Last year we were delighted to work with Laura Mansfield and Elisa Oliver from the Manchester School of Art on a project inspired by our Home Studies Collection. Laura and Elisa secured funding from the Arts Council to invite a group of academics, artists and writers to undertake a period of research into the Home Studies Collection in order to develop a series of contemporary responses to the historical material.
The group consisted of Catherine Bertola, Augusto Correiri, Bryce Evans, Beryl Pattern, Rachel Rich and Susanna Worth. Their research was presented in a series of public discussions held here at Special Collections between April-July last year and is now available in a newly published book of essays. You can read a hard copy of the beautifully designed book in our Reading Room and it is also available to download here.
We recently came across this charming little pamphlet about the origin of Simnel Cakes in our Home Studies Collection. The pamphlet was produced by Manchester based confectioners Thomas Parker and Sons Ltd, who were established in 1832. They had shops on St Mary’s Gate and St Ann’s Square and were Confectioners by Appointment to the late King Edward VII.
BBC Two is currently airing another series of Back in Time for Dinner, which transports a modern day family to another era, on this occasion to the period spanning 1900 – 1949. The success of such television series, which recreate the day to day lives of people from earlier times, points to an enduring curiosity surrounding the history of domestic life, and an ongoing interest in the food people ate.
We have witnessed a similar level of interest from people who have used our Home Studies Collection, which appeals to everyone from the amateur cook to the social historian. It holds more than 700 books from the last 300 years covering everything from food production, preservation and technology, to home economics, family living and domestic and regional cookery. It includes works by Alexis Soyer, Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin, Elizabeth Raffald, Eliza Acton and Mrs Beeton. Here are a few highlights from the collection…