UNIQUE TED HUGHES COLLECTION ACQUIRED BY UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD NOW AVAILABLE AT HERITAGE QUAY

We are delighted to announce that a unique collection of rare and valuable items relating to the former poet laureate Ted Hughes has been acquired by the University of Huddersfield and is now available at Heritage Quay.

Image of Ted Hughes seated, smiling.
Photograph of Ted Hughes by Layle Silbert. One of 11 previously unknown photographs of Hughes by Silbert in the collection and part of the photograph album featuring many unknown photographs of Hughes and Sylvia Plath. By permission of University of Chicago who manage Silbert’s estate. © University of Huddersfield

 

The Mark Hinchliffe Ted Hughes Collection – described by the collector’s journal The Private Library as ‘one of the finest Hughes collections in private hands’ and ‘a rival to collections held in University libraries on both sides of the Atlantic’ – was gathered over a lifetime by the late Huddersfield poet and Hughes expert, Mark Hinchliffe, and came to the University from Hinchliffe’s widow, Julie.

The collection was acquired with the help of generous funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Victoria and Albert/Arts Council England Acquisition Fund, The Friends of the National Libraries, and the University of Huddersfield.

Dr Steve Ely, Director of the Ted Hughes Network at the University comments: “We are delighted to have acquired Mark Hinchliffe’s outstanding collection. It comprises over 170 items, including signed first editions of dozens of Hughes’ trade, limited-edition and fine-press publications; original letters written by Hughes and his first wife, the poet Sylvia Plath; signed and annotated books from Hughes’s personal collection; and, some absolutely unique items: a very fine ceramic jaguar sculpted by Hughes in 1967, the only intact example anywhere in the world of Hughes’s work in the plastic arts.

Manuscript with Ted Hughes handwriting holograph of Hughes' radio script for Orpheus.
A holograph of Ted Hughes’ radio script for Orpheus.
© University of Huddersfield
Becky Bowd sat at table smiling with two Baskin watercolours on the table
Dr Rebecca Bowd, University Archivist with Baskin watercolours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There is an album containing hundreds of photographs, including some previously unknown photographs of both Hughes and Plath; a holograph manuscript of the radio play ‘Orpheus & Eurydice’ with some significant differences to the broadcast and published versions, and, a bespoke edition of the Gehenna Press’ limited edition Howls & Whispers, comprising the original fine-book, 8 original watercolours by Leonard Baskin – two of which are pictured here –  and a unique copper-plate, engraved portrait of Sylvia Plath.”

Watercolour of woman swathed in blue.
‘Woman swathed in blue’ from Howls and Whispers. By permission of the Estate of Leonard Baskin.
© University of Huddersfield
Watercolour by Leonard Baskin showing heads coloured orange, blue and yellow.
‘Woman swathed in blue’ from Howls and Whispers. By permission of the Estate of Leonard Baskin.
© University of Huddersfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mark was a significant figure in the international Ted Hughes scholarly and collecting communities, a friend and correspondent of Ted and other members of the Hughes family, a member of the Ted Hughes Society, a founding member and chair of the Elmet Trust, a key figure in the development of the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival in the Upper Calder Valley, a scholar and a published poet – a significant figure in his own right.

Photograph of Mark Hinchliffe
Mark Hinchliffe, who died in 2019, first corresponded with Ted Hughes while still in his teens and built up a substantial collection of Hughes-related material.

“He was a great supporter of the work of the Ted Hughes Network at the University, and it is fitting that his collection should be retained in his hometown.”

Julie Hinchliffe comments: “I am absolutely delighted that the University of Huddersfield has acquired Mark’s extensive Ted Hughes collection. It was his wish that the collection should remain intact and be available for academics, students and the public to enjoy as much as he did. I know that he would be very pleased with its new home.”

The Collection will be housed in the University’s archive, Heritage Quay. Dr Rebecca Bowd, University Archivist comments: “We are thrilled to be able to preserve Mark Hinchliffe’s fantastic collection at Heritage Quay where for the first time it will be freely accessible to the public. The Ted Hughes Archive at Heritage Quay already holds three other Ted Hughes-related deposits: the Donald Crossley Papers, the Christopher Reid Papers and a comprehensive collection of Hughes’ fine and small press work.

“The purchase of this collection cements Heritage Quay’s reputation as a must-visit archive for Ted Hughes scholars world-wide and we can’t wait to welcome researchers to explore the collection here at the University of Huddersfield.

Heritage Quay will also work with the Ted Hughes Network to arrange public-facing events to engage people with the collection—a symposium, talks, poetry readings, exhibitions, creative writing workshops and events for young people are planned. The first of these, an exhibition featuring highlights from the collection will take place at Heritage Quay from late June to mid-September.”

Dr Simon Thurley CBE, Chair, National Heritage Memorial Fund comments: “The National Heritage Memorial Fund are delighted to support the University of Huddersfield with £33,775 to enable the purchase of the final five works from Mark Hinchcliffe’s private collection. The works that we have supported are considered unique and will now be shared widely by the university’s Ted Hughes Network & Heritage Quay, including through children’s workshops and creative writing activities.”

Black Ceramic Jaguar on white background
A ceramic jaguar sculpted by Ted Hughes, the only intact example of his work in the plastic arts.
© University of Huddersfield

The Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, which has contributed £35,000, adds that “‘we are delighted to be able to support the acquisition of the Hinchcliffe Archive by the University of Huddersfield. Not only is it an important collection of material which explores the life and work of Ted Hughes, but the collection is fascinating in how it reflects the relationship between Hughes and Hinchcliffe; it has much research potential for students and academics alike, both national and international.”

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It is fitting that this extensive Ted Hughes collection has been acquired by the University of Huddersfield in the poet’s home county. I am delighted that UK Government funding through the National Heritage Memorial Fund has enabled it to happen. These brilliant works will now be available to academics, students and members of the public where they will provide endless inspiration and enjoyment for years to come.”

For further information about the collection or to arrange a visit, email us at archives@hud.ac.uk or see https://heritagequay.org/archives/mhth/

Story originally published at https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2022/may/ted-hughes-collection-acquired-heritage-quay/

Tasnim’s Take on working at Heritage Quay

My name is Tasnim and my Kickstart placement took place at the University of Huddersfield.

I worked for 6 months in Heritage Quay which is the University’s archive service that sits in the Computing and Library Services department.

The Kickstart scheme was put in place by the government to help non-working people get into permanent work. This applies to people that have been out of work for a while and find it difficult to get back in or have come out of education, much like myself. I graduated in 2019 and found it difficult to find work as I had no work experience, I had only ever been in education. The Kickstart scheme’s aim is to build up and enhance one’s skills and work experience. Towards the end of the placement you will have all the tools you need to look and apply for jobs. I have come towards the end of my placement and have successfully secured a permanent job: I can say with confidence that the Kickstart scheme works.

I didn’t really know what an archive was when I first applied for the job. The best way to explain this is to tell you the difference between an archive and a library: a library’s contents can easily be replaced and they can hold several of the same item but the contents of an archive are unique and one of a kind.

My job title was ‘Collections Assistant’ and I worked alongside the Archive Assistants. It was a very small team of staff when I started so I was very busy with lots of tasks to do. Usually when anyone starts a new job its normal to get nervous but surprisingly this time I did not: I felt extremely comfortable. To begin with, I would shadow the Archive Assistants and watch how they went about completing tasks then I would put it into practice myself. My main duty was customer service as I greeted members of the public who booked an appointment to look at archive material in the public Research Room. I supervised them to make sure they were abiding by the Research Room rules such as no eating or drinking and only writing with pencils. I took on other tasks such as repackaging items in the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM) archive. I took out items from their old packaging and put them in new packaging which was made from special materials that would protect the paper archive materials kept inside. I also undertook training for a digital customer enquiry system which gave me the experience of conversing with customers online.

My favourite part about working in Heritage Quay was exploring and learning about the collections. Some collections piqued my interest such as The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) and the John Lancaster Christadelphians Library (CHL) because reading about different religions such as Methodist and Christadelphian is one of my favourite hobbies. Exploring these archives made me wonder what intriguing one-of-a-kind material other archives in other institutions may possess.

This role at Heritage Quay enabled me to develop my communication skills with staff and the public as well as my teamworking and administration skills which assisted me in getting my new role. It has enhanced my confidence in the workplace and I look forward to starting my new job very soon!

Image shows books on bookshelves from The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) collection.
Books from one of Tasnim’s favourite collections, The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) collection, stored in our strongroom.

New Research Room Opening Hours

We are delighted to announce our research room is now open on Mondays and  Tuesdays 09.30- 17.00 for pre-booked appointments. We are also able to offer online appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10-11am and 3-4pm.

All appointments must be booked at least three working days in advance via our online booking form.

For further information please email archives@hud.ac.uk

Research Room Now Open Tuesdays

We are delighted to announce our research room is now open on Tuesdays 10.00 – 16.00 for pre-booked appointments only. We are also able to offer online appointments on Mondays. Appointments must be booked at least one week in advance via our online booking form.  For further information please email archives@hud.ac.uk 

Unfortunately public events in Heritage Quay will not re-commence until 2022. This includes tours, school group visits, public meetings, external conferences, and facility hires.

We look forward to welcoming you back to research in Heritage Quay.

Rare books collection

To celebrate the completion of our work with our rare books, we want to provide an introduction to this remarkable collection.

First of all, just how “rare” are these books? Some which have found their way into this collection are more commonplace, such as Charles Booth’s Life and Labour, which has been reprinted many times and is a social study of poverty- the one in our collection is a 2nd edition copy. And then there are volumes such as Oeuvres morales et meslees, a translation in French of Plutarch’s essays about morals which was originally written in Greek. This latter item is from the 16th century, and has subsequently been rebound due to its age.

The topics these books cover include art, history, sculpture, photography, religion, architecture and engineering. The dates of publishing range from the 1500s to the 1900s and some are first editions as well as some which are facsimiles- a copy of a book that is supposed to emulate the original. There are scrapbooks, manuscripts, printed texts and musical scores. Here you can see a small sample of what lies within the pages.

The books themselves can be visually astounding, with covers featuring antique designs and the pages within featuring illustrations. One of my favourites was Great Flower Books 1700 – 1900: A Bibliographical Record of Two Centuries of Finely-Illustrated Flower Books which is a heavily illustrated book featuring a variety of flora. Here we can see a classic marbled book cover, the prominence of the use of the colour gold for decoration and text and the lack of titles being printed on the cover.

The purpose of our recent work was to make this collection accessible to the public. The work undertaken by our Archive Assistants included preservation tasks, e.g. cleaning the books and arranging them to avoid further damage to spines, and sorting the list we had of the books, which detailed publication dates and authors, so that this can be added to the catalogue. If you wish to take a look at the collection search for HUD/LB/2/9/3 in the reference box at http://heritagequay.org/archives or click this link http://heritagequay.org/archives/HUD/LB/2/9/3/. And if you want to see one of these books in person, email us to book an appointment.

Archivist’s Toolbox-Palaeography

The focus of this blog is the tradition of palaeography, i.e. the study of historical handwriting. This skill is important for transcription of ancient, medieval and post-medieval texts and for understanding the development of writing itself. This blog attempts to introduce the topic by covering some of the key ideas that are relevant to palaeographers as they attempt to decipher a post-medieval text.

Throughout the centuries different styles of handwriting have become popularised. The modern handwriting style was founded with the italic style in the 14th to 16th centuries. This image shows some of the ways in which letters have been written in different styles of handwriting. This expresses why palaeography is a learned skill, since without knowledge of these letter shapes their presentation might be quite confusing to someone trying to read a document.

From looking at handwriting we can often see stylistic flairs that it helps to learn when interpreting an individual writer’s text. This example from our gas company collection (20th century) demonstrates that the scribe often joins words together and exhibits the different ways they write the letter ‘t’. Whilst it is useful to familiarise yourself with a writer’s style, it is also important to recognise that it may change throughout their life. Therefore, alongside learning the popular styles of the time, it is helpful to also pay close attention to specific individuals and the way they write.

Spelling could also differ, e.g. said being spelt sayd, and scribes often used abbreviations to shorten words, e.g. ‘wch’ for ‘which’ uses superscript letters. It is these historic ways of writing that have fallen out of fashion. If we consider modern language we notice that it changes all the time, whether that is the invention of a new slang term, a word to describe a scientific idea or abbreviations popularised via social media.

Transcribing a text can often feel like solving a puzzle. Making decisions about what handwriting style, date and individual letters are present discloses the content and, occasionally, context of historical documents, allowing you to glimpse aspects of life from centuries ago. We run palaeography courses here at Heritage Quay for students and researchers, so if you are interested please send us an email at archives@hud.ac.uk. If you want to read more about the topic and practice some examples, check out The National Archives pages at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/default.htm.

If you fancy having an attempt at transcribing, make sense of the image below from a 17th century Indenture which is one of the earliest legal documents we have at our archive. This is just a snippet of the document so the sentences aren’t complete. The answer will be in the comments below so don’t scroll till you’ve had a go.

If you’re a University of Huddersfield student the archive runs regular classes on how to pick up skills in palaeography 1500-2000! Just contact the archive for more information – archives@hud.ac.uk

New Ted Hughes exhibition

This month saw the launch of a new exhibition at Heritage Quay: ‘Ted Hughes: You Are Who You Choose To Be’ which runs until the beginning of July.

Like many of the displays we have in the archives, this exhibition wasn’t curated by us. This time we worked with staff in the English Literature department here at the University. Between us we supported Third Year English Literature students to select archival documents and objects that explore the Yorkshire roots of Hughes’s work, as well as his family life and professional collaborators. The displays include many newer additions to the archives here at Heritage Quay, including the Ted Hughes Network archive and the Donald Crossley archive both of which are available to researchers, although not fully catalogued yet. There are also some items on loan from a private collector.

The process of working on the exhibition with the students was really interesting. As any gallery or museum curator will tell you, curation (both selection of objects and text writing) is a delicate art. There are plenty of decisions to be made from the story you’d like to tell, to the depth of description. There will be physical constraints to deal with, including the need to minimise any damage to the objects on show, and the amount of display space available.

Our students came along for a teaching session with Public Engagement Office David Smith, who presented the relevant archives and rare books to the group, and gave them an introduction to curating an exhibition. The students were then divided into groups and had the opportunity to come and get to know the collections better in our Searchroom. These research sessions produced plenty of animated discussion!

Each group came up with proposals for each of our six cases, with tutors choosing the best ideas to become the final exhibition. The students then worked together to produce the finished layout and captions. The new exhibition was then officially launched as part of the Huddersfield Literature Festival, complete with a reading of the poem ‘Six Young Men’ by Huddersfield’s own David Rudrum, and a comedy set from poet, comedian, actor and director, Owen O’Neill.

We are delighted with the final exhibition, and have been receiving really positive responses from our visitors. We’re just as pleased to have had the chance to take some of our students through the whole process of creating an exhibition, from brainstorming ideas to launch party!