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New home for Tennyson collection

14 July 2017

On Friday 14 July, the Tennyson Research Centre was officially re-opened at its new home, Lincolnshire Archives.

Tennyson collection

Cllr Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage

The collection contains the library, letters, papers and possessions of Alfred Tennyson and his family – the most significant collection on the poet in the world. 

As a result of the move, the centre will now be open for twice as long, being accessible for 30 hours over five days of the week (at its former home, Lincoln Central Library, it was limited to 15 hours over three days).

In addition, Lincolnshire Archives provides a much better environment in which to store the collection, ensuring it is preserved for future generations.

Cllr Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage, said:

“Tennyson is perhaps the most quoted poet after Shakespeare, and his words are carved at the South Pole and the Olympic Village.

“For 50 years, this unique collection has inspired students of not only poetry and literature, but also of history, art, and photography.

“People come from all over the world to see, study and research items that range from Tennyson’s manuscripts to his doodles in the margins of his books.

“We also have an autograph request from Prince Albert, Tennyson’s cloak, unique photographs and early commercial souvenirs.

“And thanks to its new home at Lincolnshire Archive, even more people will be able to explore this fascinating collection.” 

The collection came to Lincoln in the 1960s following a highly successful exhibition arranged in the city in 1959 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth.

The council then worked with the new-born Tennyson Society to devote a room in the Usher Gallery to the poet’s life and work.

In 1979, when the Tennyson family collection was put up for sale, Philip Larkin and Sir John Betjeman of the Tennyson Society put their names to an appeal that gathered financial support from throughout the country and particularly in Lincolnshire.

The council purchased most of the material, with the help of the newly established National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the JR Halkes Trust and the Heslam Trust.

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Last updated: 18 July 2017

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