John Rylands Research Institute

Image5THE TRUE TALE TOLD

A Brief Memoir by David Miller

 

“In academic writing, it is considered plagiarism to draw any idea or any language from someone else without adequately crediting that source in your paper. It doesn’t matter whether the source is a published author, another student, a Web site without clear authorship, a Web site that sells academic papers, or any other person: Taking credit for anyone else’s work is stealing, and it is unacceptable in all academic situations, whether you do it intentionally or by accident”.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Current Web Site, September 2015.

 

“Plagiarism is a term that describes the unacknowledged use of someone’s work. This includes material or ideas from any (published or unpublished) sources, whether print, web-based (even if freely available) or audiovisual. Using the words or ideas of others without referencing your source would be construed as plagiarism and is a very serious academic offence. At the end of the day, it is regarded as stealing intellectual property”.

Palgrave Study Skills. Current Web Site, September 2015.

 

Image2s

A scan [click to enlarge] of the inside cover and the following page of the original Prospectus of the John Rylands Research Institute, which was my idea and detailed in my paper of 17.11.86.

The original is a fine colour production.

The True Origins of the John Rylands Research Institute

I took very early retirement and left academia in 1997. I was University Librarian at the University of Nottingham from August 1993 to April 1997. At Nottingham I led the University Library bid which successfully secured a grant of £1M from special funds newly set up by the University Funding Council; the grant was in relation to the nationally important archives held in the University of Nottingham Library.

Prior to that I was Deputy Librarian at the University of Manchester from 1 April 1986 to 31 July 1993. For the penultimate year I was Acting Librarian.

When I took up my post in 1986 there was already a Deputy Librarian (who had been previously at the John Rylands before the University took over), but he was unfit and unwell (he later went on leave for heart surgery and subsequent retirement), which is why a ‘second’ Deputy was appointed.

The Librarian and Director of the JRULM, Dr Pegg, who had been present at the two-day interview process in December 1985, had by the following February gone off sick with lung cancer, and I attended (being at the nearby University of Sheffield, which I was leaving) unofficially for most of March. Dr Pegg did not return until late in 1987 and never took part in what I am about to relate.

I was in effect, de facto Librarian. In my first couple of weeks I was asked by the then Chairman of the University Library Committee [a Professor of Law] to look at the finances and I undertook a review. In the following months I took stock of the state of things.

I discovered the John Rylands Library to have a small dispirited staff – one of whom committed suicide a few weeks after I took up my post – few public visitors and very few visiting academics.

One morning, as I awoke, I had the idea to establish a John Rylands Research Institute within the Library, the reverse of a normal situation, and to fund it by raising £1M.

I wrote a paper and these are extracts:

“This paper proposes that a John Rylands Research Institute is established within the JRULM by widening the activities of the Deansgate Memorial Building. The Research Institute would promote, fund and stimulate research on the primary material held at Deansgate.”

[Note: JRULM is the John Rylands University Library of Manchester and the Deansgate Memorial Building is The John Rylands Library.]

“An initial sum of £1M should be raised [….]”

“Where is the £1M to come from? The money should be raised by a combination of self-help and outside funding, with a preparedness to maintain a flexible approach and a willingness to adopt radical solutions.”

“Apart from direct funding of research, the John Rylands Research Institute should develop links with Departments to support Department initiatives in research and teaching. Indeed the Research Institute may provide a connecting thread and a forum for various Centres which Faculties establish.”

David Miller 17.11.1986. Extracts from paper written by me at the University of Manchester. The idea was backed by Professor Sir Mark Richmond FRS, Vice Chancellor, University of Manchester, and subsequently established.

I arranged for 92 ‘second copies’ of books to be sold at auction by Sotheby’s. I was asked at a special meeting of the Library Committee if it was intended to sell the Audubon. I said not. The University of Edinburgh in 1992 sold its University Library copy for a then world record of £2.3M and used the money to help wipe out their university deficit.

My idea was to take preventative action, with the money coming to the Library – specifically to the John Rylands Research Institute. The sorry state of Rylands and the financial pressure even then on universities might have tempted the University to anticipate the Edinburgh action. I certainly thought so. A Research Institute benefited the wider University.

At Sotheby’s, I marked the Catalogue as the sale proceeded (the British Library bought one book by agreement before the public sale) and as we passed £1M I quickly celebrated with Professor Brian Cox, [Dean of Arts 1984-86 and Pro Vice-Chancellor 1987-91], who was seated with me. The final result was a sale total of £1.8M, of which after fees etc. we banked with the University some £1.4M.

At the opening of the John Rylands Research Institute, the Vice Chancellor was on the podium in the John Rylands Library and alongside was Dr Pegg, who had returned to take up his post. No mention was made of me. Standing with me on the floor, Brian Cox turned and said “You must be very proud”. I was totally unaware that this non-reference to me – as the founder – would happen and I was unprepared.

Technically I was junior to Dr Pegg, in a hierarchical department. However I had never consulted him, as he was on sick leave, and he never had an input into either the raising of the money or the establishment of the John Rylands Research Institute or to appointments to the Institute or the use of the monies raised generally. I was on the professorial scale, but academic-related.

Had I been in an academic department would a Head of Department and a Vice Chancellor have acted as they did? If the answer is no, then why the difference? If the answer is yes, then let’s hope universities have got their act together, because from the outside looking in, it doesn’t look good. What happened to attesting the truth as an academic aspiration? But it doesn’t look like there has been any change. See below.

Being still young and looking to my future and career, I said nothing in 1987. When I went to Nottingham, I had not used any of the capital invested; all monies used had come from interest or other sources where I had raised monies. But back to Manchester.

I set up the John Rylands Research Institute Board, inviting Professor Tony Birley, the Professor of Ancient History, to act as Chairman, with Professor Brian Cox, (Professor of English, referred to above), and the Professor of Theoretical Physics – so it could claim cross-campus support though obviously weighted towards the Humanities – and myself.

Who were appointed to the original John Rylands Research Institute? Reading the list of the staff of the John Rylands Research Institute listed on the current University of Manchester Web Site – “The John Rylands Research Institute [which] came into operation on 1 April 2013” – I read the name of a member of staff who I appointed on a fixed term contract funded by the money raised as above and employing him on the staff of the original Institute.

The first post-doctoral Fellowship in the John Rylands Research Institute, was awarded to an Oxford graduate, working with the department of religious studies, who was researching Maimonides. A second, also appointed to a Fellowship, was working under the Professor of the History of Art. As she told me, it was vital for research ratings.

I inaugurated the John Rylands Research Institute Lectures. The first two Research Institute Lectures were given by: Professor Owen Chadwick O.M., formerly Regius Professor of History at Cambridge; and by Professor Stanley Wells (now Professor Emeritus at the University of Birmingham, and is general editor of the Oxford and Penguin Shakespeares).

I was about to visit Jodrell Bank recently and clicked on the web site. Then I noticed a link to the main university site and clicked on the John Rylands Research Institute. And there I found:

“The John Rylands Research Institute came into operation on 1 April 2013. It brings together experts from The University of Manchester Library and the University’s Faculty of Humanities in a unique partnership to uncover, explore, unravel and reveal hidden ideas and knowledge contained within our world-leading Special Collections”.

University of Manchester Web Site, August 2015.

In November 1986 I wrote, as cited above:

“Apart from direct funding of research, the John Rylands Research Institute should develop links with Departments to support Department initiatives in research and teaching. Indeed the Research Institute may provide a connecting thread and a forum for various Centres which Faculties establish.”

I was never acknowledged as the founder of the John Rylands Research Institute. And now that which “came into operation on 1 April 2013” does not make any reference to the original Research Institute. Air-brushed history.

David Miller

September 2015

In memory of Bernard Miller my father, who died 5th July 1986 in Lancaster General Hospital following an emergency operation.

What a few months.

You couldn’t make it up could you.


Appendix 1. Two letters. The Dame and I.

Dear Mr Miller,

I am responding on behalf of the President and Vice-Chancellor and the Chairman of the Board of Governors to your recent correspondence to them regarding the John Rylands Research Institute.

From your description you have previously played an important role in the establishment of a research institute in the John Rylands Library. This must be something you can take great personal pride in.

Having consulted colleagues in the University, I understand that in the mid-90s the focus of the work of the library shifted towards the “unlocking” of the Rylands and that over time the research institute that you had been involved in ceased to be.

In 2013 a new research institute was established. This resulted from widespread discussion within the University, recognising the profile of the University and the John Rylands Library would be well served by such an entity. Inevitably given the work of the John Rylands Library and its interaction with Faculties and their constituent Schools there will be some similarities with the purpose and intentions of any earlier institute, though the detail with vary depending on the special collections at one time and the research interests within the academic commuity (sic erat scriptum: suggest you use a spell checker). Indeed, the current research institute operates to a very different model to its predecessor.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all the very best.

Yours sincerely,

[XXXXXX]

Thank you to the Chairman of the Board of Governors for quickly responding to my email to him and my attachments, and for then also ensuring a reply on behalf of the President and Vice Chancellor.

However, as to the tardy reply after a silent four weeks on behalf of the President and Vice-Chancellor (but not tardy from the Chairman of the Board of Governors), it is amusing that you condescendingly refer to my “important role” “from your description” batting back my own words – so again no acknowledgement from Manchester. Except to say, incredibly, and dismissively, that I “had been involved in” a “research institute”. You obviously have either never read the statement of fact, “he never had an input into either the raising of the money or the establishment of the John Rylands Research Institute or to appointments to the Institute or the use of the monies raised generally.” Or seek to belittle my role and that original research institute. I founded the John Rylands Research Institute and I ran it.

Well I guessed (sic erat in fatis; did Latin at school as well as woodwork and art) there would be a swerve to avoid my invitation to accept the new Research Institute does copy the description I gave back in 1986. At least, I believe, it does to people without cause to find a wiggle way. And hence my previous remarks about sixth formers and undergraduates. [See Appendix 3]

Waived away this time, previously washed. The Dean of the Dental School in Liverpool – who later went on to be the President of the General Dental Council – leaned forward from behind his desk and said “Mr Miller, I wash my hands of you” as he ceremoniously wrung his hands together. Why? Because in the 3rd year of the degree, I was asking permission to transfer to the Faculty of Arts, where I had been accepted. The oral cavity was always a tiny world, at any rate for me. So I took a degree in philosophy. I should have thought a first year philosophy student would rate your exposition of the difference between your new ‘model’ and, I quote your web site, ‘unique partnership’, research institute – and that envisaged by me – as between poor and lame. I shan’t waste time dissecting your account.

No proofing of your writing. No proof in what you write.

After my very early exit from academia, what did I do? Amongst other activities, I built walls and was genuinely praised by professional bricklayers. So I suppose I could build an ivory tower for Manchester and perhaps others from the Russell Group. Then they could become known as the Ivory League.

David Miller


Appendix 2. Manchester: before, during and after. Lollipops all the way.

Why not accept the appellation ‘librarian’? I never self-described myself so. Because I have never sought or felt to be one. I was always just making what I could of the situation I was in: seizing opportunities. I was originally accepted at Durham for a science degree, but one day from the Library at Bolton School I saw two guys in cold rain digging a hole opposite, and decided better do a vocational degree. So when the A level results came out I rang round and went straight for an interview at Liverpool, the first to call me, from a 12 hour night shift at Warburtons bakery.

By the time I went to Liverpool, I needed to get accommodation quickly and ended up at St Aidan’s Theological College at Beeston on the Wirral. So also did about a dozen of us from the University and most of us stayed because it was great. Had a fives court. And a croquet lawn [I play that now in York. Actually, it is not a game for the faint hearted. Internationally played to two codes.], and also a football team. Ours was made up of mature theological students as well as University students. Played Wednesday afternoons, as we had the University first eleven captain, in ours, the goal-keeper for the University second eleven and the captain of the University hockey team… Played so-called friendlies, the most brutal game being against Liverpool clergy.

The useful thing was that the Deputy Principal [later a Canon at Durham] was the University Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History. So when I swapped to the Faculty of Arts, I did a subsidiary in that subject, staying in bed longer since he had me join his class for the theological students, as well as giving me extra tuition. Didn’t have to ferry across the Mersey that day. Passeth understanding how lucky I was. Before I graduated, I had already secured employment in the Home Office, in the Prison Service. Toughest question I guess I was ever asked, was at the interview in the Home Office, where there were four interviewers sat behind a table at the far end, and me sat on a basic metal chair, nothing in front or to either side of me and quite a bit of space to the end wall behind. It could have been the setting for an interrogation. First question: describe yourself. Started by saying how people seemed to react to me. Stopped me: no, describe yourself directly. Anyway, passed that interview. What is the best way to read War and Peace? Quickly – as I read it in ten days or so before I started as a Temporary Prison Officer, in civilian dress and no keys on the YP wing of Walton Prison, Liverpool, which employment I had managed to obtain through contacts with the Assistant Governor there. I did my time, three months, before my fulltime, and proper, employment started as an Assistant Governor, commencing with the course at the Staff College in Wakefield. Somewhat odd drinking Guinness in the Prison Officers’ Club, which at that time was in the prison walls. The maximum security prison is on Love Lane, I kid you not. You sign the Official Secrets Act twice, at least I did. On the way in and on the way out – of employment that is.

Escaping from that after a year, I took a temporary maternity leave clerical post at the HQ of the West Riding County Library – then largest in Europe. Was going back to Liverpool for an MPhil, leading to a PhD, having been interviewed and accepted by the Professor of Sociology, on a topic related to my prison experience. But I was offered a post as a Graduate Trainee by the County Library, so took it for a year before being seconded on full pay for a postgraduate course, and only on condition that I worked for them for 2 years. Today, it seems unbelievable doesn’t it? On returning to the HQ, I managed to obtain a post in the Postgraduate Medical Centre at Pinderfields Hospital (but still on the County Library payroll). And then started an on-the-spot upward progression, and activity expansion, in partnership with Dr John Cook, consultant neurologist, who was also in charge of the Regional Spinal Injuries Unit, and was Postgraduate Clinical Tutor. The regional symposia were outstanding and the proceedings of at least one (on prostaglandins) was actually reportage of current research in universities (but then all speakers were from universities).

There were a half dozen or so National Demonstration Centres set up by the NHS and we got £100,000. Mid 1970s. At the opening of the new-build, the Minister of Health got my (and I was of course the subordinate person) name right, but Dr Cook became ‘Dr Good’. As I was talking to the Minister about a development (I had employed an ergonomist graduate from Loughborough University) seeking to utilise budding technology to help wheelchair users, the ITV (Regional News) cameras panned to show the wider view and as I was in mid-sentence, and with the cameras pointing elsewhere, the Minister walked off. Looked him up: he was a pig farmer. Apt. Another foundation stone, round the corner, recorded the Minister of Health in 1957 as Enoch Powell. Now he had an intellect.

Also whilst there, set up a unit to make video recordings, using Sony U­matic and a very large Hitachi [about 2/3 the size of the BBC ones] camera, as well a single gun camera fitting on a tube for early endoscopy. The Wakefield Knee was one of a number of competing artificial knees on the market. We filmed many operations, including neurosurgery, dealing with nursing burns patients [the Regional Burns Centre was at Pinderfields] and even a home birth. Dr Ron Mulroy, [who years later when I had exited academia and moved to York, I heard regularly on BBC Radio York], Tutor for GPs, enthusiastically took up the educational applications and we made a series. But as the Regional Postgraduate Dean for Medicine, Professor Mike Lynch, said to me – you’d better, and must, leave it to the University of Leeds; but they were not then fully off the mark.

Raising the scarlet standard high. Having been amoeba-like taken into the bosom, not of the kirk, but of the Militant Tendency, [I was intriguedby the ‘comrades’ and we had good social times; but I’m afraid I was a social traveller, despite my manifesto for the St John’s ward in Wakefield being left of that current right-winger Jeremy Corbyn], I found myself Chairman of the LPYS. Thus it was that I presided one evening, when two young women gave a talk on Women’s Liberation. What had caught the attention of a friend of mine then, I shall draw a veil over; which was missing from the two in question. Often thought of this as I saw him on the back row in the House of Commons and in committee during his long stint as Chairman of the Select Committee on Health [though in his time I think it included social services].

Anyway, I went to the University of Sheffield, as Sub Librarian Medicine [senior lecturer academic related]. I was based in the Hallamshire Hospital, and later put the names of my staff in a hat to select the person to be in the line-up down which the Queen walked [hence became the Royal Hallamshire]; Prince Philip of course went walk­about. Well, there was a very large Sheffield School of Nursing and I negotiated a deal whereby they could use the University Medical Library in the Royal Hallamshire, and I redesigned the plan for the University Medical Library about to be built at the Northern General Hospital, to include space which had been separately allocated to the nurse training school, so the larger unit could be used by all. Pre-clinical sciences were in the Main Library. I can still see Krebs Cycle etched on the glass above a door, in the Biochemistry Department.

That meant I had additional funds of £10K per year and used the first monies to buy a word processor for the princely price of £9K. Wordplex was Canadian, and I had a choice of language – English or French. The latter might have been selected by the Manchester Professor of Theoretical Physics [mentioned above as regards the Board of the John Rylands Research Institute]. He used to frighten final year students by speaking French when giving a mock interview before they went job hunting. Suppose if you were visiting CERN it was useful. Since it was the first such word processor outside of London, I was visited by an O&M guy from the Northern Universities Purchasing Consortium, and asked if I thought this technology would put secretaries out of work! I said it would revolutionize how we did things. Remember this was the age of typewriters and the IBM Golf-ball was top drawer. The first microcomputers the University of Sheffield bought [I put a cluster in the Royal Hallamshire] were Olivetti – of typewriter fame.

Another Guinness. When at Sheffield, I was introduced to the Poet Laureate who never was, when visiting Hull. Tall, lugubrious, and soft clammy handshake. Saw him later in the Senior Common Room, perched as usual on his barstool drinking the dark stuff. From my teens I remember his poem with the memorable words “the worst university in the world.” And he wasn’t sacked; no such terms as ‘bringing the institution into disrepute’ in those days. Quite right. So arguably one of the best universities. Later I read of his predilections, and hope we weren’t binoculared, as two of us crossed beneath his cockpit. Bum.

From Sheffield I went to Manchester, as recorded above. There was a great hoo-ha when the sale of ‘second copies’ was announced. Never trust the media. I was interviewed by the BBC and unknown to me so was Dr Fred Ratcliffe, then of Cambridge [but previously one-time University Librarian at Manchester], and the BBC put it out at the end of a Panorama; but spliced it so it seemed we were debating. Speaking of the sale of books, here are two things that transpired after the sale. I came across and glanced at Frank Taylor’s The John Rylands University Library of Manchester (1982), where if memory serves, it records that Enriqueta sold a Shakespeare First Folio in her days of buying and selling to set up the John Rylands Library. But here is a curious thing. Around this later time two of the three internal candidates who were interviewed for the post I got at Manchester, told me the University had a First Folio and it disappeared from a display cabinet in the older part of the Main Library. Was that true? Busy with other pressing events, and not trusting them, I did not follow it up, and in the pressures of those times it submerged in my mind. But now I regain the recollection of that comment. Was I being led down the garden path? But why? Anyway I would now look in to that. There is one more possible relevant fact, but not for here.

An OPAC? No use for that! CURL at that time – the Consortium of University Research Libraries – comprised: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge and London. There was a rudimentary database of collections which used the software written by a member of staff in the Library at Cambridge. At a meeting at the Bodleian, there were assembled the University Librarians and myself. All had also their respective appropriate ‘expert.’ There was a debate – actually it was between Fred Ratcliffe and myself. I argued for an Online Public Access Catalogue. Fred would have none of it. He was a dominating influence. Naturally the meeting went with him. Nevertheless, I subsequently seconded a Main Library member of staff to develop the database in Manchester. She had a programmer’s background and developed the Model 204 software, to run the catalogue in the Manchester Regional Computing Centre.

Talking of Cambridge, that was where Wittgenstein went. Before he turned up at Russell’s door, he was studying aeronautical engineering at Manchester. I lived in Glossop when working at Manchester, and at the top of the hill between there and Hayfield was the public house (I used to go there for supper) where, I discovered, Wittgenstein stayed when launching his meteorological balloons. After his first period at Cambridge, he later returned and developed his second approach to solving philosophical problems. Wonder to which species of language game Wittgenstein would consign the current verbals?

Email cometh. Remember SuperJANET? Around 1992 there was an initiative to obtain funding from the Government for the upgrading of JANET [Joint Academic Network]. A number of projects in the making were put together. As a result of this £20M were obtained, but on the condition that the access to the Internet was rolled out to the public via initially a couple of London public libraries. Two projects were put forward from Manchester. One was from the medical side envisioning remote real-time diagnosis and surgical guidance. The second, which I wrote, was about accessing our collections remotely and real-time collaboration, for example, between a researcher in New York and a locally based one in Rylands. I also wrote of the possibility of using pattern-recognition software to help the union of the thousands of Genizah fragments at Rylands. I also thought of working on these, near and far together. Reminds me of the, current, York U3A group ‘Jam and Jigsaws’. [130 groups, mostly ‘academic’; up to 1,800 members last year. Being editor of the Newsletter for six years until recently, gave me the where-with-all to turn out stuff like this within a week].

The ice-berg gets a name. The moribund, at that time, Deansgate Building was rejuvenated internally by specially commissioned craftsman-made display cabinets, and an Exhibition Officer appointed. I had a person, trained under Eric Gill, carve the letters ‘John Rylands Library’ over the front entrance. An attempt to republicise the nameless iceberg – most floors being below ground level.

Clanking. When the time came to retire as Chancellor, the Duke, and of course, the Duchess of Devonshire, were invited by the University, to a dinner in the John Rylands Library, on the first floor and around a line of central tables. Dr Pegg was invited – although he had not yet returned to work, I think. Anyway I was not invited. I had arranged for an electrician from Estates to be present and on standby in case the wobbly electrical system failed – it was still then on a different voltage from the national grid, working as installed originally, the first building in Manchester so illuminated. But the Duke had a privately funded gathering in the Muriel Stott Conference Centre [which, for those not familiar, is a separate building located in the quadrangle of the Main Library] to say farewell to the Mayors and a couple of Lord Mayors of the surrounding towns. I was also invited. The cul-de-sac short road to the Main Library from Oxford Road saw a procession of chauffeur driven cars disgorging the Mayors and Mayoresses, who clanked their way into the Main Library and clanked their way out to the Muriel Stott. Privately funded waiters and waitresses took round trays of tasty nibbles and champagne. Shan’t say what the Duke said to my then wife, peering down, as he joined us for a while.

Thin lines. Before leaving the topic of the University of Manchester. A quote from the current edition of The Mancunion: ‘A Japanese minister has called for universities to teach subjects that “better meet society’s needs,” resulting in institutions closing or severely cutting humanities, social science and law departments.’ Bit worrying that. Here, a Vice Chancellor was commonly reported to have dismissed an academic research pursuit as akin to “collecting postage stamps.” Don’t think it was implied they were even first class. Suppose it is a pretty thick line between what is research that better meets society’s needs, and collecting postage stamps. Hope it’s not orders of magnitude thinner. A graphene line.

Let you into a secret. Nottingham had bought me full academic dress. I was not familiar with wearing robes and a hood, as I had ditched my hired outfit at Liverpool as soon as I came out of the graduation ceremony, and never wore them thereafter, until arriving at Nottingham. [I had to give six-months’ notice, so arrived on 1 August, the start of university financial years, just before Sir Ron’s inauguration]. The Registrar was beside himself apparently, by my non-appearance in the robing area for the Official Party. So the inauguration of the new Chancellor, Sir Ron Dearing, took place with an empty seat on the platform. Funnily enough, I bumped into Brian Robson [Professor of Geography at Manchester] who I knew, and he told me he had sat next to my empty seat. At the installation of a new Chancellor there are [or were] a range of academics from other universities. I explained in a quick letter to Colin [shortly Sir Colin] Campbell, the V.C. [who had appointed me, after interviewing me privately as well as in full committee, six months before], that I had excused myself on account of a dry cough and didn’t want to mar the proceedings. Uncovered and not on the platform earlier, I needed a cover story.

Can’t resist this. National Lottery. Shortly after my arrival at Nottingham, I invited the Chancellor – Sir Ron (Later Lord) Dearing – to a private lunch in the Staff House at the University of Nottingham. He was to be invited by the Government to look into Higher Education (later producing the Dearing Report). I had organised a tour after lunch to show him the powerful potential of computers to libraries and thus to the academic world. At that time he was unaware of developments. I met him, in company, a few times, because I was an Officer of the University [quaint title, yes, origins go back into university history; defunct now] and on one Saturday morning after an official function we were taking coffee before dispersing. Sir Ron said “Well, what are we spending our money on this afternoon?” Today it might be a lottery ticket. None of us knew then that the consortium he was heading – Camelot – would get the Government contract for the National Lottery. And look what that led to.

Mines a pint, what’s yours? Possibly the most bizarre happening, for me, was after an extraordinary University Council meeting at Nottingham [I’ll leave out why] and some of us were in the Council Dining Room. In the corner was a small bar of the type you may see for home use. Behind the bar, asking me what I wanted and pulling the pint for me, was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield. He had been present at the University of Nottingham Council meeting we had just attended. As an ex-V.C. of Nottingham, he was an ex-officio member. Cheers.

Eton. Pink, but not the mess. In order to ensure the manuscript of The White Peacock did end up, as promised, at Nottingham [with of course its D H Lawrence connection], I repeated the pilgrimage of my predecessor, and went to Eton for lunch with the donator-to-be. His superb mansion [Elizabethan?] located adjacent to grounds of the College. We went to lunch in his favourite Italian small restaurant. Didn’t bother with pud. Afterwards he showed me the manuscript. His interest in early 20th century English novelists, had begun between the Wars when he was a stockbroker and made his fortune in dealing in gold bullion. And very gentle and civil he was. His wife, somewhat younger and active, still went up to their place in London, and advised me “never grow old.” She apologised, as she served drinks at the house, for their butler was in retreat. She told me that he had a habit of testing the drinks, often when there was no one to serve, and ended up “seeing pink elephants.” They had a fine, slightly depleted, wine cellar.

The Official Party at Nottingham, before graduation and the awarding of honorary degrees took place, always had lunch in the Trent Building. Then we all got in a coach and were taken across campus to the Sports Centre, where the gym was transformed to have a platform for proceedings, overlooking the assembly and at the far end a gallery, holding invited guests. But on one occasion the person on whom an honorary degree was to be confirmed, did not mount the coach. She travelled the short distance in a chauffeur driven green Jaguar. Presumably armour plated and bomb proof. That was Stella Rimington. Dame Stella was at that time Director General of MI5. As it happens, at the gym in the robing room she was dressing next to me. Afterwards, I regretted biting back my nearly-asked question – would she leave her archives to Nottingham? But I couldn’t be sure she had a sense of humour. She started out as an archivist in India.

And so to York. It is delightful here. In the Shambles, you can imagine a person leaning from the first floor window haranguing another leaning out of the window opposite. And hear Sidney Smith saying “they will never agree, for they are arguing from different premises.” Appropriate to mention that in this booklet. [Ok, I know it was said near St. Paul’s].

If you have time, don’t try and cover all the Minster in one go. Simply too much. I’ll slip in an advert here. And there is a new state-of-the-art attraction, housed in interactive chambers beneath the Minster. You can explore the 2000 year history of the Minster’s site, from the remains of Roman barracks to its present day custodians. Perhaps one day I’ll sign up and do the study to become a volunteer guide on the ground floor tour.

When St Aidan’s Theological College [see above] was closed, the Principal became Chancellor at the Minster. His current successor gave a lecture a few months ago, which I attended. It was on Bonhoeffer, who back then was in vogue. Arthur Widdess. When in the Minster, I see his name recorded on the brass list of former Chancellors, on the West wall. He was a former missionary in China.

York is riddled with fascinating churches and heritage buildings. Year­-on-year, it has greatly improved with many new facilities, whilst keeping the old. It remains, however, a large village, with very many knowing very many. Of course, the Minster dominates the City from within the walls and from far away. I attended a talk by one of the teachers from the York Minster Learning Centre, on the construction of the Minster. He mentioned Roger de Pont l’Eveque was Archbishop around 1170 and continued developing the Minster. I suggested he was probably known as the Big Cheese. They are both Norman, after all. Anyway, not a glimmer. Probably heard it before. Think he thought that a bit of a stinker.

David Miller


Appendix 3. Plagiarism. Is it time for a new standard: A Manchester Alternative?

The John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester.

Using these two definitions:

“In academic writing, it is considered plagiarism to draw any idea or any language from someone else without adequately crediting that source in your paper. It doesn’t matter whether the source is a published author, another student, a Web site without clear authorship, a Web site that sells academic papers, or any other person: Taking credit for anyone else’s work is stealing, and it is unacceptable in all academic situations, whether you do it intentionally or by accident”.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Current Web Site, September 2015.

and

“Plagiarism is a term that describes the unacknowledged use of someone’s work. This includes material or ideas from any (published or unpublished) sources, whether print, web-based (even if freely available) or audiovisual. Using the words or ideas of others without referencing your source would be construed as plagiarism and is a very serious academic offence. At the end of the day, it is regarded as stealing intellectual property”.

Palgrave Study Skills. Current Web Site, September 2015.

Compare these two statements:

“The John Rylands Research Institute came into operation on 1 April 2013. It brings together experts from The University of Manchester Library and the University’s Faculty of Humanities in a unique partnership to uncover, explore, unravel and reveal hidden ideas and knowledge contained within our world-leading Special Collections”.

University of Manchester Web Site, August 2015.

and

“Apart from direct funding of research, the John Rylands Research Institute should develop links with Departments to support Department initiatives in research and teaching. Indeed the Research Institute may provide a connecting thread and a forum for various Centres which Faculties establish.”

David Miller 17.11.1986. Extracts from paper written by me at the University of Manchester. The idea was backed by Professor Sir Mark Richmond FRS, Vice Chancellor, University of Manchester, and subsequently the Research Institute established with the whole­hearted support of the Senate and Council.

What is your verdict?

Is it not the case that the 2015 statement copies the ideas written in November 1986?

Similarly, compare these two statements:

“The John Rylands Research Institute has been newly created as a constituent part of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. [….] The purpose of the Institute is to promote awareness and use (by University Departments as a teaching resource as well as by individual scholars) of the astonishing wealth of primary and secondary research materials which are owned by or deposited in [….] the Deansgate building itself – home of the original John Rylands Library.”

Prospectus of the John Rylands Research Institute, November 1987. Words over the names of three senior people at Manchester.

and

“This paper proposes that a John Rylands Research Institute is established within the JRULM by widening the activities of the Deansgate Memorial Building. The Research Institute would promote, fund and stimulate research on the primary material held at Deansgate.”

David Miller 17.11.1986. Extracts from paper written by me at the University of Manchester. The idea was backed by Professor Sir Mark Richmond FRS, Vice Chancellor, University of Manchester, and subsequently established with the whole­hearted support of the Senate and Council.

[Note: JRULM is the John Rylands University Library of Manchester and the Deansgate Memorial Building is The John Rylands Library.]

What is your verdict?

Is it not the case that the November 1987 statement echoes the statement, and idea, written in November 1986?

What is the point of the two standards defined by Harvard Guide to Using Sources and Palgrave Study Skills?

This is a question of academic honesty. Are these standards aimed at six-formers and first-year undergraduates, as well as senior professional academics? Can a group of young people understand and apply these standards? If it takes high grade legal quibbling, or high grade academic authorities, to answer correctly my two questions of comparison above, then the standards need re-writing as they would be ineffective and unintelligible guides to young learners.

A Manchester Alternative?

Is it time for a new standard, as interpreted by Manchester?

David Miller

York. 21 September 2015


Appendix 4. Manchester: Caste not Class – Two Tiers for Academe.

Consider the following:

A History of the University of Manchester, 1973-90, by Brian Pullan, Michele Abendstern (2004), pp. 260-261 states

“There arose the idea, in itself admirable, of establishing a John Rylands Research Institute….”

[I’ve highlighted in bold]

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Pullan, Brian; Abendstern, Michele (2004). A history of the University of Manchester, 1973-90. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719062421.

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My source is the above book. However, in the passage quoted the originator of this idea is not credited. In March 2016 I wrote the following to the current Head of the Department of History:

Dear Professor Strange

History of the University of Manchester 1973-90 and the original John Rylands Research Institute

I attach an extract from the official history published in 2004. My attention to this work was only drawn a week ago. There is a fundamental factual error in the passage quoted. It is not the case that: “There arose the idea, in itself admirable, of establishing a John Rylands Research Institute which would provide bursaries and fellowships for scholars prepared to work on the Library’s collections, with a view both to arranging them and to interpreting their contents.”

I awoke one morning, having been turning over the problems of the University Library and in particular of the Deansgate Building. I had the idea of reversing the usual situation where an Institute has a Library. Dr XXXXXXX can directly verify this. Back then she was Personal Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Mark Richmond, and was the Secretary to the Library Committee. We were at that time married. Dr XXXXXXX is still on the staff of the University of Manchester.

I wrote up my idea that morning – including the means of funding it – primarily by what I called selling duplicate copies of works held at Deansgate [later I used the phrase second copies]. I called a meeting with Keith Farmery [the Deputy Librarian with ill-health, which is why I was appointed] and [Professor] Brian Cox, the Chairman of the University Library Committee. Subsequently the proposal was backed by the Vice Chancellor and it was established.

When I left Manchester for Nottingham, I showed Dr XXXXXXX [who previously I had moved to head the Deansgate Library] where my small archive was shelved in my office in the Main Library. It included a copy of my original paper [which I retain] and my annotated, in pencil, Catalogue of the sale at Sotheby’s, made as I sat in the auction hoping the £1M be reached. In the event £1.8M was the sale price.

My role is acknowledged as being the leader, but crucially it does not state it was myself who had the idea, making it appear I only carried out an idea endorsed by the Library Committee and Senate. The idea itself simply, it seems, “arose”. Giving me a secondary and derivative role. Reading the extract from the History I am surprised that Brian had apparently forgotten what I believe he knew at that time. The events he is writing about are not in the dark ages neither did the idea come out of the mist over Pendle.

As an historian at Manchester and Head of the Department of History, what do you suggest happens to address and correct this fundamental factual error in the History? Brian Pullan was a member of your Department. So also, I may add, was Tony Birley, Professor of Ancient History [who I subsequently invited to be a member of the Board of the Research Institute], who in Library Committee said it was “the best thing that has happened during my time here”.

The reply I received?

 

 

 

BLANK

 

 

 


Addendum to Appendix 2.

Since there is no reply I shall use the space available to add another reminiscence.

Well, the first response to my idea of a John Rylands Research Institute and funding it by raising £1M, was “you are mad” uttered by one of the above. However it was established.

But I’ll use this space to recall one idea that at the time was perhaps mad. On arriving at Nottingham in August 1993, within a few weeks I went to see Professor Peter Mansfield [later Sir Peter and a Nobel Prize winner for his work developing MRI physics] about the idea of passing a book through an MRI scanner to effectively copy it. It took only a couple of minutes for him to explain that MRI worked by using the distribution of water – specifically the hydrogen atoms – in the body to form images. Thus not possible to carry out this procedure on a book. Over tea and biscuits we turned to the advent and impact of digitisation on scientific journals……on my way out of the hut-like unit on the main University of Nottingham campus, I collected my keys left at the reception desk, a precaution because of the high levels of magnetism.

But not that mad. In May 2013 the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council reported the X-ray technology allowing dry roll-up parchment to enable the text to be seen on a screen. This technique works by scanning parchment with X-rays in order to detect the presence of iron contained in ‘iron gall ink’ – the most commonly used ink in Europe between the 12th and 19th centuries. Microtomography is used to build a 3-dimensional map built from a series of X-ray slices through the parchment.

The scanning took place at the Institute of Dentistry where an advanced scanner was being adapted for a range of scientific uses, where enhanced, high contrast images enable, for example, the detection and analysis of features in teeth that haven’t been able to be seen before.

So now ends Appendix 2, Lollipops All the Way, concluding on a dental note as started. Pretty incisive – isn’t it?


Afterword.

So why ‘caste not class’ and ‘two tiers for Academia’?

First. As related above, I conceived the idea of a John Rylands Research Institute, wrote the paper with full details of the purpose and how the £1M proposed to fund the Research Institute should be raised. My reason was twofold. To revive the fortunes [wealth value aside] of the failing Deansgate Building, the original John Rylands Library. [When I was at Manchester, the name had been incorporated into the John Rylands University Library of Manchester – the whole library system]. The other objective was to head off any preemptive selling of books with the monies going into the general University funds – as it did later at Edinburgh. However I was never acknowledged as the creator of the idea and plan of the Institute and I was deliberately ignored by the then Vice Chancellor at the official opening by himself.

Second. Having discovered in August 2015 there was now a John Rylands Research Institute I wrote extensively to the current Vice Chancellor [also now styled as President]. No reply came for a month and then it was the dismissive email printed above.

Third. Having been, as I recently found, partially recognised in the official history of the University, I wrote to the current Head of the History Department, as above. No reply.

My conclusion? As academic-related [I was on the professorial salary grade] I did not count as a fully-paid-up member of the academic staff per se, and did not qualify to be accorded academic acknowledgement of an academic creation. So caste it is, a two tier system. Academic and academic-related.

Incidentally, as I recall, John Rylands issued every employee with a bible but each paragraph was numbered. All in its place, tidy as an early industrialist had it. The rich man in his castle….the nineteenth century lives on….the ordered estate and academia.

David Miller

York. April 2016


The John Rylands Library. How do you describe the impression of the innards of that darkish building? Oases of expertly crafted rare books and ancient manuscripts. If one or two of the best were held elsewhere that place would almost be a shrine. It is marvellous that so many are gathered on one site. Each with perhaps an unlockable history of passage and many appearing as though crafted yesterday. They are with us as testament to the original skills and original creative thoughts. Finally here through the wealth of one man and the vision of one woman. Underpinning all this, however, are hundreds of individuals who laboured unknown, in less than glorious conditions, in forgotten places, in foreign localities and cotton plantations, as well as English mills, and toiled above and below ground. The John Rylands Library, built on and out of privilege, giving us the privilege of an opportunity to see and wonder.

For Laura whose great, great grandmother was a mill girl in Bolton

For Reilly whose great grandfather was a miner at Nottingham


 

John Rylands Research Institute : A Brief Memoir by David Miller: THE TRUE TALE TOLD : Complete Published Edition

ISBN 978-1-5262-0429-5

2016

Published by David W. Miller

Copyright © David W. Miller

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