On 13th June, Lower 6th History students visited Birmingham University library to help with our A-Level coursework, which involves researching a 100 year period of our choice. As you can imagine, there are a myriad of possible topics to choose from, so the library was an excellent place to start. We were shown around by a member of staff from the University, who directed us on how to navigate the profusion of shelves, including moving ones, which many of us were fascinated by and the library catalogue. We all found our respective books and, despite the fact that we were not allowed to take them out, we were able to gain a great deal of useful information, which will undoubtedly help us with our coursework. Examples of topics that were chosen included: the Italian Renaissance and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
On 20th June, we went to the Cadbury Research Library, which is an archive located on the University of Birmingham campus. We were shown the archive storage room, which houses the archives in special fireproof, waterproof and non-acidic cardboard boxes; all the rooms are also temperature controlled to preserve the artefacts, some of which date back 2,500 years.
We were then very lucky to be able to handle some original archives, including a first edition of Daemonologie by James I, dating back to the 17th century and, after gaining some insight into his character, we have now decided that James I is our favourite monarch! We loved how his writing felt so personal, particularly as he addressed us as ‘beloved reader’ and included a sonnet for his son, Henry. Other artefacts included posters from Soviet Russia and books on witchcraft from the Elizabethan period. Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful experience; we will definitely be visiting again.