From the Collections

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  • Barberries, saffron and almond milk: the flavours of 2015 … and 1662


    Holly Story from the Library’s media team has been delving in to one of our many historical recipe books. Here’s what she discovered from the point of view of a curious cook rather than an historian or archivist. In the… Continue reading

  • A gift for Disability History Month


    A Gift for Love is a film about a seven-year-old girl, Judy, played by Amanda Humby, finding her mother the perfect Christmas present with the 6 shillings and 8 pence in her money box. The only problem is that they… Continue reading

  • A hot-wax fingerprint Christmas card


    How many Christmas cards will you send this year, if at all? The vogue for hand-crafted cards is gradually disappearing as we become ever more digital in sending out festive wishes each year. There is a particularly interesting example of… Continue reading

  • Christmas greetings from the trenches


    For troops at the battlefront during World War I, letters and postcards were the only form of communication with home. Writing to their families and loved ones held particular significance at Christmas. It appears that some army divisions produced their… Continue reading

  • Michael Ashburner archive: the second release


    Michael Ashburner is a world authority on the genetics and genome sequence of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The second batch of records from the Ashburner archive is now available to view at the Wellcome Library (reference PP/MIA). This batch… Continue reading

  • The fashionable barber


    Now that you have grown that beard or moustache for Movember, take the advice of a couple of barbers on how to keep it smart throughout Decembeard. Because, as any hipster will tell you, there’s more to having a beard… Continue reading

  • Bearded ladies on display


    Bearded ladies have long been one of the most familiar of performers in travelling shows and circuses. Often it was the contrast between their femininity and their wild, masculine appearance – bearded face and hairy body – that attracted an audience.… Continue reading

  • Dyeing for whiskers


    There have always been attempts to curb the hair loss and greyness long associated with ageing. A beard that grew a different colour to the head hair, for example, could be – and still can be – an irritating inconsistency.… Continue reading

  • Medieval embroidered binding.

    Another enigma: reading the embroidered binding of MS. 8932


    As noted by Elma Brenner in her post ‘The enigma of the medieval almanac’, Wellcome MS. 8932, a folding almanac produced in England in the first part of the 15th century, is a remarkable object. The almanac is of great… Continue reading

  • Faux french firefighters with false beards


    In the Library collections is this print intriguingly captioned “The false bearded sapeurs-pompiers at Fourneaux”. The caption tells us that the figures are firefighters in a small town on the French-Italian border, but what’s the story behind the false beards?… Continue reading