Strike A Light!

March 31, 2009
Strike A Light!



Following the Easter vacation the Library shall be participating in the European Union’s new ‘Strike A Light!’ energy saving programme. To help counter the grave ecology crisis by conserving energy, the library shall be switching off the lights on all of its levels. Users will instead be issued with hard-hats equipped with miner’s lamps to help them light their way!


Eschewing the standard, environment damaging nickel-cadmium batteries, these lamps will be powered by solar-batteries. The wearer will be required to stand outside the library in direct sunlight for a minimum of 30 minutes to provide 10 minutes illumination time. On rainy days, sun lamps shall be set up in the library foyer for users’ convenience. Either way, it’s a good excuse to top up your tan!


In a statement to accompany the launch of this scheme, Flora Lopis, the head of the University’s Health & Safety Department, said:


“We heartily endorse and encourage this new programme. Besides the shrinking of the University’s carbon-footprint through the switching off of the library’s lights, there is also the added safety bonus of the hard-hats. In the last academic year alone, 27 students and members of staff were injured by books falling off shelves onto their heads. These hats will ensure that never, ever happens again.”


Hard-hats and further information can be collected from the Library Reception Desk on Level 3 from April 1st.


You may also find these links of use:


Europa Environment Homepage


The UK Environment Agency


Health, Safety & Environment at Loughborough University


Strike A Light! Homepage





Cloughie and others on the ODNB

March 30, 2009
Statue of Brian Clough. Copyright Trikshootr

Statue of Brian Clough. Copyright Trikshootr

To coincide with the release of the film version of David Peace’s novel The Damned United, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography  has uploaded its entry on  the charismatic football manager, Brian Clough. The film is an account of Clough’s  disastrous 44 day reign at Leeds United in 1974 and  the rivalry between him and the previous Leeds manager Don Revie.

If you are a keen football fan, you may also like to look up the following in the Dictionary of National Biography why don’t you consult the feature essay on the game’s pioneers? Or view the clickable British all-stars team? You can also download  a free biography podcast episodes on Bobby Moore; the Busby Babes or read biographies of other managers, footballers and referees – from Billy Meredith to George Best.

There have been some other interesting additional entries to the ONDB which have been recently published as a supplement to the printed volumes. You will be able to look them up in the electronic version which the Library has had access to for over a year.

 Between 2000-2004 a lot of famous writers died  including the  poets :  Charles Causley, DJ Enright, David Gascoyne, Thom Gunn, Ian Hamilton, Elizabeth Jennings, Peter Redgrove; the novelists :Simon Raven and WG Sebald; the scholars and biographers : Ernst Gombrich, Christopher Hill, Roy Jenkins, Elizabeth Longford and Hugh Trevor-Roper.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is a scholarly reference work but you will find that its entries are full of lively anecdotes. 

For example we learn that Kathleen Raine was a close friend Gavin Maxwell, the naturalist, who wrote the famous account of  keeping an otter in “Ring of Bright Water”.

 She outstayed her welcome so one night he banished her from his house  at Sandaig in the Scottish Highlands.  She wandered the surrounding countryside and  then cursed him under a rowan tree. Following from this curse, his beloved otter was killed and his house burned down. Raine always felt responsible.

Hugh Trevor-Roper’s entry is an appreciation of a  gifted historian with  ” beautifully limpid prose”  but also gives an interesting account of how he was duped by the Stuttgart conman, Konrad Kajau into believing that the forged Hitler diaries were genuine.

The ONDB Simon Raven biography tells of a novelist whose publisher, Antony Blond, had to pay him a retainer to live away from London  – in Deal – so that he wasn’t distracted by the pleasures of life in the city. Raven is famous for his sequence of novels known as “Alms for Oblivion” described as ‘witty and scabrous’ which contain portrayals of  many of his contemporaries including his friends, the former editor of ‘The Times’, William Rees-Mogg and the politician, James Prior.

Why not look up some of your favourite writers and public figures in the ONDB and be entertained and informed by some of entries of great quality?

Bramley Apple Bicentenary

March 26, 2009



Load Of Apples © Getty Images.

Bramley Apple 1809 – 2009


Despite its unknown pedigree when it was grown from a pip in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, the Bramley apple was recognised early on as one of the best quality cooking apples.   In 1913 The Times described the apple,  in a winter fruit article, as the  ‘Bramley’s Seedling, the prince of cooking apples, with its splendid green colour and fine size’.

The Nottinghamshire Bramley Seedling owns its name not to its originator and planter Mary Ann Brailsford, but to Matthew Bramley, who bought her cottage and the garden in which the apple tree grew, in 1846, and who insisted that his name be added to the cuttings which were taken by nurseryman Henry Merryweather.   Nottinghamshire is also home to a number of other old apple varities such as  Bess Pool, which dates back to the 18th century,  and Winter Quarrendon dating to the end of the 19th century.

The Bramley apple’s name is short and memorable, however its classification is somewhat longer.  B.E. Jumiper ‘s The Story of the Apple   describes the apple’s full name as  ‘family Rosaceae, subfamily Spiraeoideae, tribe Pyreae, genus Malus, section Malus, species M. pumila Miller……, cultivar ‘Bramley’s Seedling.’ 

UK apples have an entertaining assortment of names such as the Broxwood Foxwhelp, Cornish Gilliflower, Rambour Papeleu and Slack-ma-Girdle. Leicestershire also has its own local variety of apples such as the Wyggeston Pippin, Peasgood Nonsuch, Annie Elizabeth, Foxton’s Favourite and Barnack Beauty.  

Loughborough  University subscribes to a number of horticultural journals such as Postharvest Biology and Technology , Horticulture Week,   Scientia horticulturaeJournal of agricultural and food chemistry, and many more available via MetaLib.


If you would like to find our more about the history of the Bramley apple,  please see the links below.

History of the Bramley Apple

School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

Apple Facts

Mintel Reports –    Fruit and Vegetables Report – January 2009

National Fruit Collection

Apple varieties and descriptions 

The Orchard Path

Great tits can reduce caterpillar damage in apple orchards

Fruit & Vegetable Quality  By Robert L. Shewfelt, Bernhard Brückner

Mr Bramley’s Apple


March 23, 2009




To see a World in a Grain of Sand
 And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
 Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
 And Eternity in an hour


Blake, William, 1757-1827 :  Auguries of Innocence


Stories of ship-wrecks on desert and tropical islands were popular in Blake’s time.   In 1719 Daniel Defoe had published his Robinson Crusoe and later Johann David Wyss published his adverture story The Swiss Family Robinson in 1813.  

On his island Robinson Crusoe attempts to make a stone mortar ‘to stamp or beat some corn in’,  but to his dismay Robinson found that the rocks on his island were either too hard or too soft..’ nor indeed were the Rocks in the Island of Hardness sufficient, but were all of a sandy crumbling Stone, which neither would bear the Weight of a heavy Pestle, or would break the Corn without filling it with Sand’.  

Defoe, however,  made sure Crusoe did not starve on his sandy island.  Robinson Crusoe’s  island supported a broad selection of vegetation – aloes, sugar cane, tabacco, cocoa trees, orange, lemon, and lime trees,  grasses, melons,  dates  and   ‘there were divers other Plants which I had no Notion of, or Understanding about, and might perhaps have Vertues of their own, which I could find out.’

Real sandy environments and gravel plains  support a variety of plants and animals.   The Australian, Thar, Sahara and Kalahari deserts supports grasses, saltbush and acacia, while the Sonoran,  Monte,  Mojave and Chihuahuan deserts are home to the creosote bushdesert sand verbena and desert mariposa lily.

Loughborough University Library subscribes to a large selection of journals covering earth surface processes of sandy environments, ecology and geomorphology such as …





The European physical journal E: soft matter




Zeitschrift fur geomorphologie

Earth surface processes and         landforms     


Palaeogeography,  palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology   


Journal of arid environments 



      Journal of Biogeography



Annual review of ecology and  systematics


Journal of Coastal Research

Sedimentary Geology

The Holocene


Most geography-related journals are available online via MetaLib, with off campus access available using Athens username and password or by logging in to the Remote Working Portal   

If you would like to know more about the geography of sandy environments, please visit the links below.


Desert Knowledge CRC Data Project

Sands of Time [Sefton Coast – North West England]

Geology of Sand Dunes

Australian desert exploration

Wind and Deserts 

Laboratory Manual for Historical Geology

Sand Dunes: A Phenomenon Of Wind

Desert Research Center (DRC)

Deserts and Wind Action

Deserts of the World

Deserts: Geology and Resources [USGS]



Loughborough University Department of Geography

Chelsea Pensioners

March 18, 2009

Women become Chelsea Pensioners


Dorothy Hughes and Winifred Phillips are soon to do something that for three centuries was almost unthinkable. And aged 85 & 82, they are relishing the challenge. Dorothy who was a gunner and Winifred a former Auxiliary Territorial Service member in the Second World War are to become the first women to join the ranks of the Chelsea Pensioners, the famous scarlet coated army veterans who live at London’s Royal Hospital. Both are looking forward to living alongside the 300 men who live there and wear the ‘red’ coat. Any woman can become a Chelsea pensioner, so long as they are over 65, free of a dependent and drawing an Army pension.

So one could ask why it has taken so long to get this far, given that around 10 per cent of the Army is now female? Lord Walker the hospital’s Governor General said that is has been talked about for the last four to five years and that it was always going to be an inevitable outcome since women joined the Army in increasing numbers from the 1950’s and became pensionable. Plus, the comment you get from most of the men you ask is that the ladies have got every right to be here – as much as they have.

Ms Phillip’s who served in the Army for 22 years, said she raised the question of why women were not allowed to become members a decade ago. She read an article called The Legion saying it wanted more men, so she wrote and said, ‘Why not women?’ Now she has seen her wish come true.

But even in today’s society it does not seem that ‘women’ are welcomed into the armed forces with such enthusiasm. Sexual harassment is still rife so is bullying and intimidation. Women being offered promotion or better treatment in return for sex and research has shown that jokes, stories, language and material offensive to women were widespread across the Army, the Navy & the Royal Air force. Women play a valuable part in our armed forces and this kind of behaviour is both sad and shocking. But having served as a gunner, operating guns in the blitz, I think Dorothy will be just fine holding her own amongst all those old male soldiers!

To find out more information you may like to visit these resources.

British Humanities Index

Web of Science

Worldwide political science abstracts

Public records and secrecy

March 18, 2009
Mysterious document and sim card. Copyright: adactio
Mysterious document and sim card. Copyright: adactio

Most confidential papers are published by the National Archives after thirty years. An independent review into the Thirty Year Rule, which has been in place since 1967, chaired by the editor of the Daily Mail, Lord Dacre has recommended that this be changed to 15 years by releasing an additional year’s records each year from 2010.  However people who were hoping to read some interesting documents from the mid 1990s will be disappointed by the outcome of the panel’s reflections.  But  it does mean that papers from the early 1980s covering some decisions made by the Thatcher administration during the Falklands War and the miners’ strike will be released earlier that expected.

The panel agreed that nowadays the British population expected a greater degree of transparency in public life but that the anonymity of senior civil servants must be protected so that their work is not hampered by continual demands for information. If there is too much demand for openness, public servants can be tempted to keep a double set of records: one for publication and one for their own use.
When  Richard Crossman published his famous diaries in 1975 (acknowledged as the inspiration for the BBC comedy series ‘Yes Minister’) revealing the inner workings of government, some restrictions on what could be revealed were then put in place. However they have been ignored by a series of Cabinet ministers and public servants who wanted to put their side of the story to the public.  Alistair Campbell’s ‘The Blair Years’ and Lord Levy’s ‘A Question of Honour’   are probably the most recent offenders.
The Justice Secretary, Jack Straw has not committed himself to implementing the report : “The government will respond to its recommendations in due course but agrees that there should be a substantial reduction in the period after which official papers should be generally be released to the public”.
As a result of the Freedom of Information Act, some papers are released before the thirty year moratorium. Any information which could be danger to national security or has sensitive personal details is can be kept secret for longer because it is exempt from the FOI. 
The National Archives releases files on a continuous basis; among the more interesting items in the last six months are the UFO files. These contain all the reported sightings of UFOs between 1986-1992.
The more unusual  events include the near-collision of a passenger jet and a UFO in Kent and the shooting down of a UFO flying over East Anglian by pilots of the United States Air Force.
Sign up for the National Archives monthly enewsletter and find out about the latest releases of documents into the public domain.

Comic Relief

March 13, 2009

Comic Relief

Today is Comic Relief day!

Comic Relief describes its mission as bringing about ‘positive change through the power of entertainment’. It was established in 1985, and since then has helped tackle poverty and social injustice at home and abroad by

  • Inspiring people across the country to join in with fundraising.
  • Raising more than £425 million since 1985.
  • Making over 6000 grants in the UK.
  • Making over 1700 grants internationally.

The money raised is allocated to a wide range of grants and social investments aimed at delivering real and long-lasting change to the poorest, most vulnerable people at home and across the world; as well as informing the public and young people in particular about global citizenship and the underlying causes of extreme poverty.

That money comes in from a number of different sources. Traditional charitable fundraising obviously plays a vital role. The public contribute to Comic Relief’s annual campaigns by raising money through sponsorship and by making donations online, by post, by telephone and through major banks and building societies. This support, from almost the very day Comic Relief was formed, has been both humbling and inspirational.

On the business side of things, Comic Relief works with key corporate partners to produce products and promotions that are profitable. The clearest example of this is the Red Nose that is the emblem of Red Nose Day. In 2005 over £5 million was raised from the sale of noses.

Where possible these products tie-in with the charity’s commitment to delivering benefits to poor farmers and producers. The Red Nose Day 2007 T-shirt for instance was made with fair trade cotton from Mali, Cameroon and Senegal and there will be a fair trade Maraba Bourbon coffee grown in Rwanda, a country to which Comic Relief has had a clear commitment since the appalling genocide of 1994.

Another way Comic Relief raises funds is via the creativity made available to the charity. Comedians from time to time offer access to key brands like Little Britain for commercial exploitation. The charity also develops and owns key sub-brands like Robbie the Reindeer and Monkey, both of which deliver a revenue too.

Why not find out more from:

  • Comic Relief
  • Mintel marketing reports on who are the major players in the charity sector
  • FAME for company data including financial details
  • Nexis UK for newspaper articles on giving to charity