Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Notes on visiting the Colman Collection


Here is a lovely piece written by Magdalen Walks member, Mary Beardwood, about her research using the Norfolk Heritage Collection held within the Millennium Library in Norwich...
 
On Saturday 13th February, our Magdalen Walks group had a fascinating introduction to the Norfolk Heritage Collection at the Millennium Library. ‘The Stack’, as it is known, is a purpose-built system for protecting and storing old records, was an eye-opener to us all. After the fire at the old Norwich Library, when many precious records and books were burnt, it became apparent that a modern, fire-proof, computerised system should be installed. This is now in place, with a huge collection of items of interest regarding the history of Norfolk and Norwich.
 
Little did I know that my day out was to prove very helpful in a task that I was asked to do the following week for a U3A Gardening Group that I belong to. Each member was given the name of an explorer/seeds and specimens collector to research and report back to the Group. I was given Joseph Hooker (1817-1911). The area that seemed the most important was the work he did on an exploration of Sikkam-Himalaya where he painted, made extensive observations and notes, and collected seeds of different species of Rhododendrums. I put ‘Rhododendrums of Sikkim-Himalaya’ into my search engine, and was excited to discover there was a copy in the Colman Collection at the Millennium Library. So back I went to request to see their copy of this book, and it was retrieved for me immediately.
It was, in fact, two volumes, very large in size (60 x 40 cms) and contained the most exquisite paintings of the Rhododendrums, all done on site, with detailed observations and drawings of the plants. It also contained fascinating facts about the royal and important members of society lending the exploration their support. I feel very proud to be able to take this information back to the Gardening Group.
 
‘One thing leads to another....’ research is always full of surprises and knowing where to look for information is a skill. Thanks to Colin for pointing me to this resource.