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2015 in the Reading Room!

At the close of 2015, our Reading Room reflects on all that has occurred over the past year.

Victoria Joynes

The big 2016 is nearly upon us and we are preparing to celebrate this big anniversary year! However, we could not let 2015 slip away without taking a look back at some of the frankly bizarre photographs we have taken of various events this year...


In January we put together a collections display as part of the annual Winter School programme. This covered the theme of conflict through history and included a new Agincourt display board to mark the 600th anniversary of the battle.

winter school

One of our favourite new discoveries this year is this early printed book from 1653 by J. B. Bulwer which provides a lot of information about different types of beards! Here is the full title:

Anthropometamorphosis: = man transform'd: or, the artificiall changling historically presented, in the mad and cruell gallantry, foolish bravery, ridiculous beauty, filthy finenesse, and loathsome loveliness of most nations, fashioning and altering their bodies from the mould intended by nature; with figures of those transfigurations. To which artificiall and affected deformations are added, all the native and nationall monstrosities that have appeared to disfigure the humane fabrick. With a vindication of the regular beauty and honesty of nature. And an appendix of the pedigree of the English gallant. Scripsit J.B. cognomento chirosophus. M.D.

J. B. (John Bulwer), fl. 1648-1654.


We waved goodbye to our good friend Henry Ireton who has been keeping an eye on the Reading Room for quite some time. He has gone on loan to the National Civil War Centre in Newark and he was replaced with a portrait of Sir George Carew who has now made his way into the Treasures exhibition in the Shakespeare Centre. So presently we are awaiting a new companion in the Reading Room!

bye bye ireton

Conservation has been a big priority this year, so Rachael's team of volunteers have been cleaning documents in the Reading Room on closed days.

cleaning doc

We provided two collections displays for events to launch Stanley Wells' Great Shakespeare Actors book and enjoyed finding materials from different parts of the collections to represent each actor covered.

friends event

We delivered talks to some wonderful University groups including old friends from Groningen University.

Groningen rude word reveal

We celebrated Customer Service Week in the Reading Room by launching our Reader Welcome packs complete with Customer Charter, and we were given cake and balloons to enjoy for the week (though the cake didn't last seven days!). We also experienced the solar eclipse on an already cloudy day.

Customer Service Week

We held our annual £Heritage Open Day event in September and Explore Your Archive in November.

eya bread
Blog Jessie in the Stacks

We met students from the Shakespeare Institute and introduced them to our collections…

Shakespeare Institute

We were taken over in November by children from Bridgetown Primary School and even put a woolly rabbit in charge for "National Wool Week.

Woolly - stuffed rabbit collections

We have enjoyed meeting groups and readers from all over the world this year and have explored a wide range of topics in the Reading Room. We would like to say Happy New Year to all of our Reading Room visitors, groups that we have spoken to and readers of our blogs as we look forward to 2016!