‘The Poetry Survives’: Lindsay Anderson’s ‘Foot and Mouth’

Written by Jack Thacker, Poet in residence. Two months into my time as residency at the MERL, and I’ve discovered a wide range of objects and archival documents to inspire my poetry. The process, so far, has been one of gathering: which hand tool might prompt a poem, which diary or artwork can I mine for […]

The Land Girl’s Lament: Tracking a mystery poet

This is the story of trying to find a lost land girl. It began when a poem recently arrived at the MERL (reference D DX2222, to be exact). It is written by a Land Girl who talks of both the perceptions and the reality of what a land girl does. The person who gave us […]

Something worth crowing about: our new Poultry Archive project

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new project to develop and explore some of our poultry-related archive collections! Whether your interest is professional, amateur or just beginning, we will have delights from our archives and library aplenty for you over the coming months. Thanks to the generous support of the Poultry Club […]

Mental health in the countryside

Our Wellbeing and the Countryside display is on until October 31, and was launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The display is the culmination of research in the archives at both the MERL and the University of Reading Special Collections, interviews exploring experiences of living and working in the countryside, and a consultation […]

Research bursaries available: Land Settlement Association and Landscape Institute

This year, thanks to the generous funding from an anonymous donor and the Landscape Institute we are pleased to offer bursaries to encourage use and engagement with our Land Settlement or Landscape Institute archives. The Land Settlement Association was established in 1934 to provide employment on the land for unemployed industrial workers from depressed areas.  Find out more here. The Landscape Institute was founded in 1929 […]

No longer such a new town: Milton Keynes at 50

This year Milton Keynes turns 50.  Tonight BBC4 is marking this anniversary with the programme Milton Keynes and Me by Richard Macer. Designed to provide housing for over populated London, which had been badly bombed during World War II, development of the existing village of Milton Keynes began in 1967. Milton Keynes was part of the third wave (1967-70) of […]

Work experience at The MERL

Written by Emma Tin, a Work Experience student from the Abbey School. During my week of work experience, my task was to learn from the museum and archives at the MERL and to convey what I have learnt to the staff working on an archive exhibition at my school. The Abbey School in Reading has […]

Discovering the landscape: cut it out!

Written by Claire Wooldridge, Project Librarian Over the past few years, my colleague Jen (Landscape Institute Archivist) and I have been working to integrate the library and archive of the Landscape Institute into the collections of the Museum of English Rural Life. The LI collections are rich and varied, including material such as books, pamphlets, […]

Improved Open Access Library fully accessible again

The MERL and Special Collections Open Access Library is now fully accessible again! In this library, which can be accessed from the Reading Room, you can find reference works relating to our Special Collections and to Samuel Beckett, as well as the library collection of the MERL, consisting of about 50,000 books, pamphlets and periodical volumes. We have been working hard to […]

Discovering the landscape: lost landscapes of Michael Brown

In this post Amber Roberts, recipient of MERL’s landscape academic engagement bursary talks about her work on our Michael Brown collection (Landscape Institute collections). Michael Brown’s work is unfortunately little known to today’s landscape architects. Thanks to a generous research bursary from MERL I have been able to delve into his archive and begin to uncover Brown’s idiosyncratic approach, his lost landscapes and […]

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