Press Releases

Blind Reading graduate presents Mendelssohn book to uni library – University of Reading

Release Date : 30 June 2009

University of Reading white deviceIn the year that marks the 200th anniversary of famous composer Felix Mendelssohn's birth, University of Reading Alumna and local author Pam Gulliver generously donated a copy of her book about the composer's life to the University's Library.

Pam presented her book to Christopher Cipkin, the University's Library Faculty Team Manager, in a special ceremony at the University's Library at 3pm on Tuesday 30 June. During the afternoon a quartet of Reading students played some of Mendelssohn's best known works.

Pam Gulliver graduated with History and Sociology degrees in 1979. Her and husband Bill, who studied at Reading with Pam and is also blind, live locally and are still very much part of the local University community.

The couple have been generously donating to the University's Annual Fund since 2005. This programme supports current students through bursaries and hardship funds, as well as providing funding for a range of innovative teaching projects and extra curricula projects that would otherwise not get funded.

Researched almost entirely in braille, Mendelssohn – The Caged Spirit, was published under Pam's pen-name Mary Allerton-North. It is the first book on Mendelssohn to be written by a female psychotherapist and celebrates the life, times and composer's genius, and is a time-bomb for the currently held establishment view of Mendelssohn.

2009 is also the anniversary year of the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the universal alphabet for blind people.

Pam said: "Bill and I have extremely fond memories of our time at the University of Reading and are delighted to continue to support this wonderful institution. I think it's very fitting that I present the library with my book in the year that two extremely important historical figures, who have played such a large part in my life, celebrate their 200th birthday."

The University's library also has on display until Friday 3 July a small collection of fascinating old Mendelssohn music books.

University Librarian Julia Munro said: "The University Library is always very grateful for the generosity of donors who help us augment our collections in areas of teaching and research interest. We are delighted and honoured that Pam Gulliver is donating a copy of her book, The Caged Spirit. It will particularly benefit those staff and students with an interest in music education, music psychology and nineteenth-century British and German culture."


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel 0118 378 7115 or email

The Annual Fund was established in 2004 and is organised by the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office. In the last five years almost £1.7 million has been pledged in total to enhance the student experience at Reading.


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