An immense fireplace (maybe a metre long) with storytelling panels, recalling both the author’s life and Dante’s Inferno — carved entirely in soap. An Egyptian head carved in matchsticks.
It was thought, in the 12th century, that elephants do not have knee joints, meaning that if they fell over they could never get up.
The Wellcome Collection is a place after my own heart — according to their website, they are ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’, a museum whose amazingly curated exhibitions I’ve been visiting religiously ever since stumbling upon one of them about a year ago. Built around the artefact collection of Sir Henry Wellcome, their…
Our Ely visit started perfectly — on a bench in the sun, with a lovely view of the cathedral’s West tower (see featured image). Rosie, the trainee at King’s Ely school, offered us a quick summary of how the school works: it’s a coeducational independent day and boarding school. Its buildings are spread throughout the centre…
Hidden away behind a small black door on Free School Lane, the Cambridge Colleges’ Conservation Consortium (CCCC) is a small but very exciting place. Founded in 1987, its mission is to conserve and preserve valuable manuscripts and books from the libraries of member colleges. Eleven Cambridge colleges are permanent members at the moment, with another…
Our visit ended with Heidi, Archives Assistant and one of the three lovely ladies who showed us around the archive, sharing her favourite item in the collection with us. This was Stanley the Cat – a toy cat, black and fluffy, which guarded 10 Downing Street (photographic proof was provided!) throughout some of Thatcher’s regime.
There is only one ARU library, and yet it seems to cover and provide for the bookish needs of its entire student body very well.
The picture we were shown was of a couple of ferns, whose seeds were thinly visible through the leaves, and whose intricate roots still showed bits of mud.
It seems like a gargantuan task to handle, but it also has a number of hidden jewels. My favourites were photographer Lilian Ream’s glass plate negatives – large, heavy, kept in special boxes – and a few minuscule jam jars (filled with real jam and marmalade!) from the set made for Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House.
‘How many people in this room know what we actually do here, at the Warburg Institute?’ asked the director of the institute at the start of the Open Day. No hands went up.
We were also told about a set of Chinese oracle bones, the oldest inscribed item that the library holds. These have also been photographed in order to create a 3D image, after which copies were subsequently made using 3D printing – visitors often confuse these for the real thing.