What was life actually like during the Second World War? If you have a spare moment on your hands, you may wish to take the opportunity to visit a new exhibition which recently opened at Kingston University, entitled ‘The Archive at War: The Second World War as depicted in Kingston University’s Archives and Special Collections’.
The impact of the war on social life in Britain, its role in the wider public memory, its effect on the performing arts, and how the conflict is interpreted today are all key points covered in the exhibition.
The new exhibition has taken items from a number of the University’s Special Collections to demonstrate how the Second World War is depicted through them. Items are included from the Iris Murdoch Collections, the Vane Ivanovic Library and Archive, the David Heneker Archive, and the Sheridan Morley Theatre Collection, amongst others. In addition to items from the Second World War period, some items from the First World War and interwar periods can also be viewed.
The exhibition also helps to remind scholars that Kingston University has some unique Special Collections available for research. The Sheridan Morley Theatre Collection, for example, which opened in 2007 (see picture) and is based on the richly diverse collection of the famous theatre critic Sheridan Morley (1941-2007), consists of approx. 5,000 books, plus audio visual and oversize items. There are 60 Boxes in the collection relating to the theatre and all the performing arts.
The new exhibition is designed to mark not only the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War but also as a contribution to this year’s ‘Explore Your Archives’ campaign. The latter is a campaign that seeks to encourage everybody to pay a visit to their local archive to see what they can discover.
The exhibition at Kingston is available to view in the display cases in the Archives Gallery on the ground floor of the University’s Learning Resources Centre (LRC), located at the Penrhyn Road campus. It is open during normal LRC opening hours and it is planned to run until February 1st, 2016.
For more information on the annual ‘Explore Your Archives’ campaign, visit: http://www.exploreyourarchive.org