Current projects

Grants awarded August 2020

Oxford Brookes University

‘Blues off the record: cataloguing the Paul Oliver Archive’ – awarded £37, 786

Paul Hereford Oliver (1927-2017) was an architect, artist, scholar, folklorist, and collector, widely regarded as the most important blues scholar of the 20th and 21st centuries. Oliver pioneered research into the origins and development of the music and uncovered hidden lives of African Americans during Jim Crow segregation. The Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music is a mixed media collection that includes books, music recordings, music scores, audio reel recordings, and research papers. The audio reels include interviews and recordings of blues artists (and social contemporaries) made by Oliver in 1960 and the research papers also include a photograph collection.

This project will create an online catalogue for the audio reels and research papers which will enable the use of this influential collection not only by internal and visiting researchers, but also by a wider popular audience through exhibitions, educational workshops, online outreach activities and community engagement in conjunction with the European Blues Association.

‘Oxford Brookes University is delighted to have been awarded an Archives Revealed grant to enable us to undertake the cataloguing of Paul Oliver’s audio reels and research papers. As well as its significance in relation to the blues as a musical genre, the collection offers a unique commentary on the relationship between the music and African American history, which is of particular relevance as we work to better represent marginalised voices within our collections. The funding will enable the reach and use of this significant collection to be considerably extended.’ – Dr Helen Workman, Director of Learning Resources, Oxford Brookes University

West Yorkshire Archive Service

‘Creating Kirklees: 150 years of local democracy’ – awarded £40,000

The Creating Kirklees project will transform the access, preservation, engagement and profile of the archives of the 11 local authorities that merged to form the Borough of Kirklees almost 50 years ago. This ambitious project will catalogue over 170 cubic metres of archives that comprehensively tell the unique story of the development of the entire Kirklees area from the 1820s to the 1970s and beyond. The extensive collections cover town planning, public health, schools and education, child welfare, transport, water and energy supplies, cemeteries and crematoriums, emergency services, wartime services and defence, and much more. Democracy is the beating heart of these collections and so strengthening local democracy is a key objective of the project.

Alongside the cataloguing work, the project will also deliver an innovative engagement programme that will help local residents to use these collections to uphold their rights and to support democratic accountability. In the longer term, the archives and stories discovered by the project will help to transform the delivery of the archive service by significantly contributing towards the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Kirklees in 2024 and the plans to develop a brand new archive facility as part of Kirklees Council’s Huddersfield Blueprint redevelopment project.

‘Whether through the architectural plans of homes, schools and workplaces, the records of war memorials and military tribunals, or local adoption and fostering records, these collections relate to every individual, family and community in Kirklees today. We cannot wait to start exploring and sharing these fascinating archives with the people of Kirklees to help them understand more about their past, present and future, to celebrate their identity and to support their democratic rights.’ – Robert Clegg, Kirklees Archivist, West Yorkshire Archive Service

Chatsworth House Trust

‘The Devonshire Inheritance: Unlocking the Cavendish Family Papers’ – awarded £33,836

This project will open up access to six outstanding archives held by the Chatsworth House Trust.  These collections span over 450 years and contain papers created by prominent family members from Bess of Hardwick in the 16th century to the 8th Duke of Devonshire, a leading Victorian statesman. However, their content extends far beyond the family: the collections also reflect the wider circles in which the family moved – locally, nationally and internationally – and the people who worked for them.

The archives consequently touch on many aspects of British social, political, economic and cultural history. There are letters of several monarchs, aristocrats, politicians and statesmen from Pitt the Elder to Gladstone, along with architects, designers, artists and writers. The papers of philosopher Thomas Hobbes are included – one of our greatest philosophers and also an employee of the family – as are 17th-century estate papers shedding light on lesser-known servants.

Our Archives Revealed project will make detailed catalogues of these collections available online for the first time, and we will also deliver a range of engagement initiatives, including social media campaigns, onsite and online displays, internships, talks and tours.

‘This project recognises the centrality of the archives at the heart of Chatsworth as a cultural organisation. It will unlock stories about the past that can be used both to engage existing audiences and reach new ones. The funding will enable us to make a significant step forward in making the rich collections we care for more accessible, which is a strategic priority for the charity.’ – Kate Brindley, Director of Collections & Exhibitions

‘These archives are fundamental to understanding and telling the histories of the Cavendish family, Chatsworth House, the family’s estates and the people who have lived and worked on them over centuries. The Chatsworth House Trust is committed to making the collections more widely accessible and increasing their digital presence. Sharing the collections and engaging people in learning and enlightenment are also core ambitions of the Trust and of my family. I am delighted that this funding will facilitate a project which does all of these things.’ – the Duke of Devonshire

Lapworth Museum of Geology

‘Unlocking Lapworth’s legacy: the history of geology as revealed by the Lapworth Archive’ – awarded £37,918

The Unlocking Lapworth’s Legacy project will fund an archivist to catalogue Professor Charles Lapworth’s archive, the most complete of any Victorian or Edwardian geologist in the UK. The archive covers popular and topical themes such as fossils, dinosaurs, natural hazards, environmental change, evolution, and extinctions. This diverse content extends beyond the scientific subjects covered to record how geology and science influenced late 19th and early 20th century life and society in the Midlands and the UK. The project will unlock the potential of this incredible, interdisciplinary resource.

An online catalogue will provide access to its unique content and linked museum objects, while an innovative public engagement programme, including online exhibitions, will engage new and existing archive users. The project will bring about a transformational change, creating a new, user-friendly museum archive service, and provide significant improvements in collection management and access. The project will enrich the Lapworth Museum’s staff and volunteers, allowing them to unlock potential within our other collections and use them creatively to engage diverse audiences. This cataloguing project will therefore not only have an immediate positive impact, but will also create a lasting legacy for the museum, its enhanced archive service and its users.

‘This unique archive at the University of Birmingham records the interaction between geology, sciences, education, arts, people and wider society in the late 19th and early 20th century. This Archives Revealed funding will help to unlock this wonderful resource, allowing researchers, schools and the wider community to explore and share in its inspiring content.’ – Professor William Bloss, Head of the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham

The Garden Museum

‘The Beth Chatto Archive’ – awarded £28,060

The Garden Museum is the UK’s only museum dedicated to the art, history and design of British gardens. In 2017 we opened the country’s first Archive of Garden Design, housing the archives of the most influential figures in British gardening of the 20th century. Thanks to Archives Revealed funding, the museum will be able to catalogue one of the most significant collections that it holds: the archive of Beth Chatto (1923-2018). Chatto was one of the country’s most important gardeners and plantswomen, who became a household name for her ecological “right plant, right place” mantra.

This cataloguing project will make her records accessible to the public for the first time – from garden and horticulture students to archive enthusiasts, and from school groups to landscape design professionals.  Her archive is a treasure trove containing a wide array of works, including correspondence with Derek Jarman, Cedric Morris and George Harrison, Chatto’s professional diaries, press clippings, plant lists for her commissions, invitations, awards, flower arrangements, financial materials, and much more, painting a full picture of who Chatto was and why she was so important to the history of British horticulture.

‘The Beth Chatto Archive is a founding collection of the museum, integral in tying together other archives and objects in our collection through Chatto’s wide network of high profile friends in the horticultural community. Being one of the first to donate her archive, she encouraged her friends to do so too. We are therefore so excited to be able to catalogue her archive and make it accessible to the public, improving the research potential of the Archive of Garden Design as a whole and attracting new audiences through Chatto’s prominence in the field. Since Chatto’s ecological approach to planting links really well to the GCSE science curriculum and horticultural courses, the newly catalogued material will form the basis of innovative outreach and engagement programmes. We can’t wait to get started!’ – Rosie Vizor, Archivist at the Garden Museum

Writing on the Wall

‘L8 Archive Project’ – awarded £39,724

The L8 Archive project will employ a full-time archivist who will work with a team of volunteers to bring into public access two nationally significant collections relating to Black History in the UK. The L8 Law Centre and LAARCA were anti-racist organisations, central to the defence and empowerment of Liverpool’s communities, who lived under extreme institutional racism in one of the country’s poorest areas. The collections speak of the inner-city uprisings of 1980–1985 which swept the UK, of the conditions that gave rise to those events and of the tenacity Liverpool’s black community, one of the oldest in Europe and distinct in its development.

‘We are delighted to have received this level of support from Archives Revealed, which in partnership with Liverpool Records Office, will ensure that this important collection is preserved and made available to younger generations who will benefit from understanding the rich history of Liverpool 8 and the activism and resilience of those who went before them. These archives contain invaluable lessons which can inform the today’s Black Lives Matter movement and future campaigns for equality.’ – Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director of Writing on the Wall

Leicestershire County Council

‘Great Expeditions – Thomas Cook Archive Project’ – awarded £40,000

This project will make freely accessible to the world the remarkable wealth of information, human stories, images and memories which make up the Thomas Cook Archive. A dedicated archivist, supported by the staff of the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, will explore this priceless collection. It will be conserved and preserved and, thanks to this generous grant, fully catalogued to secure and bring into the light every facet and detail of the remarkable Thomas Cook story.

‘This funding will contribute to a full cataloguing and developing of the digital content in the Thomas Cook archive, making it more accessible for visitors and online audiences around the world. This unique archive is not only an important part of local heritage, but is valuable to millions of people around the world who either worked for Thomas Cook, travelled on holiday with the company or who live and work in countries which became destinations for Cook’s Tours.’ – Nick Rushton, Leader of Leicestershire County Council

Essex Record Office

‘The Model New Town: Harlow Development Corporation Archives’ – awarded £33,000

Harlow was among the first post-war New Towns, designated in 1947, and cataloguing the wealth of records generated by the Corporation will provide an invaluable resource for users of the Essex Record Office. Studying the development of New Towns gives an insight in to the social, economic, political and cultural influences across the decades, taking us back to the great social change of the immediate post-war period and beyond, informing the learning of current and future town planners, historians and local people. The project will generate new usage, reach out to new audiences and cement Essex as central in New Town studies.

‘We’re absolutely delighted that the Essex Record Office has been successful with its funding bid. The records of the Harlow Development Corporation, which shaped the town, are one of the most significant resources for 20th century Essex, and looking at the development of new towns provides a fascinating insight into the political and cultural influences over the years.’ – Councillor Susan Barker, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Customer, Corporate, Culture and Communites

Grants awarded June 2019

Leeds University Library Special Collections

‘The figure in the carpet: Discovering Herbert Read and his cultural networks’ – awarded £31,580

The Dictionary of National Biography describes Herbert Read as ‘poet, literary critic, and writer on art’. This hints at the range of his influence but falls short of the ‘half-a-dozen fields’ that he half-joked had made his legacy hard to characterise. ‘In dissipating my talents’, he wrote, ‘I have made it difficult for my contemporaries to recognise the underlying unity of my purpose and my practice. I am left with the hope that someday someone will take the trouble to trace “the figure in the carpet”.’ Read’s archive is as varied as his many projects and interests – it reveals the full extent of his influence on British/European/transatlantic/international cultural development in the twentieth century.

This innovative project will use the large-scale creation of index records for people, places and subjects. It will also link between different parts of the archive, alongside a functional approach to the cataloguing. This will allow us to properly represent Read’s complex personal and intellectual networks, and to create meaningful entry points for researchers, using online visualisation tools drawing from our collections management system. The project will support a dynamic engagement plan, reaching academics, arts practitioners and the wider public. This year-long project will reposition Herbert Read as a focus of cultural study, and transform his currently inaccessible archive into a significant resource for innovative and wide-reaching scholarship.

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies

‘All manner of wickedness’ – awarded £29,500

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies exists to preserve and make available the documentary heritage of the Borough of Barnsley. First established in 1987 in the town’s Central Library, the Service moved into Barnsley Town Hall in 2013 as part of the Experience Barnsley project. This saw a new archive centre developed alongside the first museum to tell the story of the borough’s history.

The ‘All manner of wickedness’ project aims to open up and make accessible over 300 years’ worth of nonconformist archives relating to the Borough of Barnsley for the very first time. These collections will include baptism and marriage registers, minute books, accounts, diaries, photographs and numerous other sources that will be useful for family, local and academic research. Most of these collections relate to Methodist places of worship, but the records of Baptist, Congregational and Independent churches can also be found. The title of the project refers to a visit to Barnsley made by Methodist Church founder John Wesley in the 18th century. He claimed to have found ‘all manner of wickedness’ in Barnsley on his arrival, but then joyfully reported that Methodism had been embraced by the town.

Berkshire Record Office

‘Liquid Assets’ – awarded £38,866

This project will catalogue an exceptional archive for one of England’s great waterways.  The Thames Conservancy Collection forms a unique and unbroken record over 200 years, covering the river’s management from its source to its tidal reach at Teddington.  The catalogue will transform access to this vast collection for researchers interested not only in the Thames but also in topics such as water purity, biodiversity, land drainage and flood management.  It will also inform a wide range of public engagement events planned for 2021, when the 250th anniversary of the conservancy will be celebrated.

Durham County Record Office

‘Durham Light Infantry  – The Whole Story’ – awarded £38,734

The amazing Durham Light Infantry (DLI) archive is one of the most extensive and coherent regimental collections in the UK. It has a full chronological coverage, from its origins in the 1750s to its closure in the 1960s and beyond, including both active service and peacetime experiences.  Its photographic content is outstanding, comprising daily life from the 1850s onwards. It brims with personal perspective through diaries, letters, artwork and poetry, providing an extensive record both formal and informal of the thousands of individuals that made up the DLI.  The reality of war is fully depicted together with leisure activities. This virtual world tour shows lost worlds of people, architecture and landscapes, such as Imperial India, Korea before Communist rule, and interwar China. Though much is already available for research, a significant quantity remains uncatalogued and inaccessible.  Our Archives Revealed grant will enable us to remedy that and bring new stories to life.

Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives

‘The Aberdeen Harbour Board Collection: Navigating Aberdeen’s History’ – awarded £39,145

Aberdeen Harbour has been central to the economy of the North East of Scotland for many centuries and is nowadays famous as the hub of the UK oil and gas industry. This project will catalogue the historical records of Aberdeen’s Harbour Board at a time when a major expansion of the harbour is underway. The collection will be made publicly accessible for the first time, bringing together records currently held by the business and those already in the city’s collections. The funding from Archives Revealed will allow Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives to employ a Project Archivist to create a multi-level description of the collection that will be available through the archive’s online catalogue.

The University of Sheffield

‘The Blunkett Archives’ – awarded £20,178

The Blunkett Archives is a unique collection of national significance which records David Blunkett’s remarkable journey from a deprived area of Sheffield to the highest level of British politics. One of the most significant aspects of the collection is that it covers a transformative period in British political history from a unique perspective – that of the first blind cabinet minister in the UK. The collection dates from the 1950s to the present day and includes political and personal correspondence, policy papers, press cuttings, diaries, school reports, sound recordings and photographs.

The project will complete the detailed cataloguing of the collection, and provide access to the collection for the first time through an online catalogue. The project also aims to engage with new audiences through outreach activities with local schools, both to promote use of the Blunkett Archives and to encourage broader engagement with archives.

Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, Heritage Services, Wiltshire Council

‘Breaking the Mould: The Spencer Moulton and Dr Alex Moulton Archives’ – awarded £39,000

The Moulton Archive contains the important business archives of early pioneering rubber manufacturers, Spencer Moulton, dating from 1848-1956, and the business, estate and personal archives of inventor and entrepreneur, Dr Alex Moulton of The Hall, Bradford-on-Avon, dating from the 19th century to the start of the 21st century.

Stephen Moulton was a friend and agent of Charles Goodyear. His work led to the growth of the rubber industry and had a far-reaching impact upon the industrial economy of the UK. Later, Dr Alex Moulton (1920-2012), inherited his family’s inventive spirit. His award-winning inventions include the revolutionary small-wheeled Moulton bicycle and suspension system for the iconic Mini car. The archives reflect his professional career, personal life and the evolution of the Grade 1 listed estate, The Hall, in Bradford-on-Avon. The archive is deposited with the Wiltshire and Swindon Archive Service, based at the Wiltshire And Swindon History Centre, who have worked in partnership with the Moulton  Trustees to preserve the archive for everyone.

The National Trust

‘The Edward Chambre Hardman Photographic Archive – Cataloguing, Conservation and Digitisation’ – awarded £25,000

The Edward Chambré Hardman Archive contains over 180,000 photographic prints and negatives dating from the 1920s to 1970s, alongside business records and personal papers. Together these provide unique insight into the work and personal life of Liverpool’s foremost portrait and landscape photographer, as well as recording a fascinating social history of the mid-20th century. The archive is currently largely uncatalogued and access to it is significantly restricted, yet the collection has tremendous engagement and research potential and could be relevant to many people. The Edward Chambré Hardman Archive Project will see the National Trust and Liverpool Record Office working in partnership to catalogue, digitise and conserve a significant section of this unique collection over a two-year period. As a result, the archive will be made publicly accessible for local and online exploration, academic research, new exhibitions and creative community engagement opportunities.

Glamorgan Archives

‘Time and Tide: Revealing the history of Cardiff’ – awarded £37,996

The ‘Time and Tide’ project will address the cataloguing needs of two significant and interlinked collections at Glamorgan Archives – the records of Associated British Ports South Wales (ABP) and those of the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (CBDC). ABP inherited records of its predecessor bodies and this material, dating back to 1800, tracks the growth, development and subsequent decline of Cardiff Docks. The records of CBDC pick up the story, charting the modern redevelopment of Cardiff Docks. Cardiff exists as a city because of the docks – it is the quintessential Victorian boom town. The regeneration and consequent gentrification of the docks had a significant local impact. Cataloguing these records will make them fully accessible for the first time, both to the local community and researchers from across the world.

Grants awarded June 2018

Derbyshire Record Office

‘Discovering Franklin: The Sir John Franklin Papers’ – awarded £25,000

The ‘Discovering Franklin’ project will create a detailed catalogue of the archive of Sir John Franklin, who led a disastrous expedition to discover the North West Passage in 1845. The project will reveal Franklin’s story and explore the women around him: his daughter Eleanor and his wives Eleanor Anne Porden and Jane Griffin. Visit Derbyshire Record Office.

Explore York

‘City of York Engineers and Architects Drawings: On the Drawing Board’ – awarded £37,746

‘On the Drawing Board’ will catalogue the collection of Engineers’ and Architects’ drawings created by City of York Council and its predecessor bodies between the early 19th century and the late 20th century. The drawings document the evolution of York’s building landscape and important social changes such as clearance of slums, creation of new streets, roads and bridges and the building of homes for heroes. Visit Explore York.

Berwick Record Office

‘Twixt Thistle and Rose: Unlocking Berwick Borough’s Archives’ – awarded £31,000

The ‘Twixt Thistle and Rose’ project will vastly improve access to the Berwick Borough Archive, enabling the re-cataloguing of the core collection and amalgamation of later uncatalogued records to form a complete online catalogue, documenting the unique history of this independent border town. Visit Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office.

Staffordshire Record Office

‘The Bawdy Courts of Lichfield: Scandal laid bare, strife uncovered and beautiful buildings revealed’ – awarded £34,326

The Lichfield ‘Bawdy Courts’ project will widen access to the vastly under-exploited church court records, revealing the voices of ordinary people and telling the story in their own words with detail that may be informative, amusing, or even scurrilous, about the dispute and disputants, hence the contemporary nickname ‘bawdy courts’. Visit Staffordshire Archives.

University of St Andrews

‘Hidden Burgh: Restoring Cupar’s place at the heart of Fife’ – awarded £34,289

The Hidden Burgh project will catalogue the records of the administration of Cupar – one of the six medieval royal burghs of Fife – from 1364 to 1975, and will have a particular emphasis on engaging the archives with the local community in Cupar. Visit the University of St Andrews Archives.

Aerospace Bristol

‘Out of the Aircraft Hold: The History of Bristol’s Aerospace Companies’ – awarded £29,432

‘Out of the Aircraft Hold’ will tell the story of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, founded in 1910 in Filton, North Bristol, by revealing the previously hidden early company records, technical drawings relating to aircraft and engines, historic advertising brochures and fascinating correspondence and notes. Visit Aerospace Bristol Archives.

Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books

‘Notes in the margins: Opening up the papers of children’s literary editors and agents’ – awarded £36,360

‘Notes in the margins’ will open up two collections – the Aidan and Nancy Chambers collection and the Laura Cecil collection – offering a new understanding of children’s publishing in the 20th century. The papers in these collections provide valuable insights into the roles of the literary agent and reviewer in shaping the work of some of the most accomplished writers and illustrators for children in the last forty years, ad offer new perspectives on diversity in children’s publishing. Visit the Seven Stories website.

British Motor Industry Heritage Trust

‘British Leyland Collection – The Art of Selling’ – awarded £29,463

The ‘Art of Selling’ project will create a comprehensive online catalogue for a unique collection of sales and press material originating from British Leyland, revealing the product history of British Leyland and the rich social and industrial history of the British motor industry. Visit the British Motor Museum Archive.

Media Archive for Central England

‘Rewind-Playback: Revealing the Midlands Community Video Movement (1970s-2000s)’ – awarded £23,642

The ‘Rewind-Playback’ project will enable the cataloguing of the Midlands Community Video Collection, which tells the important story of regional independent media and highlights: a key moment of technological change relating to the adoption of videotape technologies. The content of the video collection celebrates the hidden voices of diverse and marginalised communities across the Midlands from the late 1970s. Visit the MACE Archive.