Current projects

Grants awarded June 2019

New Contemporaries

New Contemporaries is a registered charity whose mission is to support emerging contemporary visual artists to successfully transition from education into professional practice. This is done primarily through an annual open-submission touring exhibition, which brings together some of the most exciting work by recent graduates from UK arts education. The collection offers an interesting insight into the early careers of some of our most significant contemporary artists and New Contemporaries’ vital place within the UK art scene.

‘We are delighted to have received the scoping grant in our 70th anniversary year. Throughout 2019, we are reflecting on our history and the unique role we have played in reflecting the UK’s changing landscape of artistic practice, arts education and exhibition spaces. This assessment of our post-1988 collection is the first step towards us activating our archive and revealing the significant part we have played in the development of contemporary art in the UK.’ – Kirsty Ogg, Director, New Contemporaries

Union Chapel

Union Chapel Project is a charity that was founded in 1992 to care for the fabric of Union Chapel buildings (built in 1877) and keep them open to as wide a public as possible for heritage and cultural activities.  We aim to curate and support a year-round programme of popular and innovative cultural performances and activities to enrich London’s diverse communities. Strengthening relationships within and between these communities through participative and transformative projects for social change is a key objective.

Our archive collection is an untapped treasure trove of stories. It tells tales of nonconformists and their 100 year journey from persecuted minority to being part of the establishment. It tells of the increasing acceptance of their liberal values, which have helped shape our society. There’s more modern material documenting Union Chapel’s life as a venue, such as posters from the very first Big Chill nights and legendary events by the likes of Procol Harum, Patti Smith, The Moth and Emeli Sandé. But it’s also full of the everyday too, revealing insights into the lives of real local people and their ambitions for a better world.

‘We are thrilled and grateful to receive this crucial support from Archives Revealed. Our community has been caring for and depositing into this happy array of boxes and cupboards for over 100 years. It is now time to share these wonderful stories with a wider public and we simply wouldn’t know where to start without the expert advice the award gives you. We are very excited to be bringing this project to life. Please get in touch if you would like to volunteer!’ – Philip Walker, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Union Chapel Project

Museum of London Docklands: Port of London Authority Archive

The Port of London Authority (PLA) Archive, housed at the Museum of London Docklands, is a unique collection documenting the history and development of London’s docks and river from the first enclosed docks built in 1802. While some of the early records in the collection have been catalogued, the large collection of later records from 1920 onwards are not catalogued or sorted. This includes meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, photographs, plans, deeds, film and art.

Access to a consultant provided by the Archives Revealed Scoping Grant will help develop a better understanding of the extent and content of the PLA collection, and advise on a plan for how to tackle this large archive to enable better access to the unique material it contains.

‘We are thrilled that our archive is receiving support of the Archives Revealed scheme. The PLA archive charts the development of the Port of London and the River Thames, and this project will undoubtedly help us to unearth new information and stories that will be invaluable to researchers and the public for generations to come.  It is particularly timely as we look at scope for an exhibition to showcase unique artefacts and documents that have been unseen for many years.’ – Alistair Gale, PLA Director of Corporate Affairs and Strategy

Grants awarded March 2019

The Lighthouse

Lighthouse is the centre of excellence for live performance, film and visual art in the South West, providing a world-class cultural facility for Poole, Dorset and the wider region. Lighthouse has been around for 40 years and is often referred to as the largest arts centre outside London. The symphonic concert hall is home to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Lighthouse audiences discover and enjoy an extraordinary mix of art forms, diversity, renowned performers, emerging talent, experimental and challenging work – all under one roof.

‘We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, we are passionate about developing our archive and this award will help deliver some much needed support.  The scoping work will feed into a project that seeks to collect, collate and make accessible a record of the history the Lighthouse, from its opening in 1978 to present day. Using the Lighthouse’s history and archive, we hope to engage a range of public audiences with the story and work of Lighthouse over its 40-year history.’ – Sara St George, Deputy CEO

Wheal Martyn

Wheal Martyn is the UK’s only China Clay Mining Museum. Founded in 1975, the Museum is set in 26 acres of grounds near St Austell in Cornwall, on the site of two former china clay works. The Museum tells the story of Cornwall’s important china clay industry, caring for and making accessible an extensive collection of industry-associated items such as machinery, vehicles, social history objects, tools, minerals and art works. The historic grounds include a Scheduled Ancient Monument, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a viewing platform overlooking a modern working china clay pit.  The museum holds an extensive industry archive, largely comprised of documents and records from the company English China Clays Ltd – once one of the UK’s top 100 companies and leading exporters in the 1980s.  The archive is cared for by the Museum’s China Clay History Society volunteers and represents a significant resource in terms of telling the story of this industry which not only shaped the landscape, economy and lives of people in mid-Cornwall but also has global reach.

Colin Vallance, Managing Director of Wheal Martyn, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured a Scoping Grant from The National Archives and are very grateful for their support which will be a catalyst for realising the potential of our significant archive.  There is tremendous scope for the archive to be a source of inspiration and knowledge for more people within our community and beyond, helping to create a sense of place and deeper understanding of our rich heritage.  We have a clear vision for the Archive and the work that this grant will enable is a very important first step in helping to inform and develop plans to realise these ambitions.’

Scottish Opera

Scottish Opera is Scotland’s national opera company and the largest performing arts organisation in Scotland. It is one of five National Performing Companies in Scotland, directly funded by the Scottish Government. Founded in 1962 by Sir Alexander Gibson, Scottish Opera is committed to bringing the widest possible range of opera, created and performed to the highest possible standard, to the maximum audience throughout Scotland and the UK. Each year it presents one of the most extensive touring programmes of any European opera company, performing in theatres, village halls and community halls across the country. The Company believes that opera is for everyone and its programme of outreach and education work reaches tens of thousands of children, young people and adults of all abilities and backgrounds each year.

‘I am delighted that Scottish Opera’s application to the Archives Revealed Scoping Grant programme has been successful. Our collection contains a wide range of musical, promotional and administrative records spanning the 57 year history of Scotland’s national opera company, which is of significant value to the cultural heritage of Scotland. This Scoping Grant will support us to develop a better understanding of the content and quality of our collection so we can move forward with our plans to provide greater public access to our archive, ahead of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Company and the 50th anniversary of the Company’s Outreach and Education department.’ – Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director

The Theatres Trust

The Theatres Trust has acquired a significant archive since its inception and now houses around 45,000 items including the records of the Trust and donated special collections from significant theatre building experts such as the Frank Matcham Collection, Faulkner Collection, Brereton Collection and the GLC Collection. This is a wide reaching collection that no other organisations houses and includes correspondence of the Trust, photographs and theatres plans which are particularly unique in their entirety.

‘We are delighted to receive this Archives Revealed Scoping Grant, which will assist us to further develop our archive of theatre building records, theatre plans and photos so it can be accessed, used and enjoyed by more people in the future’. – Jon Morgan, Director, Theatres Trust

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives (THLHLA) was formed from the library and archive services of the three Metropolitan Boroughs of Bethnal Green, Stepney and Poplar, which merged in 1965 to become Tower Hamlets. We collect, preserve, manage and provide free public access to a wide variety of materials which record, describe or illustrate the borough’s past and present. Through facilitating on site research with these collections and delivering outreach, exhibitions and events, we engage and connect local residents and visitors from across the UK and overseas with the rich histories of London’s East End.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said: ‘I’m delighted to hear that our Local History Library and Archives team have been successful in their initial application to help unlock many of the historic building plans that the borough holds. Behind each of these plans lay the personal stories and unique history that make up the East End, and the people who have lived here. This funding from the National Archives will help bring this currently unknown part of our shared history back to life in Tower Hamlets.’

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations is a not-for-profit social science organisation based in London.  It has been in formal operation since 1947 and grew out of wartime military leadership development and then civilian resettlement work.  The Institute’s main purpose, from then until now, is for the public good – to help organisations, groups and individuals to learn, change, innovate and develop through the application of social science research to contemporary issues and problems.  Experiential learning, systems thinking and group relations methodologies, among others, are employed to improve the performance of all types of organisations (including private, public and third sector) and the human experience of living and working in them. Through evaluation and action research, organisational development and change consultancy, executive coaching and professional development, The Tavistock Institute promotes compassionate leadership, sustainable change and ongoing learning.

‘TIHR’s decision to reactivate its archives has stirred an interest among scientific staff and professional partners to explore some combination of current practice and past action-oriented research.  Sometimes within scholarly practice, there is a tendency to constrain the past into a narrow description as a jumping off point.  It takes courage to go into the TIHR archive and make of it something relevant and applicable to the present.’ – Juliet Scott, Business Curator, Artist-in-Residence, Practice Director Arts and Organisation, Consultant, The Tavistock Institute

Royal Society of Sculptors

The Royal Society of Sculptors was established more than 100 years ago in 1904 and was granted Royal patronage in 1911. The RSS is an artist-led membership organisation offering an ambitious and engaging programme of activities for both members and the public. The organisation aims to lead the conversation about historical and contemporary sculpture through exhibitions, artists’ talks and creative workshops. The archive offers a unique and authoritative survey of sculptural genres and practitioners spanning the 20th and 21st century, as well as a comprehensive history of an organisation dedicated to sharing knowledge and passion for this unique art form.

‘The Society’s archive dates back to 1904 and is home to records for over 1,000 members as well as minute books and organisational records. This project will help us understand the archive’s significance and help us plan for its future care.’ – Caroline Worthington, Director, Royal Society of Sculptors

The British Deaf History Society

The British Deaf History Society (BDHS) was established as a charity in 1993 to promote and advance the interest in the discovery, preservation and conservation of the histories of Deaf people, their communities, culture and language. In summary the volunteer team and dedicated Trustees continue to achieve their charitable objectives by:

  • Managing the British Deaf Museum, Archive and Art Gallery located in Warrington, Cheshire: the museum houses a unique Deaf Heritage collection, archives, a library and art collection. The museum increases visitors’ understanding of the experiences of Deaf people in society today and in the past
  • Providing and supporting volunteer opportunities for deaf people that enable individuals to contribute their valuable experience and skills: for example, in collections management, research, publishing and archiving
  • Delivering UK wide outreach Deaf Heritage Workshops which include family days, deaf children and young people events and conferences across UK communities/Deaf Communities that make deaf history more accessible, educational – and even fun

‘The British Deaf History Society is delighted to receive a Archives Revealed Scoping Grant. The grant will help us to scope our British Deaf History Society’s Photographic Collection (1890s to present day). Ultimately we would like to ensure the archive is conserved appropriately and made more accessible to a wider audience helping to preserve Deaf History for future generations.’ – Peter Jackson, Chief Executive, British Deaf History Society

Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral was built in the 1950s and designed by Sir Basil Spence. It sits beside two ruined buildings. One is the 13th Century Priory Church of St Mary, destroyed in the Dissolution in 1539, and the other was once the Parish Church of St Michael, which was devastated by the Coventry Blitz in 1940. This unique assembly – three cathedrals on one city centre site – tell a powerful story of death and rebirth. This narrative is made even more extraordinary by the words and actions of Provost Howard immediately following the German bombing. His universal message of forgiveness and reconciliation was a breath-taking moment then and today: it singles out Coventry as the only English Cathedral with a special mission and a clear purpose.

‘Sadly our Cathedral lost a lot of its heritage when it was destroyed during the Blitz. However, the Coventry Story is one of rebirth and reconciliation. We now hope that through the best use of our remaining and subsequent records we can tell this remarkable story in a captivating and authoritative way to both visitor and researcher.’ – Isabel Merrifield, Cathedral Administrator

Grants awarded October 2018

The Musical Museum – Music Carriers Collection

The music carriers collection consists of an internationally significant collection of perforated paper music rolls which includes examples of performances by Gershwin, Grieg and Rachmaninov, unique master rolls cut by the production factories, and rolls marked by individual performers.

The scoping grant will help the Musical Museum to devise an approach to research, improve the documentation and knowledge of the content through cataloguing, and look at how to increase access to and engagement with this important collection.

Michael Ryder, Chairman of the Musical Museum said: ‘Our museum’s collection of paper music rolls is not only nationally but internationally significant, given its extent and coverage. However, we have recognised that this area of the Museum’s work needs greater direction and professional input as we try to increase access to this almost “hidden” archive of information. We are altogether delighted to receive this support from The National Archives and look forward to working with them to explore these documents.’

Archives of the Association of Ukrainian Women in Great Britain

The Association of Ukrainian Women in Great Britain (AUW) is a community organisation bringing together Ukrainian women and other women with Ukrainian connections. The completeness of this archive makes this an important collection for the study of women’s organisations in the United Kingdom. The AUW archives are held at the Leicester Ukrainian Club and consist of complete runs of minutes, correspondence, reports, publicity and photographs relating to the activities of the AUW.

The Scoping Grant will focus on supporting the AUW to develop a strategic plan for the development and care of the archive collection, and gain a better understanding of the content and condition of the collection.
Maria Finiw, Chairwoman of AUW says: ‘We are delighted to receive this grant in our 70th anniversary year, when we have been reflecting on our achievements and looking forward to the future. Our archive is a unique source for the history of Ukrainian Women in Great Britain. Female perspectives on diaspora life are often missing from official records, so we are excited to start redressing the balance with this project.’

Richard Burton Archives: Vale (Europe) Ltd, Clydach Nickel Refinery records

Vale (Europe) Ltd deposited archives relating to the Mond Nickel Works with the Richard Burton Archives in 2015. The ‘Mond’ was the largest nickel works in the world when it was built in 1902 and the collection contains a remarkably complete set of records, photographs and publications relating to the history and workings of the Mond since it opened. The Scoping Grant will help the Richard Burton Archives to develop a clear plan of the cataloguing and preservation needs of the collection and the resources needed to make the collection accessible, leading to future innovative research and public engagement projects.

Sian Williams, Head of Research Collections at Swansea University said: ‘I am delighted that the Richard Burton Archives has been successful in securing a scoping grant. The history of the “Mond” Nickel Works and the nickel industry in Wales has been conspicuous by its absence from the industrial history of 20th century Wales. This grant is a first step towards making this important collection accessible and unlocking its potential for a wide range of projects and research.’

The Cheltenham Literature Festivals Archive

The inaugural Cheltenham Literature Festival was held in 1949. The archive contains tape recordings of events from 1990 onwards alongside literary design artwork, event programmes, invitation letters and other items of interest from a host of events featuring literary greats from the past 70 years. In 2018, the archive was transferred from a basement in a Town Hall to safer storage at Gloucestershire Archives, but remains uncatalogued and inaccessible to the public.

The Scoping Grant will support Cheltenham Festivals to understand the condition and value of the archive, encourage internal advocacy for the collection, develop a plan to make the archive accessible for research, and include recommendations for potential use and public engagement.

Nicola Tuxworth, Head of Programming for the Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival says: ‘We are incredibly grateful to The National Archives for their support. The scoping grant they have awarded will give us such an important insight into the value and potential future of our archive as we develop our plans make it more accessible in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Festival.’

Grants awarded July 2018

Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust

Alexandra Palace has a unique and enviable history, spanning entertainment, spectacle and innovation. The main aim of the archive service is to provide greater access to the site’s history and heritage assets, to build audiences, and to foster pride and affection for the park and palace.

In order to progress the commitment to preserving the archive long term, it is necessary to undertake a review of the collections to gain an understanding of scope and establish a high level catalogue structure. The scoping grant assessment will help the interpretation, creative learning and finance teams at Alexandra Palace to allocate resources for the archive and ensure the collection is embedded within the strategic direction of the organisation. Ultimately it will enable an otherwise inaccessible archive to become open for public consultation.

Louise Stewart, Chief Executive of Alexandra Park and Palace, said: ‘It was amazing and exciting to have found the archive materials during the East Wing restoration project, but we were also aware that it brought new responsibilities. The Trust is delighted to have received support from the Archives Revealed fund so that we can now give our archive the care, attention and treatment it deserves and so that the public can enjoy it.’

Society of Antiquaries of London

The Society of Antiquaries of London is Britain’s oldest learned society concerned with the study and understanding of the material past. The Archives are an unbroken record of the Society’s existence and activities since its first formal meeting on 1 January 1718.

The Scoping Grant assessment will help the Society to write a project plan and identify the resources required to implement an archive management system to achieve the goal of cataloguing the Society’s archives and making the collection accessible to new users and new avenues of research in the understanding of Britain’s material heritage.

Paul Drury FSA, President of the Society of Antiquaries of London said:

‘The Society’s archives are of national importance in the study of our cultural heritage, recording and documenting the formation of a scholarly community, of archaeological discoveries, and the development of the disciplines of archaeology and medieval history. Cataloguing our archives to modern standards is a high priority for us and this grant is especially welcome at this early stage of deciding what needs to be done and the best way of doing it – to define a project for which we can then seek wider support.’

Morrab Library

Founded in 1818, the Morrab Library is an independent subscription library based in Penzance, Cornwall. The library’s particular focus, and strength, is in Cornish history, literature and people. The general archive has been continually enhanced since the library’s inception.

The Morrab’s collections are extensive and significant; however, few people – even within Cornwall – are aware of them. The Scoping Grant report will enable the library to write an archive development strategy to achieve its objective to be accessible to all, by bringing these secret collections to greater prominence and making them accessible to a wider public audience.
Lisa Di Tommaso, Head Librarian, said: ‘In the year in which we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Morrab Library, we are delighted that The National Archives is looking to support us in our ambition to ensure the library continues to flourish. We are always seeking ways to showcase our remarkable collections to a wider audience across Cornwall and the UK, and encourage greater use of them as research tools. This grant provides a stepping stone to achieving this.’

Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies

The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies exists to preserve and make accessible materials about the history of the county and to tell the stories of what makes Buckinghamshire unique.

The Centre is working with The National Paralympic Heritage Trust to acquire and preserve collections relating to the Paralympic movement in the UK. The Scoping Grant will fund the assessment of The British Paralympic Association (BPA) collection. The report will help the Archivist understand what resources are required to make the collection available to researchers and develop an effective strategy for doing so.

Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘Our county’s Paralympic heritage is hugely important and our Archives team have been working hard to widen the access to collections such as this for some time. This scoping grant recognises the work that has already taken place, and will allow the team to take more informed steps in the best ways to preserve and interpret this unique collection from the British Paralympic Association.’

Leonard Cheshire

The charity Leonard Cheshire was founded in 1948 by Group Captain Lord Leonard Cheshire VC OM: it supports individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability. The Leonard Cheshire Archive was set up in 1985 with the aim to collect, preserve and promote the memory of its founder and the 70 year history of his work and legacy.

The sound collection contains 532 tapes and includes interviews, speeches, TV and radio appearances, music recordings, sermons from the personal sound archive of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, as well as interviews with key members of staff, service services, residents, volunteers and trustees of all of Leonard Cheshire’s charities. The scoping grant would focus on a conservation survey and appraisal of the tapes in the sound collection, leading to a conservation plan and the development of a robust approach to further work on the collection. This will enable future cataloguing and digitisation projects to proceed without further damage to the collection.

Archivist Stephanie Nield said: ‘I am thrilled that the Leonard Cheshire Archive has been successful in getting a scoping grant for the sound collection and we hope that this grant is a first step towards securing its future and sharing it with a much wider audience.’