Since the beginning of 2021 a project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Professor Sharon Ruston of the University of Lancaster, has been imaging, transcribing and providing light critical apparatus of the manuscript notebooks of the Penzance-born chemist and poet, Humphry Davy (1778-1829). These notebooks, of which there are just over eighty, are held by the Royal Institution in London and Kresen Kernow in Redruth. They cover the whole range of Davy’s activities from his teenage years in Penzance, through his work on nitrous oxide in Bristol and his lecturing and scientific discoveries (including sodium and potassium) made at the Royal Institution, as well as his poetry (he was a close friend of Coleridge’s), travelling and fishing.
The results of this work will soon start to be freely available on the Digital Collections website of the University of Lancaster. For more details of the project see https://wp.lancs.ac.uk/davynotebooks/.
The initial transcriptions are made by more 2000 volunteers using the Zooniverse platform (https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/humphrydavy/davy-notebooks-project). As part this work the project has run a number of transcribe-a-thons where volunteers meet either on-line or more recently in person to transcribe collaboratively Davy’s notebooks.
On Saturday 11 February the Morrab Library (which holds a number of items relating to Davy and his family) will be hosting, both in person and on-line, a transcribe-a-thon. If you are interested in being there in person, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (note in-person places are limited and
you will need to bring your own laptop). To participate on-line please book via this Eventbrite link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/humphry-davy-notebooks-transcribe-a-thon-tickets-514795004717
1.00 Welcome and introduction to the project
1.15 Transcribing a Davy notebook
2.15 Talk ‘Davy and Cornwall’ by Professor Frank James (UCL and a Co-I on the project)
2.40 Tea and pasties
3.00 Transcribing a Davy notebook
Document from the Prince Regent awarding Davy his baronetcy in 1818, held at Morrab Library.