What’s in the Epsom Archive? Not just a Room of Dusty Old Books.

Not just a Room of Dusty Old Books.

As the archive room is relatively new at Epsom, tucked away near the equipment hire, it might not have surfaced on your radar. I thought I’d share with you some of our finds to entice you to visit us.

Leighton and I are Gateway Advisers by day but have volunteered to help in the Epsom archive room (as Rebekah Taylor the actual archivist is based in Farnham.) We open the room twice a week to students and staff and during that time have come across some real treasures.

For instance, who is this glamorous member of staff photographed on a Fashion Department outing to Ascot in 1962?

Espom School of Fashion staff

This is just one of the photographs and newspaper clippings lovingly preserved in a scrapbook covering 1961 to 1995. It’s a real insight into UCA Epsom through the ages. A brilliant place to start your research as there are examples of fashion through the ages, student unrest, politics, sexism…. It’s all there when you start to read.

Graphic design students may be interested to know that the archive room houses a vast collection of books published by ‘The Diagram Group’. If you are unfamiliar with their work, they specialise in detailed diagrams, charts, maps and illustrations. The group is also responsible for the hilarious ‘Diagram Award’ presented each year to the book with the oddest title. Awards in the past have been given to ‘Living with Crazy Buttocks’ in 2002, ‘Bombproof your Horse’ in 2004 and ‘Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way’ in 2010.

Not only do we have the books but all the original artwork and layouts. From ‘Card Games’ to ‘Early Man’, ‘the Sex Lives of Animals’ to ‘How to be a Success’!

Epsom Diagram Group How to be a Success

We have zines and artists’ books galore, some created by UCA staff, which are marvellous sources for fine art, illustration and graphics. We have student publications like ‘Jigsaw’ from 1976 created by 2nd year Communications Design students. Their brief was to create a newspaper each day for one week and they feature news, interviews, recipes, tips, cartoons and small ads.

For Royal family fans, there are copies of fragile, old newspapers from the 1930’s of King George V’s demise, King Edward’s abdication and the Coronation of King Edward VI. We have the 1953 edition of ‘The Times’ and the ‘Picture Post’ covering Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and the more recent Royal Wedding Souvenir of Charles and Diana.

There are a plethora of Victorian handwritten letters and postcards regarding Art school business. They are such wonderful examples of Victorian copperplate writing; unfortunately now a dying skill. This memo dates from 1896 and is just one of many acceptances to the opening ceremony of ‘The Epsom Technical Institute and School of Art’ in 24th July and shows beautiful penmanship.

Epsom handwritten

So why not give us a visit? We are open during term time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3pm or by special request. Ask at the Gateway desk or email archives@ucreative.ac.uk.

Tiffany Gregory, Advisor, Library & Student Services, Epsom campus

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