Literary papers of writer and local historian, Louis Mellard, 1924

Scope and Content

The collection includes three texts, the first of which under the title 'Escapades of 'ShelfordTommy' The Nottingham Ventriloquist and the Misadventures of his Comrade 'Whistlin' Charlie'',offers a fictionalised account of two early Nottingham characters. (MS 78/1) Mellard's text (in 136ff) is dated 8 October 1824. It draws on the descriptions of these men as given by John Throsby inhis revised edition of The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire by Robert Thoroton (1797), vol ii, pp 149-151.

The manuscript is accompanied by two shorter, undated local history essays entitled 'More lostromances of Nottingham in the Tudor and Stuart days' (MS 78/2) and 'Some lost dramas and romances ofmedieval Nottingham' (MS 78/3).

Administrative / Biographical History

Apart from the publication of a number of local history works concerning the Nottinghamshire andDerbyshire areas, little is known about the writer Louis Mellard. One of his studies, which appearedunder the title Nottingham in the days of Dick Turpin, was printed in Nottingham in 1924. Itdescribes aspects of criminal activity in the town in the 18th century. This was reprinted, with corrections and additions, from two articles published in The Nottingham Evening Post on 17 and 26 January 1924 and it seems possible that he placed other essays too in in local journals and newspapers.

His Sporting stories of the Midlands (Nottingham: Swift Press Syndicate, 1925) indicatesthat Mellard was then living at 9 Watcombe Circus, Carrington, Nottinghamshire. This essay makesreference to his authorship of Lost Romances of the Midlands, Shelford Tommy, the Ventriloquist and Historic Nottingham, none of which is recorded in published form in the catalogue of the British Library. In Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire (Nottingham: The Lenton Press, 1925), Mellard provided drawings and photographs of local scenes with descriptions of thehistory of different towns and communities in the area.

Mellard seems to have been also the editor of a periodical or occasional local miscellany entitlePot Pourri. A collection of trifles, of which volumes one and two (January and February 1896) are recorded at the British Library.

The story of the Nottingham ventriloquist James Burne, alias Shelford Tommy, is given by JohnThrosby in his revised edition of The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire by Robert Thoroton (1797), vol ii, pp 149-150.


No archival arrangement has been necessary.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.


Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the manuscript. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of this manuscript must be sought in advance inwriting from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email The Department willtry to assist in identifying copyright owners but this can be difficult and the responsibility forcopyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishing to publish.

Custodial History

The date and source of acquisition of this manuscript is not known. It was probably depositedwith the library of University College Nottingham (now The University of Nottingham) in the late1940s.