In Their Own Write

Would you like to work on a project transcribing and researching letters from 19th century paupers?

We are looking to work with volunteers in the Nottingham area who might be interested in transcribing and researching letters from 19th century paupers and their advocates across the whole of England and Wales. These letters provide an intimate and detailed account of how the recipients of 19th century welfare saw that welfare and how they judged it. They are fascinating accounts written by poor people as they experienced their own and others poverty.

This is the letter from John Burnham, of the parish of Burton Joyce in the Basford Poor Law Union, to the Poor Law Board asking for assistance for his wife’s father Samuel Blatherwick who is 71 years old and infirm. He receives 1s 6d and a quarter loaf each week which, Burnham states, is inadequate for his needs. Burnham is a stocking maker and is unable to help his father in law as he has his own family to support.

We will provide training/workshops in Hucknall (Nottinghamshire) and further advice via email and online. If you are interested in taking part in the project please email Dr Paul Carter at

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Managed by The National Archives and the University of Leicester

Our project website

A Selection of Elections: Votes, Suffrage and Reform

Image: The rights of women – or the effects of female enfranchisement, by George Cruikshank, 1853. Fagan Collection of Political Prints, Pol P 5


Friday 7 September to Sunday 2 December 2018 Weston Gallery, DH Lawrence Pavilion, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

11am-4pm Tuesday-Friday
Noon-4pm Saturday-Sunday
Closed on Mondays
Admission FREE

The year 2018 marks the centenary of the first UK general election in which some women were entitled to vote. We celebrate that fact by looking back at some memorable elections and exploring how electioneering has changed over the years.

Before the first Reform Act of 1832, few people could vote and powerful aristocrats could sway the results. Papers from the disputed Cumberland election of 1768 reveal stories of coercion, bribery and corruption. Printed ballads and posters give a flavour of the songs and spectacles which attended elections in Nottingham in the early years of the 19th century.

Personalities feature heavily in the exhibition. The 4th Duke of Newcastle is shown opposing the Reform Act, and fiercely criticizing his own son’s election campaign in South Nottinghamshire in 1846. Discover the fascinating story of James Morrison, the wealthy MP for Nottingham East lauded as ‘the friend of the poor’. And learn about the suffragists and suffragettes who campaigned for equal voting rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Using original archives and rare books, this exhibition will illuminate 250 years of political campaigning.

The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

Free Talks

There will be a series of free talks to accompany the exhibition in the Djanogly Theatre. All talks start at 1pm and will last for approximately one hour. Places are limited so please book in advance on 0115 846 7777

A Great Electioneer and his Motives Reconsidered: The 4th Duke of Newcastle – Thursday 27 September

The ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832 attempted a transformation in the system of parliamentary representation. In what ways did those who opposed the act interpret these changes and feel its consequences? Richard Gaunt, Associate Professor in History at the University of Nottingham, studies a notorious local ‘boroughmonger’ to see different perspectives from those usually advanced in the history books.

Women’s Suffrage up to 1928 – Wednesday 24 October

Val Wood of the Nottingham Women’s History Group considers the impact of the franchise for the women of Nottingham in terms of women’s political representation and suffrage activism in the city from 1918 to 1928. Val refers to the first women councillors and discusses the possible reasons why it took so long to return a female member of Parliament.

New Dawn? The 1997 general election – Wednesday 21 November

1997 represented a dramatic turnaround for a party out of office since 1979. Some say that to win, Blair transformed Labour out of all recognition. Others counter that the party had no alternative but to become ‘New Labour’ and that under Blair it remained true to its historic mission of making society fairer. This talk by Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, reflects on some of the issues raised by the election, many of which remain relevant today.


Newark Civil War Tour

28th July, 4th and 25th August and 1st September at 2:30pm, 22nd September at 1:00pm

Join an expert guide who will lead you through the Civil War-torn streets of this historic town. You’ll explore the sites of seventeenth century Newark as your guide brings to life the harsh reality of being an inhabitant at the time, from dodging cannonball fire to surviving plague on a daily basis. Take in the cannonball-struck church of St Mary Magdalene, see Prince Rupert’s lodgings and discover the heart of Newark’s Civil War action, the stunning musket-peppered walls of Newark Castle.

Adults: £5. Children: £3.

Tours are primarily aimed at adults but children are welcome.


Newark Town Tour

11th, 18th of August and 8th , 15th September

Take in the full breadth of this fascinating town’s rich history on this guided tour of Newark, known as the place where one king lost his life and another his kingdom. You’ll learn about King John’s demise and King Charles’ defeat as your expert guide leads you on the town’s journey, from a medieval bishop’s strategic holding to a textile and brewing powerhouse. Unearth the captivating secrets of a town with a multifarious past.

Adults: £5. Children: £3.

Tours are primarily aimed at adults but children are welcome.


Arnold History Hub

More history of Arnold through our ancestors eyes starting Friday 14th September 7-9pm for 4 weeks at Eagle’s Nest Community Centre, Gedling Road, NG5 6NY

Understanding more of Arnolds past. Drop in. All welcome.

For more information contact Bob Massey at:,

Arnolds Clubs and Societies

A new history course in 4 sessions on 17th  and 24th Sept, 1st and 8th Oct 2018

7.15pm – 9.15pm at Arnold Library meeting Room (entrance via leisure centre)

Course £20

Come and learn about Arnolds past

Old and new students welcome

No previous knowledge required

Contact Bob Massey at for details

Bassingham Choir ‘Lost Voices’.

Bassingham Choir are a well established and experienced choir of up to 50 mixed voices led by their musical director, Martyn Taylor and accompanied by Ed Wellman of Lincoln University.

For the last 3 years they have been performing ‘Lost Voices‘ a programme of tunes from the trenches and other music such as Jerusalem, Mozart’s Ave Verum, In Flanders Fields, interspersed with readings written by soldiers during  WW1.

It is a very poignant and moving concert lasting 1hr 10 minutes.

This has been very well received all over Lincolnshire, culminating in an invitation to perform in the Cathedral Chapter house last November 11th.

As it is the Centenary of the ending of the First World War this year, they are looking for venues to perform this work. They are happy to travel within a reasonable distance.

Although it is particularly pertinent to November, they can sing this programme any time.

The choir do not charge and bring their own Clavinova, all they need are chairs and an electric socket.

More information from Di Swales – Chair of Bassingham Choir Tel: 01522 788313 or Mob: 07960606381 email.

The Great Suffrage Pilgrimage and Southwell 1913

The Great Suffrage Pilgrimage of 1913 was a six-week protest march and one of the most successful and largest scale public demonstrations involving many thousands of people, mainly women, bringing the Votes for Women message into many towns and villages across the country. It was organised by the non- militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), which was led by Millicent Fawcett. There were six routes in total and the longest route was that of the Great North Road, and it is this route, from Newcastle to London, which passed through the Nottinghamshire area. On the 9th of July 1913 the pilgrimage set off from Mansfield for Southwell, the pilgrims carrying bunches of red and white roses interspersed with green foliage – the colours of the National Union. There were 21 pilgrims on foot. There were also four motor cars: one carrying Millicent Fawcett. This part of the pilgrimage was the only one that she participated in. The route was 15 miles in length and passed through Rainworth, Kirklington and Hockerton before reaching Southwell, where the suffragists held a meeting.

The pilgrims were advised to wear NUWSS rosettes and sashes in the green, white and red of the NUWSS – which stood for Give Women Rights.

As this is the centenary year of some women gaining the vote for the first time (February 1918), on the 11thof August 2018 staff and volunteers from the Southwell Workhouse and supporters of the Nottingham Women’s History Group are planning to walk the route of the pilgrimage from Kirklington to Southwell to celebrate Vote 100. The walk will set off at 12 from Kirklington, then process through Southwell and end with a picnic at Southwell Workhouse at approximately 3pm. Please join the pilgrimage and wear the colours of the pilgrims or full suffrage dress.

Contact details: Rowena Edlin-White  0115 987 3135.