VE Day through the eyes of cartoonists

May 8th 2020 is a particularly notable date for us UK residents. Not only is it a bank holiday (on a Friday), but it’s also the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day, better known as VE Day. On the 8th of May 1945 the Allies formally accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. What better time, then, to delve back through the British Cartoon Archive to see how cartoonists marked this momentous occasion?

David Low, 'The Nightmare Passes', Evening Standard, 8th May 1945 (DL2416)

David Low, ‘The Nightmare Passes’, Evening Standard, 8th May 1945 (DL2416)

‘The nightmare passes’ by David Low is arguably one of the most famous images from VE day. Published by the Evening Standard on 8th May 1945, it shows a man and a woman – representing everyday citizens – waving as the black clouds part to let the sun in.

Leslie Illingworth, 'Night passes and the evil things depart', Daily Mail, 8th May 1945 (ILW0903)

Leslie Illingworth, ‘Night passes and the evil things depart’, Daily Mail, 8th May 1945 (ILW0903)

Leslie Illingworth published ‘Night passes and the evil things depart’ in the Daily Mail also on the day itself. It’s interesting to compare Low and Illingworth here – both use the natural world as a metaphor for the War, but Low focuses on depicting the general public whereas Illingworth explores the detail of the dark clouds, bringing up spooky and apocalyptic visions.

NEB (Ronald Niebour), "Just one more for the old family album sir.", Daily Mail, 8th May 1945(NEB0247)

NEB (Ronald Niebour), “Just one more for the old family album sir.”, Daily Mail, 8th May 1945(NEB0247)

In contrast to Low and Illingworth, Ronald Niebour (NEB) depicts one of the most famous figures of the Second World War – Prime Minister Winston Churchill, complete with cigar in his mouth. Niebour presents a patrotic, jovial side to the celebrations here – there are multiple union jack flags and someone is photographing the scene, aware of its place in history.

Carl Giles, "...The forces surrendering will total over a million chaps...and that, gentlemen, is a good egg...", Daily Express, 8th May 1945 (GA5444)

Carl Giles, “…The forces surrendering will total over a million chaps…and that, gentlemen, is a good egg…”, Daily Express, 8th May 1945 (GA5444)

Carl Giles was travelling in Europe as the Daily Express’ war correspondent in 1945, so his art published during this period is more observational than his traditional style. Here Giles depicts Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, who played a crucial role in directing troops during the Second World War – both in the Western Desert campaign in Egypt and Libya and in Europe from 1944. On the 4th May 1945 Montgomery accepted the surrender of German forces in northwest Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Giles drew this image at Montgomery’s headquarters in Luneberg; it is thought to be one of the first sketches of the Field Marshal in action, as previously he had only been depicted in caricature.

E.H. Shepard, 'The doomed isle', Punch, 7th March 1945 (ES0064)

E.H. Shepard, ‘The doomed isle’, Punch, 7th March 1945 (ES0064)

Cartoonist and illustrator E.H. Shepard’s cartoons from VE day aren’t held in the British Cartoon Archive but we couldn’t resist sharing this work, published in Punch in March 1945. Unusually, Shepard depicts a German soldier (sitting vulnerable in a stormy sea) as the tides of freedom wash in around him. The continuing nature references in these cartoons suggest that there was a feeling in 1945 (and throughout the war) that the world is returning to how it should be rather than what the Nazi party wanted to change it into.

Prior to VE day itself, cartoonists were already echoing political sentiment that the Nazi era was drawing to a close – even before Hitler’s suicide on the 30th April. Here, this drawing by David Low follows on from Shepard above to highlight the aftermath of six years of war:

David Low, [no caption], Evening Standard, 7th May 1945 (DL2415)

David Low, [no caption], Evening Standard, 7th May 1945 (DL2415)

Strube takes a slightly more lighthearted approach to to the collapse of the Nazi regime, using the infamous phrase “joy through strength” here to ridicule Hitler and echo the saying “the wheels are coming off”. An interesting inclusion to Strube’s cartoon is the Roman Emperor, which could either be a reference to the mythology the Nazis sought to uphold or the political disputes which ended many Roman leaders’ reigns.

Sidney 'George' Strube, 'Going- going', Daily Express, 2nd May 1945 (GS0702)

Sidney ‘George’ Strube, ‘Going- going’, Daily Express, 2nd May 1945 (GS0702)

Wordplay can also seen in Giles’ cartoon, published on the 29th April; here, the Nazi motto “One people, one state, one leader” is barely intact amongst the rubble of Germany:

Carl Giles, 'German Landscape', Daily Express, 29th April 1945 (GA5440)

Carl Giles, ‘German Landscape’, Daily Express, 29th April 1945 (GA5440)

The overwhelming majority of cartoonists praise Allied powers for bringing about VE Day, and one man in particular – as depicted here by David Low:

David Low, [no caption], Evening Standard, 12th May 1945 (LSE1229A)

David Low, [no caption], Evening Standard, 12th May 1945 (LSE1229A)

As the war ended in Europe and soldiers began to come home, many artists looked to the future. Once again, David Low summarises public sentiment best: VE Day wasn’t an end, but a beginning – well worth remembering in current times too.

David Low, 'End? No - beginning', Evening Standard, 11th May 1945 (DL2417)

David Low, ‘End? No – beginning’, Evening Standard, 11th May 1945 (DL2417)

As ever, we could continue this exploration of VE day images for ages but why don’t you have a look? You can search through the British Cartoon Archive’s collections here. And if you’ve forgotten what exactly happened during the Second World War, don’t worry – Illingworth has your back:

Leslie Illingworth, [no caption], Daily Mail, 1 May 1945 (ILW0898)

Leslie Illingworth, [no caption], Daily Mail, 1 May 1945 (ILW0898)



10 things you probably didn’t know about windmills

Did you know that Special Collections & Archives hold not one, not two, but four collections relating to windmills and their history? To celebrate National Mills weekend (being held virtually over the bank holiday, 9 – 10 May 2020) we thought we’d put together some interesting facts based on our marvellous mill material! (Alliteration encouraged but not necessary.)

We challenge you not to find windmills awesome after this post

We challenge you not to find windmills awesome after this post

1. Windmills are important sources of local history

We’re so used to living in an age with electrical everything, but before the industrial revolution happened mills were vital sources of power across the UK and Europe. They didn’t need to be near water sources to generate energy and were used for all kinds of work, especially grinding wheat to make flour – vital in a world before mass imported food.

Because mills could be found almost everywhere until the 19th century, they’re a unique source for exploring local history and a great starting point for archive research: who owned the mill? What was it used for? Where was it in the community and how long did it operate for? If it’s no longer around, what’s replaced it on the site? Who worked in mills and how much did they earn? Mills are a great resource for economic, local and art historians alike.

2. Know your mill types: tower mill

Lots of tower mills: note the brick and cylindrical body

Lots of tower mills: note the brick and cylindrical body

If you’ve been following our #WindmillWednesday hashtag on Twitter, you’ll notice that there isn’t just one type of windmill to explore. We traditionally associate windmills with tower mills – they’re fairly cone-like in shape, often brick-based and the sails are attached to a wooden roof that can rotate in the direction of the wind. Tower mills have existed since the 13th century but they became popular from the 16th century onwards; however they’ve always been more expensive to build than other types of mill. In the UK, the tallest existing tower mill can be found at Moulton in Lancashire.

Moulton windmill's workers must have been extremely fit to get all the way to the top (image taken in 1938)

Moulton windmill’s workers must have been extremely fit to get all the way to the top (image taken in 1938)

3. Kent has so many windmills there’s an entire book about them

At one point, Kent had over 400 windmills – with Deal and Sandwich hosting 6 each! Today 12 still exist; Kent County Council look after 6 of them. The definitive work about Kent’s windmills was written by historian William Coles-Finch (1864 – 1944) in 1933. Windmills and Watermills was republished in 1976; we have several copies of each edition. We often get asked “why do you have things relating to windmills anyway?!”; our answer – alongside the local history and generally awesome elements – relates to the creators of the three main mill collections we hold. Keep reading for more information…

4. Know your mill types: post mill

Post mills, not to be confused with post boxes

Post mills, not to be confused with post boxes

Post mills are the earliest known type of European windmill and generally the most affordable to build. They can be recognised easily – they have a blocky, boxy structure that sits on top of one post, often hidden by a cylindrical base. Architecture aside, the main difference between tower mills and post mills is that in post mills the mechanisms are enclosed within the box of the mill (around a single post, hence the name) and it’s this part that turns. In comparison to a tower mill, this is a huge difference – in tower mills it’s only the top of the mill that rotates. Sometimes you’ll see post mills without the cylindrical base, but as it’s pretty useful for storage many are built with this area included as part of the design. In the UK, the longest working post mill can be found in Outwood, Surrey; the oldest non-working mill is in Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire.

Great Gransden windmill shows off its best side (1979)

Great Gransden windmill shows off its best side (1979)

Miller Stanley Jupp looks mighty proud of his Outwood windmill, as he should (1961)

Miller Stanley Jupp looks mighty proud of his Outwood windmill, as he should (1961)

5. The Muggeridge family really liked windmills

The Muggeridge family - father and son

The Muggeridge family – father and son

The largest collection of mill material we look after belongs to the Muggeridges. William Burrell Muggeridge (1884 – 1978) started taking images of mills in 1904 and continued for most of his life; we hold his glass plate photos. William passed his love of all things windmill onto his son, Donald (1918 – 2015) who spent much of his spare time cycling around the UK with his wife Vera. Vera and Donald were interested in all things heritage-related and windmills formed a large part of that interest. Donald’s photographs also reside with us. You can read more about the Muggeridges here.

6. Know your mill types: smock mill

Smock mills in all their finery

Smock mills in all their finery

Like tower mills, smock mills only rotate through the top of the building where the sails are attached. The main difference between smock mills and tower mills is that smock mills are generally constructed of wood and have 6 or 8 sides, whereas tower mills are made of brick and generally cylindrical in shape. Because of their multiple sides smock mills resemble smocks traditionally worn by farmers. In the UK you can find the oldest existing smock mill in Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire.

Lacey Green smock mill looking mighty atmospheric (1934)

Lacey Green smock mill looking mighty atmospheric (1934)

7.  Not just the UK: windmills across the world

The majority of our mill collections focus on UK windmills, but they’re well documented across Europe and beyond. The Netherlands is particularly famous for milling – in 1850 they had 10,000 windmills in operation out of Europe’s 200,000 total! After the Second World War Donald Muggeridge moved to North America (Canada then California), so his collection contains many photos of American mills and others across the globe from his travels. You can explore the listing of Donald’s adventures here.

8. C.P. Davies was also a big mill fan

Our other significant mill collection belonged to C.P. Davies, a Kent based librarian in the 20th century. The Davies collection differs from the Muggeridges’ in that it is much more text and ephemera based – you can find newspaper cuttings, articles, pictures and handwritten notes amongst its c.100 boxes. Davies was primarily focused on mills along the south coast (Kent and Sussex), but there’s information about a wide variety of mills across the UK and Europe. You can browse the listing of the collection here.

9. One final Kent name to remember: the Holman family

Two of the scrapbooks from the Holman family. There's at least one cute sheep photo within.

Two of the scrapbooks from the Holman family. There’s at least one cute sheep photo within.

If you’ve visited Special Collections & Archives on an open day in the past few years, you may well have seen one of our gorgeous windmill scrapbooks. These scrapbooks were made by John Holman; his collection also includes engineering notebooks and many other memorabilia relating to mills. The Holmans were a famous milling family in Kent; they built twelve wooden smock mills across the county between 1793 and 1928, of which six still stand. The Holman milling business (which included engineering and designing mill parts too) ran for 150 years. If you’re interested in finding out more about them, The Mills Archive have a wonderful biography of the Holmans online.

10. Mills have switched from practical structures to heritage buildings

Nowadays most mills aren’t in use for power generation as there are far more efficient methods, and the number of buildings that still exist are far fewer. As you might expect given their structure and components, windmills are at risk from bad weather, neglect and occasionally fires – there are a lot of photos across all our mill collections that record the damage time does to these marvellous machines. However many mills now are managed either through county councils (Kent County Council looks after eight of twelve remaining) or via volunteer charities. They often open for visitors in the summer months, and initiatives like the National Mills weekend help to raise support and awareness.

If you’ve read this far…congratulations! You may now call yourself a molinologist, aka someone who studies mills! Maybe one day you will find yourself seeking out windmills far and wide, like the author of this blog:

Zaanse Schaans windmills in 2018 and 1982.

Windmills: guaranteed to make you happy!

Resources and references:

Kent County Council have a fantastic resource pack to teach children (and adults) about windmills:

The Mills Archive is a fantastic site for molinologists of all ages but we particularly like their biography of the Holman family: 

For much-needed reading, the Wikipedia pages on windmills are a great place to start (and very thorough):

The majority of our windmill collections are catalogued; you can view details of their contents here: 

We are continuously cataloguing our library of mill-related books, and you can view up to date listings on LibrarySearch:

All photographs used in the hybrid images in this post are from our Muggeridge collection:

Print Works: Part Two – The Thanet Press

Special Collections & Archives has been working with Appletye – an artists’-led organisation based in Margate – to support their mission to record the Isle of Thanet’s rich printing heritage. In lieu of a physical display in Spring 2020 these guest blogs by Dan Thompson and Dawn Cole are our virtual equivalent – we hope you enjoy!

In 1887 Frederick J Bobby, who had been running a small store in Bedford, moved to Margate and took over the Smeeds store, on the junction of Margate High Street and Cecil Square. With business booming, over the next few years Bobby’s acquired neighbouring premises to expand the business. In 1907, he bought a nearby stationers, and print works in Well-close Square. 

obby & Co’s Union Crescent works, depicted on a 1970s Eyre & Spottiswoode Christmas Card. The original print works were in the building to the left.

Bobby & Co’s Union Crescent works, depicted on a 1970s Eyre & Spottiswoode Christmas Card. The original print works were in the building to the left.

In 1909, Bobby demolished the old Smeed’s building, and the other shops he had acquired, to build Margate’s first department store, which would trade until 1972.

And in 1913, the Bobby’s printworks were moved from Well-close Square to a new, purpose-built factory in Union Crescent which still stands today. Next door was Bobby’s furniture factory and a trade showroom, and behind the works was Margate’s old Theatre Royal, which Bobby & Co used as a warehouse. The 1920s and 1930s were good years for Bobby & Co, and they employed famous commercial artist F Gregory Brown to design posters for the stores, as they expanded to other seaside towns. Bobby & Co’s presses worked until the end of the Second World War, printing material for the department store chain as well as for other commercial clients. 

In 1947, publishers Eyre & Spottiswoode took over the former Bobby & Co works. Their three London printworks had all been bombed, leaving them with a three metre deep pool of lead in the basement, so they moved their letterpress works to three new sites – Portsmouth, Chiswick and Margate. 

Advertisement for The Thanet Press

Advertisement for The Thanet Press

From 1953 to 1962, they expanded the Thanet Press and added a range of new buildings, creating almost 4500 square metres of floor space. By 1977, they had over 260 staff and were moving from traditional letterpress to digital typesetting. They printed exam papers, guides to buildings owned by the Ministry of Works (now English Heritage), academic magazines and journals, the order of service for the Queen’s coronation and Prince Margaret’s wedding programme. and packaging for high-end brands like Wedgwood.

For 30 years, Christopher Bradshaw was chief designer for Eyre & Spottiswoode. Passionate about traditional skills and craftsmanship (he was a founder of the Printing Historical Society) he was also an early advocate of computer design. He wrote Design (1964), on the theory of design, and commissioned Michael Twyman’s Printing 1770-1970 (1970), still a definitive book about the print industry.

Advertisement for Bobby's at Margate and Cliftonville

Advertisement for Bobby’s at Margate and Cliftonville

But by 1985, the print industry was facing radical disruption from new technology and Thanet Press was in trouble. Waddington & Co took over the struggling business and the 200 year connection to the Eyre family was lost. 

The company changed hands a few times but by 2011, now owned by the Graham Cumming Group and with staff reduced to just 85, Thanet Press was pushed into administration.

After being left derelict, and nearly being demolished to build social housing, The Thanet Press site has been split up. Part of it is the Carl Freedman Gallery, another will soon be Tracey Emin’s new studios. Upstairs, in the old bindery, is Counter Editions – producing limited edition prints for artists including Anthony Gornley, Bridget Riley, David Shrigley, and Juergen Teller. Printing has happened here for over 110 years.


About the Print Works project:

Print Works is a year-long project from Appletye, an arts and heritage organisation. The project explores the history of the print industry on the Isle of Thanet, taking inspiration from two former companies and the heritage of the sites they occupied at Thanet Press, Union Crescent, Margate and Martell Press, Northdown Road, Cliftonville. At the heart of the project are archives from the two Margate firms, recording the stories of the people who worked there and the work they did.

Using the Print Works archive:

The Print Works archives include hundreds of examples of material printed in a pre-digital age, including much related to Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate. It includes print for seaside hotels, entertainment venues, and tourism businesses.

The archive also includes documents relating to working in the print industry in the 20th century, from apprenticeship indentures to certificates from a print factory’s Horticultural Club. There are documents relating to design, typography, and the move from analogue processes like typography to digital design and print.

The archive is new, so includes primary material not used before in academic research. It is held at a studio in Margate. For more information email

Print Works is supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Shopping in Special Collections & Archives

In addition to keeping the Templeman Library a welcoming place for all, our Learning Environment Assistant Christine Davies has been exploring fashion in our collections this year! We hope you enjoy this blog post by her – and look out for details of rescheduled events when we’re open again.

I am by nature whimsical and self-indulgent, and not generally inclined to resolutions that champion achievement from self-deprivation. And yet, on January 1st, 2020, I resolved not to buy any new clothes for a whole year. I have, like many others, been cluing up on the subject of sustainability in the fashion industry and if you haven’t already seen it, I can recommend Stacey Dooley’s ‘Fashion’s dirty secrets’ documentary released last summer and still available on BOB. However, I love clothes. I have always been fascinated with the creative and complex possibilities that clothing affords, for self-expression, negotiation, transformation. I enjoy the lure of fashion, but also take delight in ignoring its dictates with regard to my personal wardrobe. Make no mistake, I fully intend to return to the high street next year, just hopefully better equipped to make more ethical and considered choices. However, to mitigate my material loss in the meantime, I have been spending some time browsing the fashions of the past, and discovered a veritable boutique in our Special Collections & Archives. Since Covid-19 has put a temporary stop to my reading room visits, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take stock and share some of my favourite finds with you.

The history of fashion magazines goes back a long way, and we are lucky to have two examples of the ultimate trend-setter in this genre, The Lady’s Magazine – a monthly miscellany founded in 1770 that, from its inception, supplied readers with embroidery patterns and pilfered reports on fashions worn at court and in Paris. Special Collections has a rare single issue of The Lady’s Magazine for October 1771 and a bound volume for 1798, which, whilst sadly lacking embroidery patterns, nevertheless hold fascinating insights into historical dress. Another selling point for the magazine was its literary content, and each issue was illustrated with a monochrome copperplate engraving that often featured subjects wearing contemporary dress. As we can tell from figs. 1 and 2, 27 years can make a considerable difference – just notice the rising waistline!

Figure 1: The Lady's Magazine Vol. 2(15), Oct. 1771.

Figure 1: The Lady’s Magazine Vol. 2(15), Oct. 1771.

Figure 2: The Lady's Magazine Vol. 29, Oct. 1798.

Figure 2: The Lady’s Magazine Vol. 29, Oct. 1798.

For those interested in further contextualising the development of The Lady’s Magazine, you can access the entire run digitally on Adam Matthew. Also, check out Professor Jennie Batchelor’s blog for an exhilarating and in-depth discussion of the magazine, including its fashion content.

Moving into the nineteenth century, Special Collections also has some wonderful copies of La Belle Assemblée (vols. 5-11, 13, Jan. 1812-Jun. 1815, Jan.-Jun. 1816) and select issues of Le Monde Élégant, or the World of Fashion (nos. 455, Nov. 1861; 460, Apr. 1862; 461, May 1862; 473, May 1863; and 478, Oct. 1863), publications which show us how the form developed over several decades. Since I am not an expert in this field, I will keep my observations to the examples in Special Collections & Archives, but again, you can access the complete run of these publications on e-resources like Gale.

La Belle Assemblée was founded in 1806 and ran concurrently with The Lady’s Magazine; it employed a similar formula with regards to content, but swiftly invested in upscaling its fashion column to include extensive commentary and hand-coloured fashion plates. (It took The Lady’s Magazine thirty years to introduce its first fashion plates in colour, but of course this still preceded La Belle Assemblée by six). La Belle Assemblée also consistently supplied its readers with embroidery patterns in its monthly issues, and we are lucky that these survive in the Special Collections & Archives copies, providing key insights into Regency material life. In the issues at hand, the patterns typically consist of two running borders, either geometric or organic in style, which could be adapted for different garments; favourite motifs, as you can see from figs. 3 and 4, included wheat sheaves and neoclassical key patterns, or frets.

Figure 3: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 7, Jun. 1813.

Figure 3: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 7, Jun. 1813.

Figure 4: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 9, Apr. 1814.

Figure 4: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 9, Apr. 1814.

What strikes me the most, however, is the complexity of the fashion plates themselves. At first glance, they project a delightful whimsy, using colour, composition and exquisite detail to sell a lifestyle grounded in aesthetics and aspiration, and inflected, of course, with contemporary gender ideology. For the most part, the plates feature a female individual, predominantly as a full-length forward-facing standing figure – a format favoured in fashion plates generally at this time – to show both garment and figure to most advantage (think, Miss Bingley in Pride and Prejudice). I am particularly interested in fashion’s narratives of femininity, and figs. 5 and 6 are examples of plates that indisputably advocate the merits of beauty and domesticity, featuring women at their dressing-tables, pursuing sedentary activities or caring for children.

Figure 5: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 5, Jun. 1812.

Figure 5: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 5, Jun. 1812.

Figure 6: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 6, Nov. 1812.

Figure 6: La Belle Assemblée Vol. 6, Nov. 1812.

Having said this, the occasional plate was also dedicated to riding dress, (arguably the equivalent of sportswear today) featuring women with whip in hand. The plates must also be considered in the context of their accompanying commentary, which often reveals women in an alternative entrepreneurial light. In the Special Collections & Archives holdings of La Belle Assemblée, we learn that several of the featured garments derive from the creative and professional skills of the following London-based business women: Mrs. Schabner, of Tavistock-street; Miss Walters, of Wigmore-street; Mrs. Thomas, of Chancery-lane; Miss Powell, of Piccadilly; and, unsurprisingly, of a Mrs. Bell (who was successful enough to upscale from Bloomsbury to Bedford Square in the course of these few years).

In Le Monde Élégant, the fashion plates become the raison d’être of the women’s magazine – as would be the case from hereon (I don’t know about you, but it’s rare that I actually read a column in Vogue, etc., preferring to flip through the glossy photographs, cooing and grimacing by turns). By the 1860s, Le Monde Élégant had evolved through several different titles and had several achievements, not least becoming the first magazine to introduce paper sewing patterns in the 1850s, each month enabling readers to reconstruct one of the illustrated garments for themselves. The magazine also pointed out how readers could make variations with the patterns, to suit different tastes. Intended for immediate consumption – like the embroidery patterns of earlier magazines – these were an ephemeral component of the magazine, and unfortunately do not survive in the copies held in Special Collections & Archives.

Nevertheless, we can see how the magazine sought to have real material application for its readers whilst showcasing fashions that were, for the most part, unobtainable for the middle classes. The magazine supplied five plates per issue, larger in scale than those of La Belle Assemblée, of which four were in colour, consistently featuring a group of three figures, and one in black and white, covering millinery. Of the examples at hand, the figures are entirely female, though fashion magazines in Britain had started incorporating male figures as early as 1812 (yes, you’ve guessed it, in The Lady’s Magazine). Whilst there is surely a lot more that we could explore, I think for now, we should draw this post to a close. So, to end, here are my personal favourites from Le Monde Élégant (see figs. 7 and 8).

Figure 7: Le Monde Élégant No. 455, Nov. 1861.

Figure 7: Le Monde Élégant No. 455, Nov. 1861.

Figure 8: Le Monde Élégant No. 460, Apr. 1862.

Figure 8: Le Monde Élégant No. 460, Apr. 1862.

All details of Special Collections & Archives journal holdings can be found through LibrarySearch. Thanks again Christine for a wonderful blog!

Coronavirus: collecting your experiences

SCA wants your experiences of the coronavirus pandemic - in any form you'd like

SCA wants your experiences of the coronavirus pandemic – in any form you’d like


All of us are experiencing an exceptional time in our lives, where the COVID-19 coronavirus has had an impact on how we live, how we work, and how we interact with each other. Archives have an important role in recording these extraordinary times. In Special Collections & Archives we preserve the history of the University of Kent and the history of the regions and communities of which the University is a part, and we would like to create an archive collection that records the experiences of people in Kent in relation to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

We would like to collect records of your experiences of – and responses to – the pandemic. Your record of your experience can be anything – including diaries or journals, artistic responses, poetry, short videos, and photographs. This can be in digital or physical form and we invite responses from all members of the community – whether you are juggling working at home with caring responsibilities, trying to carry on studying, volunteering in your community to shop or chat to others, or working on the front line as a keyworker.

Your contribution to the archive will be kept by Special Collections & Archives as a donated item and we will catalogue and preserve it alongside our other archive collections. It will also be made accessible to others in our reading room, contributing to research and engaging people with this important part of history.

If you would like to contribute something, then please start to make your record in whichever form you choose. We’ll provide more information about how to send your responses in at a later date. If you have any questions about this project, then please contact

For information about Templeman Library resources during this period please click here. If you’d like to know about how Special Collections & Archives can support your research digitally please click here