The Sons of C.P. Scott, and The Scott Trust


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This month’s blog post focuses upon Edward Taylor Scott, and John Russell Scott, sons of C.P. Scott, both of whom worked at the Manchester Guardian, E.T. Scott as a journalist, and J.R. Scott as business manager.

E.T. Scott succeeded his father as editor of the paper on C.P. Scott’s retirement in 1929, but his time in this role was to be short, owing to his unexpected death in 1932 in a boating accident on Lake Windermere, in the company of his son, Richard. He would outlive his father by less than 4 months.

The overriding intention of both E.T. Scott and J.R. Scott, following the death of their father, was to ensure that the Manchester Guardian continued to operate according to the ideals and standards set by C.P. Scott. It was a little poignant, therefore, to discover the last letter ever written by J.R. Scott to his brother, in 1932, and for that letter to relate to the Scott brothers’ last will and testaments, the appointment of executors, and the preparation of an agreement for the distribution of their shares in the Manchester Guardian.


Reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd

The envelope which contained the letter has also been included, and has been inscribed, in an unknown hand: ‘Letter written to E.T.S. on the day of his death and posted to him at Windermere – recovered unopened.’


Reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd

Following his brother’s death, in accordance with this proposed agreement, J.R. Scott bought all of his brother’s shares, becoming the sole holder of the ordinary shares in the paper. The death duties generated by E.T. Scott’s unexpected demise meant that J.R. Scott had to find a new solution for ensuring the future of the Manchester Guardian as the Liberal paper of international renown that his father had shaped.

J.R. Scott’s answer was the creation of The Scott Trust. He divested himself of all financial interest in the paper, transferring all of the ordinary shares to the trust, and appointed seven trustees, who would henceforth be responsible for the management of the paper. These seven trustees included J.R. Scott’s son, Lawrence Scott, his nephew, Evelyn Montague, and the editors of the Manchester Guardian and the Manchester Evening News, W.P. Crozier and Sir William Haley.

The core purpose of The Scott Trust is outlined as: ‘to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity: as a quality national newspaper without party affiliation; remaining faithful to its liberal tradition; as a profit-seeking enterprise managed in an efficient and cost-effective manner.’

E.T. Scott’s son, Richard Scott, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a journalist, and also a member of the Scott Trust. Today, the Guardian continues to be owned and managed by The Scott Trust Ltd, and there is still a member of the Scott family on the board, Russell Scott. As a result of J.R. Scott’s unusually selfless action, he was able to achieve for perpetuity the pledge to the future of the Manchester Guardian that he and his brother made in 1932.


Researching the Macklin Bible (1800), by Dr Naomi Billingsley

Art History UoM Index

The John Rylands Research Institute is a diverse community of researchers, working in partnership with the John Rylands Library. I joined the Institute last month as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, and I am also affiliated with Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. I was previously at Manchester for my PhD (2012-2015), which focused on William Blake’s depictions of Christ.

My new research project is about the Macklin Bible. Thomas Macklin (1752/3-1800) was a publisher and dealer of pictures, based in London in the late eighteenth century. In 1788 he opened a ‘Poet’s Gallery’ to exhibit and reproduce in engravings paintings by eminent British artists of great works of English poetry. The following year, Macklin announced that he would add scripture pictures to the exhibition, which would be reproduced in an ambitious illustrated Bible. Biblical paintings were included in Macklin’s exhibitions in the years 1790-93, and the printed…

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Celebrating Robert Angus Smith, ‘Father of Acid Rain’, born 200 years ago today


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Robert Angus Smith (1817-84). Copyright The Royal Society of Chemistry.

15 February 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Angus Smith, chemist and environmental scientist, popularly known as the ‘Father of Acid Rain’.

Smith was born in Pollokshaws near Glasgow, on 15 February 1817, and attended Glasgow University, though he left without a degree after only one year. He later obtained a PhD in Germany under Justus von Liebig.

In 1843 Smith was appointed as assistant to Lyon Playfair, professor of chemistry at the Manchester Royal Institution. Although Playfair moved to London in 1845, Smith remained in Manchester for the next twenty years, working as an analytical chemist. He investigated and campaigned against the appalling sanitary conditions in Manchester and the surrounding towns, where industrial pollution was a major health hazard. He was appointed the first chief inspector under the Alkali Act of 1863.

Smith graphically described the effects of Manchester’s polluted atmosphere, in a letter to the Manchester Guardian published on 2 November 1844:

Coming in from the country last week on a beautiful morning, when the air was unusually clear and fresh, I was surprised to find Manchester was enjoying the atmosphere of a dark December day… Those who would defend such evils, who would remain careless as long as any probable cause is unremoved, must surely be devoid not only of mercy, but of clear perception and of good taste. The gloominess of uncleanness is everywhere around us.

Smith studied the effects of pollution on the atmosphere, which resulted in the formation of carbonic acid, or ‘acid rain’ – a term he coined. In 1872 he published his seminal analysis of the acidity of rainwater in Britain, Air and Rain: The Beginning of a Chemical Climatology. In many ways he was a forerunner of today’s environmentalists, although it would take another hundred years before governments heeded his warnings about acid rain.


Rainwater crystals, from Robert Angus Smith, Air and Rain: The Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology (London: Longmans, Green, 1872). This copy was presented by Smith to the physicist James Prescott Joule. Pressmark: J200011.

The Library holds the Smith Memorial Collection of books on chemistry and physics, which was formed by Smith and donated after his death to Owens College (forerunner of The University of Manchester) in 1885.

Jeff Nuttall oral history project


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Imogen Durant writes:

Did you know Jeff Nuttall? We are working on an exciting new oral history project and want to get in touch with anyone who knew or worked with Jeff. The project aims to capture and record memories of people who knew Jeff, both personally and professionally. These recordings will make up a digital sound archive which will supplement our written collection of Jeff Nuttall’s papers in the Special Collections of  the University of Manchester Library.


Jeff Nuttall. Photograph courtesy of Christine Bank.

Jeff was a Lancashire-born poet, artist, jazz musician, novelist, social commentator, critic and teacher who was at the centre of the 1960s international underground and has been the subject of the Off Beat exhibition currently on display at the John Rylands Library. This exhibition closes on 5th March so make sure you visit in the next three weeks to avoid disappointment! A great opportunity to visit would be on Thursday 16th February, when the Library will be hosting Rip It Up: A Celebration of the Counter-Culture. Follow this link for more information.

If you knew, or are in contact with anyone who knew Jeff, and think that your memories could contribute to Jeff’s archive, we want to hear from you. Please contact Imogen Durant and George Bickers: and


80th Birthday Celebrations for Delia Derbyshire


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Janette Martin writes:

Special Collections holds several literary and artistic collections which document the avant-garde culture of the post-war era.  One of the most fascinating concerns the life and work of Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001), composer and pioneer of British electronic music.

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We are delighted to be working with the music charity Delia Derbyshire Day (DD Day) to celebrate what would have been Delia’s eightieth birthday year in 2017. DD Day has been awarded funding from the Heritage National Fund for its “Delia Derbyshire 80th birthday electronic music heritage project”, a programme of activities and events that will run from February 2017 to January 2018. This initiative aims to increase the awareness of and engagement with the heritage of the Delia Derbyshire Archive held here at The John Rylands Library. The project is led by Caro Churchill, a Manchester-based electronic musician and co-founder (with Ailis Ni Riain and Naomi Kashiwagi) of Delia Derbyshire Day.

Activities will include a DD Day in Manchester with some very special guests, a “Deliaphonic Soundbank” interactive web platform, two short films about Delia and her archive, a DD Day event at Full of Noises Festival in Barrow-in-Furness exploring Delia’s Cumbrian connections, an education project in two primary schools in Manchester, and a symposium in partnership with Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN).

Project partners include the Delia Derbyshire Estate, the John Rylands Library, the University of Manchester, One Education Music, Full of Noises Festival, Digital Women’s Archive North, and Band on the Wall.

Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West commented: “We’re delighted to support this project to shine a light, not only the pioneering impact of Delia Derbyshire’s work, but also on this significant and fascinating part of the John Rylands Library. Thanks to National Lottery players, DD Day can share the musical roots of electronic music to a new generation.”

Key dates & project outputs:

5 May 2017 – Delia’s 80th Birthday – launch of new website, short film about the DD Archive, and “Deliaphonic Soundbank” (an interactive web platform) public engagement activity.

10 June 2017 – DD Day 2017 MCR at Band on the Wall – electronic music-making workshops for families and an evening music/arts event with archive sharing, expert panel discussion/Q&A, live music/visual art performances.

5 Aug 2017 – DD Day touring event at the Full Of Noises (FON) Festival in Barrow-in-Furness, participatory workshops for families and evening cultural heritage event with archive sharing, panel discussion/Q&A, live music/visual art performances.

Sept-Nov 2017 – 8-week education project in 2 schools in Manchester including production of a short film about the DD Archive by the young participants.

5 Dec 2017 – DD Day and Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) symposium at the Anthony Burgess Foundation.

For further information visit

Follow this link to find out more about the Delia Derbyshire Collection held at the University of Manchester.

Archives and Records Association NW Photographic Day


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Until recently our collection of photography here at The John Rylands Library was un-curated and in large parts unknown.  This means that we haven’t actively managed the material, developed, interpreted or used it to support our engagement activity, either with our academic or public audiences. However, since the creation of the Visual Collections Department in 2013, this has gradually begun to change and we are attempting to better understand our photography collection, and in some cases actually discovering what we have, and then trying to work out ways that our audiences can have better access to it.

On the 25th. January we got the opportunity to share some of our photographic collections with a group of Archivists from the North West at a workshop looking at the identification and interpretation of photographs.  This was especially exciting as it was the inaugural outing of our newly donated handling collection, which had been given to us by Prof Roger Taylor.  This collection contains examples of many different forms of photography, including Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes,  Carte de Visite, Cabinet Cards as well as an exciting array of photographic paraphernalia.

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The session started with an exercise in forensically examining a series of photographs to find out how and what we can tell from the image. Could the participants ‘read’ the pictures and have an attempt at telling the story without any previous knowledge of the subject. It’s amazing what you can tell once you start articulating what it is you’re looking at: the groups looked at the people, their clothing and the setting.

For the next exercise each group was given a tray with 4 or 5 photographs on to try and determine what type of photograph they were.  Here the handling collection came into its own as the participants were able to hold, wobble and interrogate the items as much lively debate ensued. It’s quite unusual for these items to be out on the table for people to handle, even when wearing our special luminous gloves, due to the delicate nature of photographs; so we’re thrilled to be able to utilize Prof Taylor’s generous gift in this way.

Behind the Scenes of an Exhibition: Show and Tell!


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The last couple of months have been a flurry of activity as we prepare the information to accompany the objects which will be displayed in the exhibition.  The group has been working closely with a team of designers to come up with a design concept to support the objects.  This would be a unifying look for the panels, labels, leaflets and other promotional materials we need.

Queen Victoria's Glove

Queen Victoria’s Glove

We thought it was difficult choosing the themes and objects to use, but this proved easy in comparison to deciding which design concept to go with.  Decisions included which typography, font, colour palette and lay out to use.  The objects we chose provoked such an emotional response that it was often difficult to keep within the word limits for each panel.  There was also debate about the clarity of the language we used in describing the objects and the need to be aware of any ‘technical’ words and phrases that might alienate some audience members.

The Marketing Team came to the fore just before Christmas as they began to implement their Marketing and Communication Plan.  Some members of the Working Group were recorded sharing their thoughts about the objects and their emotional connection to them.  These recordings will be uploaded to the microsite for the exhibition nearer to the launch date.

Filming for the Exhibition

Filming for the Exhibition

The role of the Marketing Team is to drive attendance at the exhibition from our target audiences and encourage engagement with the content.  While the curators’ involvement is mainly practical it is our colleagues in marketing that add an extra dimension to the process by getting the message out there.  Their plans include using social media, print advertising and creating a micro-site for the exhibition.

The exhibition is not just about ‘show and tell’, the group hope that it will elicit an emotional response from the audience, which they will share with us.  At the moment we are looking at ways to record and share this feedback.

Karen Jacques & Clare Baker

The ‘Fry Manuscript’ in the Christian Brethren Archive is now online


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Dr Graham Johnson, Christian Brethren Archivist, writes:

One of the most iconic manuscript volumes relating to the early history of the Christian Brethren movement is now available online. The University of Manchester Library, with financial assistance from the J. W. Laing Trust, has been able to digitise the ‘Fry Manuscript’. This volume was compiled by Alfred C. Fry from the notebooks of Frederick W. Wyatt of Blandford in Dorset, who has been well described as a ‘disciple’ of Benjamin Wills Newton. Newton was one of the founder members of the movement and his dispute with John Nelson Darby in the 1840s gave rise to the fractious division of the movement into the ‘Open’ and ‘Exclusive’ wings, with Newton himself breaking with the movement soon afterwards.


Front page of the Fry Manuscript.



‘In Memory of Benjamin Wills Newton’, inside the front cover of the Fry Manuscript.

The ‘Manuscript’ is one of the most important items in the ‘Fry Collection’. Wyatt produced detailed transcriptions of Newton’s recollections in old age, copied many original letters from Newton’s time at Oxford University, and provided copies of detailed memoranda and letters to and from Newton from the time of his controversy with Darby (the originals of which have not survived). Wyatt’s transcriptions were meticulous and detailed (including mistakes made by Newton of which Wyatt was aware, along with Newton’s crossings out) and the volume has been widely used and cited by historians of the Brethren including Harold Rowdon, Roy Coad, Tim Grass and Timothy Stunt.

Although a major source for Brethren historians, the volume needs to be read with care. Much of the reminiscences were recorded when Newton was an old man, recording what for him were bruising encounters from his early life. The volume is nonetheless a unique and seminal account of the early experiences of the movement.

You can view the entire manuscript at


Page from the Fry Manuscript.


Account of early Brethren meetings in Ireland.

Radioactive Thorotrast in 1930s Diagnostic Radiology


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thorotrastThorotrast was a radiographic contrast agent first introduced in the late 1920s which contained the radioactive compound thorium dioxide. Originally used in angiography (the process of imaging blood vessels) neurosurgeon Geoffrey Jefferson and his team began using it in 1935 for ventriculography (a process for imaging the brain). Jefferson’s patient case files for this period are housed at the University of Manchester Library and demonstrate the development and use of this technique.

Two of Jefferson’s close colleagues, the radiologist Edward Twining and the neurosurgeon George Rowbotham, published an article in The Lancet illustrating how the injection of Thorotrast into the cerebral ventricles would work in comparison to the already existing method of injecting air during the process of ventriculography. It had been noted that injections of air often contributed to the instability of the patient’s condition and there could be noticeable immediate after effects, such as headaches, whereas patients receiving Thorotrast instead were much more stable in the short term. Radiographically the result was much improved too with increased clarity and definition.

The case discussed in Twining & Rowbotham’s article corresponds with patient 1935/99 in Jefferson’s case files, which contains much more detail about the patient’s medical history and resultant condition. It is believed that this patient is the first of Jefferson’s patients on which this new technique was tried out and Jefferson himself notes in this particular file that he believes it will change the whole outlook of ventriculography.

The safety of Thorotrast was soon brought into question and has since been described as the “most potent human leukemogen yet identified” (Aronson, 2006). Once administered it eventually settles in the reticulo-endothelial system, particularly the spleen and the liver, which was already known at the time of use in the 1930s but the resultant long-term effects had yet to be anticipated. At proceedings of the British Medical Association’s annual meeting in 1933, throium was referred to as a “feebly radioactive substance” yet the long biological half-life of Thorotrast meant that patients would be exposed to internal radiation for the rest of their lives. Follow up studies into patients in more recent years have shown very high incidents of liver cancers and leukaemias in particular. These effects were also investigated in Manchester and there is evidence in Jefferson’s case files of patients being followed up in the 1950s in an effort to determine the effects Thorotrast may have had.

The details in Jefferson’s patient files stand as a fantastic source for the development of radiographic imaging techniques, their long term effects, and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of new and as yet not fully understood techniques. During the current cataloguing process all patient files where there is definite evidence of Thorotrast having been used will be clearly marked for easy identification.


J.K. Aronson (Ed) Meyler’s Side Effects of Drugs (Fifteenth Edition) 2006, p.3401

S. Takekawa, Y. Ueda, Y. Hiramatsu, K. Komiyama, H. Munechika, ‘History note: tragedy of Thorotrast’, Japanese Journal of Radiology, 2015, Vol.33(11) pp.718-22

E.W. Twining & G.F. Rowbotham, ‘Ventriculography by opaque injection’, The Lancet, 1935, 226(5838), pp.122-5

‘Summary of Proceedings of the BMA at its 101st annual meeting – Proceedings of the Section of Radiology’, BMJ, 1933, 2(3787), pp.249-50