Manuscripts and Special Collections

Collected Words


Collected Words: 

From the Literary Collections at the University of Nottingham

Dates: Friday 8 September - Sunday 3 December

Admission free

In 2015 Nottingham became one of only 20 cities around the world to be recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature – a reflection of the city’s unique literary heritage and creativity. This exhibition of material from the literary archives and collections of printed books held by the University of Nottingham, highlights the work of Nottinghamshire writers and the treasures to be found in the historic collections of local literature lovers. It also looks at the University’s role in shaping the reputations and inspiring the early careers of local poets and authors.

This exhibition offers the opportunity to see a range of literary material including a masterpiece of medieval poetry and the recently acquired previously unknown typescript of Pansies (a late collection of poems by DH Lawrence which attracted the attention of the Home Office on grounds of indecency).


Collected Email Signature Final smaller still

The exhibition looks at how authors down the centuries have been inspired by different aspects of Nottinghamshire, ranging from the beauty of the countryside to the often harsh realities of industrial working life. The importance of local aristocratic families as early book collectors and authors is also examined, drawing on the literary papers from the Library of the Dukes of Portland at Welbeck Abbey, which contains gatherings of the manuscripts of poets including the Duchess of Newcastle, known to some as Mad Madge but celebrated by others as the earliest writer of science fiction. Visitors will also see a curious manuscript describing the antics of ‘Restoration rock star’ poet, the Earl of Rochester.

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

Location and Opening Times

Weston Gallery 
DH Lawrence Pavilion 
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park 

Box Office : 0115 8467777  

Opening times:

Tuesday to Friday 11am-4pm
Saturday and Sunday noon-4pm

Closed on Mondays

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A short promotional film about the exhibition is available here:



Talk by author and alumna Clare Harvey and tour of the exhibition 

Monday 6th November 2017 1pm to 2pm

Free admission, booking essential: 0115 9514565

Clare Harvey flyer



A series of talks and events will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office online or by calling 0115 8467777. See the exhibition page at Lakeside Arts Centre for further details and booking links.

Lunchtime talks  

Djanogly Theatre

All talks are 1 - 2 pm

28 September

New Additions to the DH Lawrence Collections

In this talk Dr Andrew Harrison will discuss and interpret several recently acquired items in the University’s internationally recognised Lawrence Collections, including a manuscript of ‘Laura Philippine’ and a rare typescript of Pansies, which is displayed for the first time in the exhibition.

12 October

Reading Nottingham's Unread: Republishing James Prior's Forest Folk

First published in 1901, Prior’s pacy novel is set in Blidworth against a background of the Napoleonic Wars and Luddite riots. It lay unnoticed for many years, although DH Lawrence rated Prior’s work. Then, in 2016, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Spokesman Books co-published DAWN OF THE UNREAD, graphic accounts of vengeful local writers resolute on being read by new generations. In the ferment, Forest Folk clawed its way into view. In this talk, Tony Simpson discusses how it will fare in the bookshops of 2017. 

26 October

Local Author Alison Moore: Location and Landscape

Man Booker Prize shortlisted writer of fiction, Alison Moore, will be exploring the influence of location and landscape in her novels, including a work in progress. She will be looking at inspiration, research and the fictionalisation of settings including the English Midlands, the Scottish Borders, the Rhineland and the seaside. 

16 November

Castrating Rochester: John Wilmot's Manuscript Poetry

Due to unforeseen circumstances this talk has been cancelled. We apologise for any disappointment caused. 


Special Events

7.30pm, Djanogly Theatre

26 October: Film Screening

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) PG. Director Karel Reisz

£5 (£3 concs)

This award winning film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe. Nottingham was used as the location for much of the exterior filming, and the novel’s anti-hero, Arthur Seaton, worked at the Raleigh bicycle factory.

The film will be introduced by Nottingham based performance poet, writer and film fanatic, Andrew Graves, who will examine the piece's themes, lasting appeal and the important part it played in the British New Wave cinema of the 1960s.


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651