Awarded grants

Centre for Policy on Ageing

Founded in 1947 by the Nuffield Foundation as an adjunct to the welfare state, the Centre for Policy on Ageing (CPA) promotes the social interests of older people through research, policy analysis and information dissemination. The Centre’s Information Service collects, summarises and disseminates research, evidence and good practice for users through online databases and services, including its specialist library collection. CPA is unique in being the only UK organisation systematically collecting data for bolstering more effective ways of working with and supporting an ageing UK population.

CPA’s extensive archive collection documents the charity’s achievements and development over the last 75 years, including the setting up of housing associations and centres of gerontology, the growth of policy work in social gerontology, and the changing perceptions of older people from negative to positive over the last 25 years. This Records at Risk Fund grant will enable CPA to transfer the archive collection to its new home, to purchase essential archival preservation supplies, and to engage a professional archive consultant to lead the project.

‘We are delighted to be awarded this grant as it mitigates risks and allows us to carry out urgent work, including preservation and the safe relocation of the collection to a recognised archive repository. Most importantly, the grant will mean that our unique archive collection is accessible to users globally.’ – Gilly Crosby, Director, Centre for Policy on Ageing

South West Heritage Trust

On 15 May 2021, the last Debenhams store closed, signalling the end of over 200 years of trade on Britain’s high streets. The business archive dates from the 18th century to the 2000s and includes minutes, letter books, store plans, ledgers, printed material, estate property deeds, photographs of stores and portraits of directors, including William Debenham. The South West Heritage Trust is currently acting as emergency custodian for the collection, which had to be moved at short notice from a former Debenhams administrative headquarters at Bedford House, Taunton.

This project will meet emergency storage costs and will enable a consultant archivist to be employed who will organise its safe transfer to permanent storage with appropriate archive services. It is expected that the London head office archives will be moved to a main repository, while branch records will be deposited to respective local authority archives. This will enable this rich archive to be cared for long-term and made available to researchers.

‘Debenhams has been an iconic presence on our high streets and the archive is a unique and irreplaceable asset for the story of British business. The South West Heritage Trust is pleased to be involved in its rescue, enabling this important collection to be cared for and made available to researchers.’ – Janet Tall, Head of Archives, Learning & Development

Media Archive for Central England

This project, delivered in partnership by the Media Archive for Central England (MACE) and the University of Lincoln, seeks to make a critical intervention to enable the long-term preservation and public access of three highly significant mixed-media collections that together represent the history of the Ruston’s company, the largest engineering firm in Lincoln in the 20th century. The fund will support the team to appraise at-risk materials, create inventories and relocate them. This will help gain a greater understanding about their content and condition to inform a case for future support.

‘We are thrilled to be working with our partners on such an important project for the region. Ruston’s was an innovator and a company of global significance that had a major impact on agriculture, industry and warfare, and on the lives of communities across Lincoln, the nation and beyond. The Records at Risk Fund will help us to take a vital first step in mitigating against immediate risks to these unique and valuable collections, to unlock barriers to public access and to transform their future security.’ – Sue Malden, Chair of MACE’s Board of Trustees

Shropshire Archives

This Records at Risk grant will help Shropshire Council experts save 100 years of social history for the future. Shropshire Council’s Archives Service will preserve a significant collection of records from Davies, White and Perry, the long-established Newport estate agent. Gifted to Shopshire Council, the papers represent an unusually complete set of records covering the last 100 years of the business, including those documenting sales of a vast number of domestic and agricultural properties in Newport and surrounding areas.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, welcomed the funding. She said: ‘These documents are a valuable record of commercial transactions, but also represent a valuable social chronicle of the last 100 years. I am delighted the grant will allow our experts to preserve the documents, which will then be stored securely and made available for research.’

The records are currently housed in the company’s offices, including difficult to access attic rooms. Damage due to pigeons getting into the storage areas and other hazards have meant that the preservation of the records is particularly urgent as well as challenging.

At the time of the grant application, Professor Richard Hoyle, chair of the Victoria County History for Shropshire, supported the funding bid, stating that the collection’s ‘potential research value is significant in terms of academic as well as community research, spanning a broad range of social, economic, family and local history.’

The grant will enable the safe transfer of the records to Shropshire Archives where they can be assessed, cleaned and repackaged into conservation grade materials, before being and placed into specialist archival storage.

Garden Museum

The Garden Museum is delighted to have been awarded this Records at Risk grant. The funds will pay for a consultant to complete a records survey, urgent conservation and repackaging of the R. Halliday & Co. Ltd. archive, one of the foremost glasshouse manufacturing companies in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Glasshouses are an important part of our national heritage but there are numerous examples that have been demolished due to deterioration and neglect, with archival records being the only remaining evidence of their existence. The lack of research material available for restoration projects makes archives like Halliday’s all the more important.

However, the Halliday archive is at serious risk of degradation due to its current storage in a hayloft and cellar. The custodian, Kathy Herbert, is thrilled and said: ‘by providing the necessary information for potential repositories and stabilising its condition, this records survey will bring the archive one step closer to a suitable long-term home where it can be preserved for posterity and made accessible to the public.’

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

A popular photographic and business archive held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre will benefit from this Records at Risk grant to digitise and store newly discovered moving film and glass plate negatives. Providing an insight into the life and work of Duncan MacPherson, a photographer and chemist at Kyle of Lochalsh, the collection captures a snapshot of life in the West Highlands and Skye in the first half of the 20th century.

The social dynamics of crofting, early tourism, and travellers are just some of the subjects which are covered in the collection, which details everyday life from weddings and street scenes to the reconstruction of Eiliean Donan Castle, as well as the personal impact of the Second World War on the MacPherson family. This funding will enable access to previously unseen footage, which the archive centre is looking forward to sharing with its communities.

The Museum of Youth Culture

The Museum of Youth Culture is an emerging museum preserving and celebrating the story of youth. At its heart sits an extensive archive of photographic slides, alongside a growing collection of prints, ephemera, and objects documenting 100 years of teenage life in Britain. Currently housed above a nightclub, redevelopment of the building means the collections have to move, putting the fragile slide archive at risk. The Records at Risk grant will enable the museum to bring in expertise to move the collections in a safe and controlled manner and upgrade their storage systems in their new home, future proofing the collections for future generations.

Royal Society of Sculptors

The Royal Society of Sculptors is delighted to have been awarded a Records at Risk grant. This funding means we will be able to move the Public Monuments and Sculptures Association (PMSA) archive, which is now in our care, to new and appropriate archive storage where its condition will be assessed and monitored. The PMSA was established in 1991 with a mission to celebrate, protect and promote the UK’s public monuments and sculptures by recording and researching existing sculptures, campaigning to save iconic works and supporting artists to create new public art.

During its 29-year history, the PMSA created the definitive archive on sculpture and monuments in the UK, rich in academic material and photographs. The archive comprises 61 boxes of material such as research papers, old faxes, accounts, governance material and photographs relating to its activities during its active years. It also includes a complete run (30 volumes) of Sculpture Journal, published three times a year with Liverpool University Press. To date, the material has been stored in two large warehouses on a farm in the countryside. There are no environmental controls and, while there is no foxing or mould in the boxes, the material is generally damp to the touch. With this grant, we can rescue the archive from its rural location and enable public access to it.