet, an antiquarian bookseller, governor of Chetham's and great friend of the Library until his sad death earlier this year.

The work charts the course of the river from its source at Thames Head near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, via Oxford, Henley, Reading, and the centre of London, to the estuary near Southend.

The text was written by William Combe, author of the famous Dr Syntax stories, but the book is chiefly valued for the illustrations, 76 coloured aquatints by J.C. Stadler after drawings by Joseph Farrington, a topographical painter and member of the Royal Academy. The project was part of a five-volume work that was intended to encompass the Rivers Severn, Forth, and Clyde but the idea was abandoned on the completion of the History of the Thames.

The work is highly collectable and many copies of individual prints are always available for sale. It remains a minor masterpiece, which popularised the use of aquatint for topographical plate books.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Celebrating London 2012

 Holburn Circus

Chetham's is rightly known for its rich collection of material relating to Manchester and the North West, but it's worth remembering that we also have large holdings of material relating to London, including some wonderful visual material. 

The J.J. Phelps collection, for example, contains many lantern slides of London, photographed by the Scottish photographic firm of George Washington Wilson & Co. By the early 1880s, the company had become the largest and best-known photographic and printing firm in Scotland and employed a staff of photographers who produced collections of lantern slides to be shown in slide shows. 

The company was wound up in 1908, so these images of London buildings and street scenes probably date from the turn of the twentieth century. The George Washington Wilson and Co. photographic collection is held by Aberdeen University and consists of over 37,000 glass plate negatives that were produced between the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.
 Here are some of our favourites from the collection:

 Piccadilly Circus

  The Bank of England (boo hiss)

 Government Buildings from St James Park

 Pall Mall

 Seven Dials

 St Thomas's Hospital

Tower of London from the Thames

Closed on Bank Holiday Monday!

Please note the Library will be closed this Bank Holiday Monday, but will re-open as usual on Tuesday 28th August. We look forward to seeing you then!

Friday 17 August 2012

A sixteenth-century Venetian treasure

This week it's number sixty-one in our 101 Treasures series and the featured item is Bomberg's Biblia Rabbinica, published in 1524-5 and used by the translators of the King James Version. Their annotations can be clearly seen in the margins. Find out more here.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Remembering Peterloo

On this day in 1819, Manchester established its place in the story of radicalism and reform in this country through the terrible events of the Peterloo Massacre, depicted in this hand-coloured print.

The Library holds many items of interest to the student of radical political history in the North West. If this is your field of interest, get in touch! We would be delighted to hear from you.

Friday 10 August 2012

Our father who art in hvn

This tiny book is the smallest in the Library's collection and forms part of our extensive shorthand collection. In it, the words of the Lord's Prayer have been reproduced in various forms of shorthand writing, presumably appealing to those for whom devotions have become rather too lengthy to fit neatly into the day's activities.

Read more on the 101 Treasures Page.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

For general good conduct


We were delighted to welcome Susan Smith of Marple to the Library today, who brought in this beautiful Boutflower Watch. The watch was awarded to her father, Frank Bradley, who was a pupil at Chetham's from 1931-1938.

We know very little about the origin of the prize or its founder. Dr Boutflower was a physician who served as a Feoffee at Chetham's and died around 1931. Presumably other watches were presented and, perhaps, survive? We know of no others but perhaps someone reading this will be able to enlighten us. Do get in contact if you are able to fill in any of the gaps!

Friday 3 August 2012

Edward Hobson: obviously no rolling stone...

This week's treasure is the work of Manchester-born Edward Hobson, a grocer's assistant from Bowdon in Cheshire. His Musci Britannici lists and describes mosses found by him in the Manchester area and is illustrated with his own collection of dried moss. Learn more about this rare survival on the 101 Treasures page this week.