Visit Thirteen – Purple Thrones and Circularity at the Divinity Library

Divinity (now called ‘Theology and Religious Studies’ although the faculty has retained its old name) is one of only two subjects to have been taught at Cambridge throughout its history. Despite its age, the faculty has kept up with the times: not only is the curriculum constantly evolving, it is also housed (since 2001) in…

Visit Twelve – Life Masks and Hornbooks at St John’s and Trinity libraries

After three editions published as small volumes, with no illustrations or preface, the publisher Jacob Tonson put out this large edition, ‘adorn’d with sculptures’ (i.e., engravings), with a portrait of Milton at the start and enough room for the text to breathe and sprawl as the author had intended it to. Paradise Lost suddenly became wildly popular…

Visit Eight – Rainbow Nooks and Rainbow Eels in Ely

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…

Visit Seven – Burning Ink and 77 Sheep at the CCCC and the Whipple

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…

Visit Six – Stanley the Cat and USB drives at the Churchill Archives

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.