Major donation to Heritage Quay on 25th anniversary of Ted Hughes’s death

The word Owl written in ink alongside a drawing of an owl sat on the moon by Ted Hughes.

Pen sketch by Ted Hughes (Image Credit: University of Huddersfield)

The University of Huddersfield is delighted to announce a major donation to its burgeoning archival collection of materials relating to the late Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes.

Carol Hughes, the former Poet Laureate’s wife, has made this major donation to the University of Huddersfield’s Ted Hughes collection on the 25th anniversary of his death.

Pencil sketch of Ted Hughes face and shoulders by R.J. Lloyd
Ted Hughes by R.J. Lloyd 1979 (Image credit: University of Huddersfield. Copyright: ‘The Estate of R.J. Lloyd’)


The materials – primarily comprising of a large quantity of Hughes’s valuable small press and limited-edition work, but also including letters, drafts of work-in-progress, photographs and artwork – were generously gifted to the University’s archive at Heritage Quay by Hughes’s widow Carol, a strong supporter of the University’s Ted Hughes Research Network, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of her late husband’s death on 28 October, 1998.

Highlights of the donation include superb and unpublished sketches of Hughes by R.J. Lloyd and Elizabeth Cook, drafts of Morrigu Press works-in-progress, including ‘Cormorants’, ‘Pheasants’ and ‘Weasels at Work’, which the latter also includes drawings by Hughes, and a folder of correspondence between Carol herself and the late Donald Crossley, a Mytholmroyd-based childhood friend of Ted who renewed acquaintance with him in later life, subsequently producing an impressive body of research into Remains of Elmet and other upper-Calder Valley-focused works. Crossley’s archive is already held at Heritage Quay and these materials will augment them further.

The small press and limited edition works include multiple copies of dozens of rare, valuable and striking works, virtually all of them signed and dated by Hughes and his collaborators.  Among the many highlights are the huge Scholar Press Cave Birds, with etchings by the American artist Leonard Baskin; The Threshold, published by the Steam Press, with ink-drawings by Ralph Steadman, and another opulent collaboration with Baskin, the Gehenna Press A Primer of Birds.’

Ted Hughes book cover
A Primer of Birds by Ted Hughes (Image credit: University of Huddersfield)


Carol Hughes commented: “I am pleased to support the collection of Hughes materials at the University of Huddersfield, and given the enthusiasm of Rebecca Bowd and Steve Ely, I feel sure the archive will continue to grow and develop in the years to come.”

Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, of the University commented: “The University is grateful to Carol Hughes for the generous donation of further important archive material relating to her husband and excited at the opportunities now offered by one of the most important collections of the Poet Laureate’s material in the world.”

Director of the Ted Hughes Network, Dr Steve Ely commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive these materials from Carol and wish to thank her for her incredible generosity and support.  Her gift will significantly enhance and complement our existing collections.  It will also provide a resource to allow further acquisitions, and to promote scholarly and public engagement with our Hughes collections – part of the donation is a large deposit of copies of rare Hughes limited editions, and these will be sold to collectors on the rare book market, with profits going to support and develop our Hughes collections.

“The works are not merely valuable, but they also cast light on Hughes’s creative process and the way he worked to bring his small press works to publication and market, often producing multiple minutely different versions of publications, or variant editions: a copy of The Threshold with gilt edging to the pages, a copy of Earth-moon with a cork inlay cover, pages of handwritten drafts inserted into copies of Cave Birds, and the addition of small ink drawings of birds next to his signature in copies of the Sceptre Press, A Crow Hymn.

“Carol’s donation not only further establishes Heritage Quay’s reputation as one of the leading international Hughes collections but provides the basis for its further expansion and development.  In the late spring/early summer of 2024 Heritage Quay will officially commemorate her gift with a public exhibition of its Hughes materials, launched with an event at which Carol will be guest-of-honour, with talks and readings by eminent poets, scholars and students.”

Dr Rebecca Bowd, University Archivist, commented: “We are indebted to Carol Hughes for her generous donation which augments our Ted Hughes collections at Heritage Quay, the accredited archive service of the University of Huddersfield. We have a comprehensive collection of Hughes’ fine and small press work in the Ted Hughes Network Archive, and the Mark Hinchliffe Ted Hughes Collection, alongside correspondence between Hinchliffe and Hughes. We also hold the Donald Crossley Archive and the Christopher Reid Papers. We look forward to welcoming members of the public or researchers interested in Hughes’s work to Heritage Quay where they can view these fascinating collections.”

This article was originally published on the University of Huddersfield website on 28th October 2023, Ted Hughes collection receives major donation – University of Huddersfield.

Discovering our Music Collections: CeReNeM Digitisation Project

Hello, my name is Colin Frank and I have recently completed my doctorate in music composition and performance at the University of Huddersfield. Since July 2021, I have worked as a Digitisation Assistant at Heritage Quay for the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM). Over the past year I digitised programmes and journals in the archives at Heritage Quay including the British Music Collection (BMC), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF), and Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM), which are now publicly available to browse online at the Divergence Press website.

As my job has entailed scanning and creating metadata for items in these collections, I’ve been able to leaf through concert programmes and composer magazines from 1942 up until the present. Even though I specialise in contemporary music, I never knew the extent to which these organisations were active in Britain over the 20th and into the 21st centuries until I dug into these collections. It was incredible to see the amount of new works created and performed in Huddersfield and across the UK, both by composers and ensembles I recognised and those not in the history books. On occasion I would find a professor of mine pictured when they were younger and styling long flowing hair, or I would recognise a composer from my home country, Canada, appearing in a Huddersfield concert. The international esteem of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is certainly evident in this collection, with the likes of John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Gyorgy Ligeti, Robert Ashley and other famous modernist and experimental composers having visited the town. I wonder if Cage foraged for wild mushrooms in woods I’ve walked in, or if Yannis Xenakis was impressed by architecture of the Queensgate Market Hall—a building that relates in design to his own designs and compositions.

Probably my favourite find that stood out historically was in the SPNM’s archive. In digitising programmes of the organisation, which started during the second World War, I came across a studio recital scheduled for May 8th, 1945. Written in pencil across the top is ‘Cancelled – VE day’. Clearly the musicians and audience were on the streets celebrating. I’m impressed to think that the SPNM started a series of new music in a bombed-out London, and it reminds me of the value of making art rather than war.


The materials that are now available online include the ‘Composer’ magazine that was published from 1958 – 1987; HCMF’s programmes and booklets since 1978; and SPNM’s journal, New Notes, that ran from 1990 – 2009. All these materials are also available to view at Heritage Quay.

I have had 2 other roles at Heritage Quay: Student Helper and Project Assistant for the Derek Bailey Cataloguing Project. My role as Project Assistant consisted of myself and my colleague Barbora Vacková cataloguing the archive of the British free improvising guitarist, Derek Bailey. This archive is now available to view at Heritage Quay by appointment. More information on how to book an appointment to view archives at Heritage Quay can be found here.


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 or see

Story originally published at

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

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 

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 or click this link 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 If you want to read more about the topic and practice some examples, check out The National Archives pages at

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 –