The Anti-Apartheid Movement

Archives Hub feature for July 2014

The Anti-Apartheid Movement – Archives held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Image of Boycott South African Goods poster
Boycott South African Goods poster, AAM Archives, ref: po001.

For over three decades the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) campaigned for a boycott of apartheid South Africa and support for all those struggling against it. Founded in 1959 as the Boycott Movement, the AAM grew into the biggest ever British pressure group on an international issue.

What was Apartheid?

Apartheid was a unique system of racial segregation and white supremacy in South Africa. For nearly three centuries Africans were dispossessed and exploited by Dutch and British colonists. In 1948 apartheid (‘apartness’) became official policy. The National Party, elected by an all-white electorate, extended and formalised separation and discrimination into a rigid legal system.

Most of the land was allocated to whites, and Africans were confined to barren overcrowded ‘homelands’. Black workers in so-called white areas were required to carry passes at all times. They lived in townships outside the city centres and were paid below subsistence wages.

Health and education facilities were segregated and those for blacks were hugely inferior to those for whites. The system was kept in place by a battery of repressive laws, under which people could be detained indefinitely without trial.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK

Some of the most compelling material held in the AAM archive at the Bodleian library has been included in a new website ‘Forward to Freedom: The history of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, 1959–1994’ at http://www.aamarchives.org.

This site features selected video, photographs, posters and documents from the AAM’s archive at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Highlights are footage of the Wembley stadium Nelson Mandela tribute concert in 1988, iconic posters from campaigns to save the Rivonia trialists from the gallows in 1964 and to stop the Springbok cricket tour in 1970, and letters from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arguing against sanctions on South Africa.

Image of London demo poster
London demo poster (1982), AAM Archives, ref: po065.

Also included are more than 50 interviews with former anti-apartheid campaigners including musician Jerry Dammers, actor Louis Mahoney, Lord David Steel, (AAM President in the 1960s), and grassroots activists who tell what motivated them to get involved.

It shows the wide range of interest groups who took action against apartheid, from students who campaigned for universities to disinvest in the 1970s to British trade unionists who supported resurgent South African trade unions to church groups who campaigned for South Africa’s withdrawal from occupied Namibia.

Other archives related to the Anti-Apartheid Movement

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK had many affiliate branches, partner groups and organisations working alongside them towards their shared aim of ending Apartheid. Some of these also have their archive descriptions included in the Archives Hub.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement in Scotland

Branches supporting the AAM organisation existed in Glasgow and Edinburgh through the 1960s, with 1976 seeing the establishment of the Anti-Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee.

The object of the Scottish Committee was to further the work of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, especially in Scotland, being responsible for the recognition of local Anti-Apartheid groups in Scotland and their admission into membership of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Activities in Scotland incorporated a number of specific areas that were the focus of international campaigning on South Africa, including sports, cultural, retail and academic boycotts, campaigns against nuclear and military collaboration, loans to South Africa, and for oil sanctions. The Movement’s work was not limited to South Africa. It was one of the first organisations to highlight the “unholy alliance” between apartheid South Africa, the racist regime in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and Portuguese colonial rule in Africa.

This archive is held at Glasgow Caledonian University and belongs to Action for Southern Africa Scotland – their site can be found here: http://www.actsascotland.org.uk/.

Lawyers against Apartheid

Also held at the Glasgow Caledonian University site is the archives for Lawyers Against Apartheid. Lawyers Against Apartheid was formed following a legal conference in December 1986 to mobilise the support of the legal community in Great Britain for the liberation struggles in South Africa and Namibia. Membership was open to all members of the legal community in Britain, including practitioners, academics, students and legal workers. The group was affiliated to the Namibia Support Committee, London, and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

The first official meeting of the group was in London in January 1986, where it was decided that their aims were to include exposing the nature and illegitimacy of the apartheid regime to the British legal community, campaigning for anti-apartheid policies and practices within the British legal community, and providing advice and assistance to the local anti-apartheid groups. The group challenged the established ideas of the South African legal system, especially the myth of impartial hearings from an independent tribunal, and also promoted the issue of Prisoner of War status for captured freedom fighters and supported the campaign for Namibia’s independence following South Africa’s illegal occupation.

Lawyers Against Apartheid met quarterly, usually in London, and had sub-groups working on specific issues such as Prisoners of War, Domestic Legal Support, International Law, and Trials & Punishments, until their disbanding in 1996.

The original deposit, which consisted mainly of books, pamphlets, serials, and posters, has been supplemented with two additional deliveries of predominantly archive materials.

Paul Flieshman
Mimas Development Officer

Collections

A selection of the collections relating to apartheid on the Archives Hub:

Image of Free Nelson Mandela rally poster
Free Nelson Mandela rally poster (1980), AAM Archives, ref: po059.

Records of Anti Apartheid Movement Scottish Committee, pressure group, Glasgow, Scotland. 1965-1994 (predominant 1976-1994). http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1847-aams

Records of Lawyers Against Apartheid, pressure group, London, England. 1977-1996 (predominant 1986-1991).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1847-ghjarc/la

Granada Television: Broadcast on Apartheid, 1977-1987. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb101-ics119

Archive of the Bishop Ambrose Reeves Trust, 1965-1996. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb162-mss.afr.s.2348

Papers of Howard Barrell, 1989-1993.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb162-mss.afr.s.2151

Papers of Mervyn Bennun , Late 20th century.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb29-eulms112

All images copyright the Anti-Apartheid Movement Archive, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

A Spring in Your Step

Archives Hub feature for May 2014

Photograph of ballet dancer, Anthony Crickmay Dance Photographs, © V&A Department of Theatre and Performance.
Anthony Crickmay Dance Photographs (THM/20), © V&A Department of Theatre and Performance, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Archives Hub contains a range of material linked with dance – dancers, choreographers and teachers, schools and companies, ballet, contemporary and other styles of dance. This feature highlights some of these collections.

Dancers and Choreographers

Jack Cole Scrapbook Collection, 1910s-1970s, dancer and choreographer. He was known for his unpredictability and originality, grafting on elements from Indian, Oriental, Carribean, Latin American, Spanish, and African-American dance. He worked on Broadway and in Hollywood as both dancer and choreographer, being popularly remembered for his choreography for Marilyn Monroe. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/106

Ram Gopal Collection, 1930s-2004, dancer, choreographer and teacher. Gopal was trained in classical Indian dance forms of Kathakali, Bharatra Natya and Manipuri. He wanted Eastern and Western dance forms to work together and taught Indian folk dance at the Harlequin Ballet Company. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1975-ram

Papers of Diana Gould, 1926-1996, dancer. Diana Rosamund Constance Grace Irene Gould was a British ballerina. Early in her career Sergei Diaghilev spotted her and invited her to join his Ballets Russes but he died before this could be arranged, events said to have been fictionalized in the film ‘The Red Shoes’. Diana married Sir Yehudi Menuhin in 1947.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb2228-dpdg

Papers relating to the career of Bruce McClure, 1925-1989, dancer and choreographer. Bruce McClure trained as a dancer and worked as a dancer at the Citizens’ Theatre among other places. In the 1960s he moved on to choreography including for television. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb247-stabmc

Collection of material relating to Margaret Morris, 1891-1980, ballet dancer and choreographer. She established the first national ballet company for Scotland, developed a modern dance technique and a system of movement therapy. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb247-stabq1

Harry Relph (Little Tich) volumes, 1881-1974, dancer. Known on stage as Little Tich (he was 4 foot 6 inches tall), Harry Relph became one of Britain’s most popular music-hall and variety acts. One of his best known routines was called ‘Big Boots’, which had him dancing in boots that were 28 inches long.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/326

Shirley Wimmer Collection, 1946-1987, dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d3

Dance schools, companies and educational organisations

Photograph of tap dancing class 1942
Tap dancing class in the gymnasium at Iowa State College, 1942. Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsc-00250.

Papers relating to the Pushpalata Dance Company, 1991-2005. The company focuses on Odissi and Kathak dance practices, but also performs in a number of collaborations with Western dance forms, most notably investigating the point at which Flamenco and Kathak dance meet. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1975-pu

Philip Richardson Archive Collection, Royal Academy of Dance, c1900-1963; c1760-1780; c1800-1900. Richardson’s interest in the history of dancing led him to become an avid collector of rare books on the subject. His personal library collection was bequeathed to the RAD after his death in 1963. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb3370-rad/pjsr

The Mimi Legat Collection, The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum, 1900-1970. Papers relating to the Russian ballet dancers Sergei Legat, Nicolas Legat, and Nadine Nicolaeva-Legat. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb3208-rbs/mim

Rita Dow Ballet Bequest, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 1920s-1990s. Dancer and teacher. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb2607-rd000-682

Rambert Dance Company logo
Rambert Dance Company logo

Marie Rambert collection, Rambert Dance Company, 1890s-1980s. Collection of films, costumes, photographs, correspondence, diaries, programmes, press cuttings, personal papers, autobiographical notes, awards and medals owned and collected by Dame Marie Rambert throughout her life as well as papers relating to her death and memorials. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb2228-mr

Laban Collection, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, 1918-2001. Papers and other material relating to Rudolf Laban: teacher, philosopher, dancer, choreographer, author, experimentor and the father of modern dance. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-lc

Ballet

Dance scrapbooks (ballet), c1951-1978. Containing newspaper cuttings of national and international ballet companies and dancers including Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-lz

Ekstrom Collection: Diaghilev and Stravinsky Foundation, 1902-1984. Letters, financial records, and telegrams, which give a unique insight into the day-to-day running of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/7

Russian Ballet Collection, 1911-1914. Programmes of the Russian Ballet’s seasons at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, held by the University of Exeter. Included are many colour illustrations of costume designs, as well as photographs and illustrations of various dancers and text about various ballet productions. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb29-eulms158

Records of Scottish Ballet, 1952-1999. Programmes, photographs, leaflets, periodicals, press cuttings, posters and other papers relating to the Scottish Ballet and Western Ballet Theatre. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb247-gb247stasbetc

Valentine Gross Archive, 1700-1960s. Valentine Gross, a.k.a. Valentine Hugo (1887-1968), was a French art ballet enthusiast, illustrator, researcher and painter and still a student at the time of 1909 Saison Russe in Paris.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/165

Contemporary dance

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance logo
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance logo
Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund Archive, 1981-2001. The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund was established in 1984 to support and promote innovative choreographers and dance writers in Britain, Europe and America. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d25

Contemporary Dance Trust Archive, 1957-1998. Consists of papers relating to the running of the Contemporary Dance Trust which incorporated the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and the London Contemporary Dance School.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/22

Independent Dance at the Holborn Centre for Performing Arts Archive, 1989-1999. Independent Dance is an artist-led organisation which provides specialist training to contemporary dance artists. It was established in 1990 and has the longest running daily training programme in the UK.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d17

Bob Lockyer Collection, 1970-1995. Photographs and scripts from various dance programmes produced for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) by Bob Lockyer. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d8

Dorothy Madden Collection, 1912-2002. Dr Dorothy Gifford Madden, former Professor Emerita of the University of Maryland, United States of America who was responsible for bringing American modern dance practice to the United Kingdom.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d23

Transitions Dance Company Archive, c1985-2009. Established in 1983, Transitions Dance Company was among the first graduate performance companies in the United Kingdom. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d24

Clubs, societies and other dance-related collections

Image of couple dancing, 1900s.
Lecon de Cake-Walk, 1900s.
Image in Public domain

Cambridge Dancers’ Club (Cambridge University), 1963-1983. Correspondence, minutes and other papers. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb012-ms.add.8694

Classical and Ballroom Dancing Society (University of Manchester), 1946-1948. The Society was set up in 1946 to encourage “the improvement of all forms of dancing” amongst its membership. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb133-vss.html?page=2#idp32580000

Dance theatre programmes collection, c1950-1999. A collection of over 3,000 dance theatre programmes from over 500 national and international dancers and dance companies. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-ld

Folk Dance Society (University of Manchester), 1948-1976. Established in 1948 to promote folk dancing, particularly the traditions of the British Isles. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb133-vss.html?page=3#idp18573024

Papers of the Foundation for Community Dance and predecessors, 1984-2011. Papers of the Foundation for Community Dance and its predecessors the Community Dance and Mime Foundation and the National Association of Dance and Mime Animateurs. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb3071-d/036

Henry Rolf Gardiner: Letters to Margaret Gardiner, 1921-1960. 34 letters from Gardiner (businessman and author) to his sister Margaret Gardiner, on his time at Cambridge. Topics include folk-dancing, morris-dancing and work on a dance-book. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb012-ms.add.8932

Els Grelinger Collection, c1928-2000. Notation scores, papers and videos of Els Grelinger, dance notator. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d22

Sadler’s Wells Theatre Archive, c1712-2012. The Sadler’s Wells site has been occupied by six different theatres since 1683. The current theatre, which opened in 1998, is dedicated to international dance. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1032-s/swt

Peter Williams Collection, c1950-1980. Williams was the editor of the journal Dance and Dancers. The collection includes c40,000 black and white photographs of dancers and dance companies from all over the world. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1701-d11

Photo of Bharatanatyam male dancer.
Bharatanatyam male. Image in Public Domain.

250 and counting!

Image of shield used on Virginia's State Route
© Image is in the public domain: Virginia 250 – shield used on Virginia’s State Route.

We’re delighted to announce that we now have more than 250 UK institutions and organisations contributing to the Archives Hub! That amounts to:

* over 26,000 collection-level descriptions
* over 350,000 lower-level descriptions

Our contributors include universities, businesses, local authorities, museums, cathedrals, charities and other organisations. The wide range of archives covered by the Hub is demonstrated by the latest descriptions, received from:

Barclays Group

barclayslogoBarclays Group Archives is one of the principal financial and business archives in the UK. The parent company, Barclays PLC, has been providing banking services continuously since 1690, with records dating mainly from the early 1700s onwards. Collections include: Barclays Bank, Lombard Street (London): board, management and head office records (1896-1985) and Goslings and Sharpe: private bankers, Fleet Street (London): branch records including customer ledgers (1717-1972).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/barclays.html

Doncaster Archives, Local Studies and Family History
The Archives and Local Studies services collect, preserve and provide access to a comprehensive collection of historical and contemporary information relating to the town of Doncaster, its metropolitan district and some adjacent areas. Collections include records of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society: Doncaster Group (1948-1986).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/doncaster.html

Feminist Webs Archive
Set up in 2008 by a group of young women, their female youth workers and allies, the Feminist Webs Archive is held at Manchester Metropolitan University. It is both a physical resource and an online resource. The collection is ever-growing with contributions from older feminist youth workers and consists of photographs, banners, leaflets, magazines, oral “her-stories” with older feminist youth workers carried out by young women, and various other documents that are related to feminist youth work with girls and young women.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/feministwebsarchive.html

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer Company Archive logo
Marks and Spencer Company Archive logo

Marks & Spencer began in 1884 when Michael Marks set up a market stall in Leeds. In 1894 he went into partnership with Tom Spencer and a famous high street name was born. Based in Leeds, the M&S Company Archive collects, preserves and utilises material relating to all aspects of the history and development of the company. The Company Archive contains a range of materials from 1884 onwards, including written records, staff publications, photographs and films, garments and household products, design and advertising material.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/marksandspencer.html

National Jazz Archive
Founded in 1988, the National Jazz Archive is the specialist repository for the history of Jazz in the UK, in addition to the USA and Europe. The collection, comprising mainly 20th century material, includes 2,500 books from 1914 onwards, over 600 periodicals and journals dating from 1927 photographs personal papers, ephemera and a small number of objects.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/nationaljazzarchive.html

National Railway Museum
The library and archive collections at the National Railway Museum form one of the largest resources of railway and transport history in the world. Collections include technical archives containing drawings of locomotives, carriages and wagons; business records of large companies such as the North British Locomotive company, the Pullman Car Company and The General Electric Company; personal and business papers of prominent railway individuals such as George and Robert Stephenson and their families; railway ephemera and semi-published material including advertising, publicity and design records.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/nationalrailwaymuseum.html

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art is an educational charity set up to promote original research into the history of British art and architecture.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/paulmelloncentre.html

Queen Square Archive
The Queen Square Archives are housed in and managed by the Queen Square Library. They comprise the archives belonging to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (named The National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic during the period covered by the Archive) and those of UCL Institute of Neurology. Collections include: 1500 bound volumes of case notes, including many examples of early medical photography (1863-1946); administrative records for the Hospital (1859-1946); employment records (1860-1946); patient admission registers and other health records; approximately 3000 photographs.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/queensquarearchive.html

Rambert Dance Company

Rambert Dance Company logo
Rambert Dance Company logo

The Rambert Archive holds significant collections documenting the evolution of British dance via the development of Britain’s oldest dance company as we moved from pure classical ballet, through embracing modern American influences, into the future of dance. Collections include: Arts Theatre Ballet (1930s-1941), Company History (1900s-2000s), Marie Rambert Collection (1890s-1980s) and Rambert Dance Company Archive: Productions (1920s-2010s).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/rambert.html

Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School Collections trace the activities of the institution from its founding in 1926 as the Academy of Choreographic Art to the present day. The Collections include School records; collections relaing more broadly to the development of British Ballet, with substantial collections of lithographs, periodicals, programmes, press cuttings and books; personal collections of international significance, such as Ninette de Valois, the Founder of The Royal Ballet School and Companies, and the class notes of the great teacher, Vera Volkova, among whose students were Margot Fonteyn, Erik Bruhn and Rudolf Nureyev.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/royalballetschool.html

Royal College of Nursing

Royal College of Nursing logo
Royal College of Nursing logo

Founded in 1916 the Royal College of Nursing has evolved into a successful professional UK-membership body and union. The Royal College of Nursing Archives’ collects across all fields of nursing in the UK and some overseas. The largest and most significant archive is that of the College itself. Other archives include: 30 deposited nursing archives dating back to the 1880s; over 700 personal archives dating from 1815; photographic and postcard collections from the 1880s onwards and 28 handwritten letters written by or addressed to Florence Nightingale (1830-1862).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/royalcollegeofnursing.html

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a worldwide Christian church and registered charity. Founded by William Booth in East London in 1865, The Salvation Army now works in 126 countries. In the United Kingdom, The Salvation Army is one of the largest providers of social services. The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is the repository for the official records of the organisation’s International and Territorial Headquarters. Collections include: William Booth College (1883-2012), The Salvation Army International Headquarters (1875-2013), papers relating to Catherine Booth (c1847-1995) and The Musical Instrument Factory (1893-1972).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors/salvationarmy.html

You can browse and view the full contributor list at: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributors or use our map to explore:

Hub contributors map
Hub contributors map

Want to add your descriptions to the Archives Hub? Find out how at: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributing/ .

Thank you so much to all our contributors!

Be my Valentine

Archives Hub Feature for February 2014

Diamond ring photo
© Image is in the public domain: Diamond ring photo [by Ruby Ran – My Ring][CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

The Archives Hub contains a host of romantic material linked with St Valentine’s Day, including love letters, cards and poetry. This feature picks out some of these, together with less directly connected descriptions!

Hearts and Flowers

Collections

Photographs of the film The Captive Heart, starring Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, 1946.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/31/thm/31/2/1/8/1-20

Songs from the Heart, 1889 (Yiddish).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb152-mss.240w/mss.240w/4/6/15

Records of the Health & Refugee Trust of South Africa (HEART), registered charity, Great Britain. 1984-1995.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1847-ghjarc/he

Declaration of Captain William Higgins regarding the Rose, 1741.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb96-ms624

Records of the Princess Margaret Rose Orthopaedic Hospital,
1926-1990s. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb239-lhb30

Girls with Eastern Rose Tea Packets. Photo, 1940s.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1499-cup/cup/1/112/20

Champagne and Chocolates

Collections

File for champagne reception at the Mansion House, 25 April 1978.
Contemporary Dance Trust Archive.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/22/thm/22/5/7/6

Script for Winkles and Champagne by Terry Newman and William Rowbotham, 1946.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/9/thm/9/7/164

Rose Champagne
© Image is in the public domain: Rose Champagne [By FXR (aka Soundz’FX) (originally posted to Flickr as Champagne Supernova) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

Records for Mair & Dougall, bottlers, Glasgow. 1946-1962. They produced “Sparkling Kola Champagne”.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb0248-md

The Cadbury Papers, 1884-1970.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb150-cadbury

Certificates for Cocoa, Chocolate and Sugar Confectionary Manufacture, 1960 and 1962. Two City & Guilds of London Institute certificates presented to Hubert Walter Graham.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb2110-lsbu/lsbu/3/14/1

Photographs of groups of students, known as the “chocolate soldiers”, 1915.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb0812-hb6/hb6/4/3

Cards and Poetry

Collections

Valentine card designed by Cecil Collins for his wife Elisabeth Collins. Christmas, Birthday and Valentine cards from Cecil Collins to Elisabeth Collins, c.1930s-1980s.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb70-tga200015?page=1#id1563309

Handrawn Valentine’s card sent to Pontecorvo from his students at the University of Glasgow, 14 February 1950. Included in the papers of Guido Pellegrino Arrigo Pontecorvo (1907-1999: geneticist and Professor of Genetics, University of Glasgow).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb0248-ugc198-9?page=1#gb-0248-ugc-198-9-1-3

Valentine rhymes. Included in manuscripts belonging to Ty’n y Braich in Dinas Mawddwy, Merioneth. 18th Century.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb222-bmsstyb

Valentine poem by Alice Williams to the Queen Mother, 1955.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb106-7ahw?page=2

Doves and Cupid

Collections

Records for the Dove Brothers Ltd, builders, 1850-1970.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1032-s/dov

Sketch of Cupid with poem (c.1811-1863). Attributed to W M Thackeray, the Victorian novelist. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb982-gp/gp/3/17

Letters from John Hadfield, The Cupid Press to John Piper, 1954-1984. Specimen page for ‘Elizabethan Love Songs’ enclosed.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb70-tga200410/tga200410/1/1/982

Diamonds and Pearls

Collections

Papers and correspondence of Robert William Ditchburn, 1903-1987. Chair of Physics at Reading University, Ditchburn was instrumental in forming the De Beers-supported international Diamond Research Committee which he chaired from its inception in 1956 until 1982.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb006-ms4621:ditchburn

Menu for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebration Banquet at Beverley Assembly Rooms, 30 Jun 1897.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb050-uddmm/uddmm/x1/2/64

Receipt for a pearl necklace (1920-1970). Lady Violet Deramore Collection.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb0193-vder?page=3#id752980

Macdonald Critchley: Collections on Cora Pearl and Napoleon III, 20th Century.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb012-ms.add.8569

Records for National Union of Insurance Workers, Pearl Section, 1926-1972. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb152-mss.79/pa

Love and Romance

Collections

Photo of Barbara Cartland, 1925

© Image is in the public domain: Barbara Cartland, 1925

Papers of Barbara Cartland, 1993-1998.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb106-7bca

‘The Romance of a Plain Princess’, a children’s book, c 1973.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1840-umw/umw/01/02/06

Will you be my Valentine? Drawing
[undated]. Papers of André Charlot Archive. The drawing includes the name “Joan Charlot”, Charlot’s daughter.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/336

Also, on a lighter note:

Ronnie Barker Collection: Valentine’s Day sketch by Gerald Wiley, hand-written script and set plan, 1966-1987.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/407?page=5

Other Valentines

Collections

Valentine Gross Archive (a.k.a. Valentine Hugo, 1887 – 1968).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb71-thm/165

Correspondence of Valentine Lawless, 2nd Baron Cloncurry, 1822-1848. Robert Owen Collection. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1499-roc?page=76#id1986019

Records of Dr James Valentine – Clinical Clerk, 1930-1939. Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb812-hb13/hb13/20/222

Valentines of Dundee Ltd, 1896-1975.
Established in 1851, the firm began as early exponents of photography, became pioneers in the postcard industry and later developed the production of greetings cards, novelties, calendars and illustrated children’s books.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-ms38562

Barclays Group Archives

=== Browse Barclays Group Archives on the Archives Hub ===

Barclays Group Archives is a living business archive, with material being managed, made available, interpreted, and added to, by a small team of in-house archivists. We encourage external access to our collections, where possible, bearing in mind any necessary restrictions imposed by customer, commercial and third-party confidentiality.

Some history…

Today Barclays PLC is one of the world’s largest financial services providers, offering banking services to customers in over 50 countries. It has come a long way from its foundation in 1690 by two goldsmith bankers, John Freame and Thomas Gould, in Lombard Street, London. In 1736 James Barclay entered the partnership, and the Barclay name has been a presence in the business ever since. In 1896, 19 smaller banks (all but two being private country partnerships) joined Barclays to form a new joint stock bank – Barclay and Company Limited.

Portrait of David Barclay the Younger
David Barclay the Younger

Many of the founding banks had been established by families who were members of the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers). As a result, a business and social network already existed between several of the banks, one that was strengthened by marriage ties. Their Quakerism also helped to contribute towards the success of their banks, as Quakers were renowned for their sobriety and trustworthiness. David Barclay (1728-1809) epitomised the Quaker banker with a social conscience, being active in the anti-slavery movement.

The businesses from which the country banks had developed included brewing, iron trading, shipping and shop-keeping, but the most common route to a successful country bank was via the textile industry. The Gurneys, who had founded their first bank in Norwich in 1775, had originally been woollen merchants. Their banks were spread across East Anglia and accounted for eight of the twenty firms that took part in the 1896 amalgamation.

Similarly, the Backhouses of Darlington established their bank in 1774 on wealth accumulated in linen manufacturing. It was the Gurneys and the Backhouses, together with Barclays, who formed the driving force behind the new bank.

In 1896 Barclays had 182 branches and 806 staff. The next 20 years saw a spectacular series of takeovers, such that by 1920 Barclays was ranked third amongst Britain’s ‘Big Five’ clearing banks and with a national branch network. The new bank was organised into a network of Local Head Offices based on the old head offices of the original partnership banks. This helped to ensure a degree of continuity for customers and the retention of local knowledge and experience built up by local staff and partners.

Advertising map showing Barclays’ presence overseas, 1946
Advertising map showing Barclays’ presence overseas, 1946

Barclays’ ambitions also lay beyond home shores.  Under the chairmanship of Frederick Goodenough Barclays acquired the Colonial Bank, with branches in the Caribbean and West Africa; the Anglo-Egyptian Bank; and the National Bank of South Africa. In 1925 these were brought together to form a new international subsidiary – Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas). Subsequently Barclays established itself in North America and Western Europe, and in more recent decades has expanded into fresh international fields, with a major presence in Asia and the Gulf.

Cash dispenser advert, 1967
Advert for the fourth of six prototypes of the world’s first through-the-wall cash dispenser,1967

Barclays has been in the forefront of innovation, introducing the UK’s first cash machines, credit and debit cards; was the first bank to order a mainframe computer for customer accounts, and more recently has pioneered contactless card payments and mobile banking.

Recent decades have seen two major domestic acquisitions. Martins Bank, acquired in1968, was itself the result of a 1918 amalgamation between Martins Bank of London, which traced its history back to Elizabeth I’s financial agent Sir Thomas Gresham, and the Bank of Liverpool, a new joint stock bank founded in 1831. In 2000, Barclays acquired The Woolwich, a former building society founded in 1847.

In 1986, Barclays established an investment banking operation, which has since developed into Barclays Capital, a major division of the bank that manages larger corporate and institutional business.

Highlights of the Archives…

Noteworthy collections include:

Partners’ signatures to the annual balance, 1737
Partners’ signatures to the annual balance, 1737
  • Barclays partners’ annual balance books, 1733 onwards
  • Martins partners’ letter books, 18th century (mentions South Sea Bubble)
  • Goslings of Fleet Street: customer ledgers, 1717-1900s: one of a handful of surviving complete banking ledger sets for the 18th-19th centuries
  • Private banking partnership agreements and papers, 18th-19th centuries
  • Gurney/Barclay letters: social, political and banking life, c1770-c1870
  • Complete runs of company minute books from the early days of joint stock banking
  • Langton letters (Bank of England and the financial crisis of 1837)
  • Bank amalgamation records, 1896 onwards
  • Visit and inspection reports, UK and overseas, 19th-20th century
  • Staff magazines and internal communications, 20th century
  • Photographs of bank premises (including interiors), many showing high street views, over a period of 100 years
Photo of Canterbury branch, 1939
Barclays’ main branch and local head office in Canterbury, c1939 (mid-left); the photo also shows St. George’s Street before it suffered extensive bomb damage in the blitz, 1942
  • Photographs of overseas bank premises, including views of pioneering bank operations in overseas territories, early 1900s onwards
  • Woolwich: one of a handful of readily accessible building society archives, 1847 onwards

Research potential…

As well as contributing to the documentation of British banking over three centuries, the archives offer potential for the following broad fields of research:

  • economic history
  • company and organization history
  • local and community history
  • accounting history
  • investment
  • biography
  • commercial architecture
  • government regulation
  • colonial and post-colonial development
  • social history
  • employment, training and equal opportunities
  • family history

One interesting recent use of the archives has been by two local historians who have for the last few years been examining the income and expenditure of the earls of Warrington during the late-18th and early-19th centuries, contained in our best surviving set of customer ledgers.

Since the archives service was put on a professional footing in 1990 the collections have been used for a broad variety of research, either wholly or as part of wider projects:

  • Women in banking and as investors
  • Architecture and building history for Buildings of England series
  • Furniture commissioned by Clive of India
  • Account of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland)
  • Clients of Alan Ramsay, 18th century Scottish portrait painter
  • History of agricultural finance
  • Quaker business and family networks
  • Decolonisation and post-colonial development in Africa
  • Development of English building societies
  • Account of Edward Gibbon, historian
  • The usury laws in the 1830s
  • Banking philanthropy, 1870-1912
  • Banking elites
  • Emergence and development of professional accountancy in Libya
  • Employee casualties in World War One
  • Wallpaper makers, suppliers and their clients, 1700 – 1820
  • Evidence for women using heavy machinery, early 20th century
  • Terms of business and commercial bank lending in UK, 1885-1925
  • International financial regulation and supervision, 1960-1980
  • Financial crises at the outbreak of the two World Wars
  • Marriage bar in UK employment history
  • The public debate about Barclays’ presence in apartheid-era South Africa
  • History of commercial advertising

Further information and resources…

Detailed database catalogues are available to consult in person, and bespoke catalogues may be generated on request.

In 2013 BGA has become a contributor to The Archives Hub, and intends to add collection-level descriptions, suitably indexed, to supplement its own detailed database catalogues and indexes.

Official published histories of the Group:

M Ackrill & L Hannah, Barclays: the business of banking 1690-1996 (Cambridge University Press 2001); this volume won the Wadsworth Prize for business history

A W Tuke & R J H Gillman, Barclays Bank Limited 1926-1969 (Barclays 1972)

P W Matthews & A W Tuke, History of Barclays Bank Limited: including the many private and joint stock banks amalgamated and affiliated with it (Blades, East & Blades 1926)

Sir J Crossley & J Blandford, The DCO Story: a history of banking in many countries 1925-71 (Barclays 1975)

[R H Mottram, comp] A Banking Centenary: Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial & Overseas) 1836-1936 (Barclays, private circulation [1937])

anon., A Bank in Battledress: being the story of Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial & Overseas) during the second world war 1939-45 (Barclays, private circulation 1948)

G Chandler, Four Centuries of Banking: as illustrated by the bankers, customers and staff associated with the constituent banks of Martins Bank Limited (Batsford 2 vols. 1964, 1968)

B Ritchie, We’re with the Woolwich 1847-1997: the story of the Woolwich Building Society (James & James 1997)

see also: J Orbell & A Turton, British Banking: a guide to historical records (Ashgate 2001)

Barclays’ history and archives web pages include:

Woolwich advert, 1945
Woolwich Equitable Building Society advert, 1945
  • summary histories of the Group including major acquisitions – Martins Bank and Woolwich Building Society
  • topical fact sheets including: Quaker bankers; Barclays innovations (Barclaycard, Cash Machines; Connect Card – UK’s first debit card); Barclays Eagle logo; Lombard Street; Barclays World
  • an illustrated timeline of events
  • access conditions and full contact details for Group Archives

http://group.barclays.com/about-barclays/about-us#barclays-history

Nicholas Webb
Archivist, Barclays Group Archives

All images copyright the Barclays Group, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.

Sentimental Journey: a focus on travel in the archives

Archives Hub Feature for August 2013

Steel engraving of Capri from 1875 named Picturesque Europe
© Image is in the public domain

The season of summer often brings hopes and plans for holidays and this month we’re looking at the wider theme of travel.

The hundreds of collections relating to travel featured in the Archives Hub shed light on multiple aspects of travel, from royalty to the working classes, and encompassing touring, business, exploration and research, the work of missionaries and nomadic cultures.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” – St. Augustine.

Travel diaries

There are a number of travel diaries recording impressions of, and experiences in, the UK, Europe and beyond from a bygone era. ‘Grand tours’, leisurely and often luxurious, were the domain of the more privileged classes, where sometimes business and pleasure were combined. In more recent times, the pursuit of knowledge, education and ideas has motivated similar educational journeys.

Collections:

Thomas Moody, journal of a tour through Switzerland and Italy, 1822.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-msd919.m7e22

Beatrice Webb, A summer holiday in Scotland, 1884.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-msda865.w4

Harriet Susan Miller: Continental Tour Journal, c. 1856.
https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb12-ms.add.6230

Watercolour paintings and photographs of Canada by an unidentified artist, 1884.
The paintings and photographs are held within a large album, providing a record of a journey by unidentified travellers to Canada from Liverpool in 1884. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb159-ms57

Extracts from the journal of William George Meredith during a trip to Spain and the East in the years 1830-1831.
Accompanied by Benjamin Disraeli, together with associated correspondence.
https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb206-brothertoncollectionms19cmeredith(1)

Diary of travels through Italy and France, compiled by Sir William Trumbull, 1664-1665.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb206-brothertoncollectionmstrvd1

Nassau William Senior Papers, 1830-1864.
Copies of journals kept by Nassau William Senior recording his visits to France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Algeria and Egypt between 1850 and 1862. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb222-bmssnws

Papers of Sir Leonard David Gammans and Lady Ann Muriel Gammans, ne Paul, 1916-1971.
Diaries, notebooks, etc. of Leonard David Gammans, 1916-1956; diaries. etc. of Ann Muriel Gammans, 1918-1970; tourist brochures and other printed material concerning South Africa, [1965-1971]. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb161-mss.brit.emp.s.506

J.R.T. Pollard Papers, 1930-1999.
The collection consists of diaries and papers of J.R.T. Pollard. The diaries include details of the author’s extensive travel, particularly in Europe and observations regarding his years of army service in Africa (1941-1945). http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb222-bmssjpol

Manuscript Itinerary of Henry III of England.
Not quite a diary, but of special note, is the late 19th Century Manuscript itinerary showing the geographical whereabouts of Henry III, where known, for all dates from 1216 to 1272. http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb133-engms123

Business and work-related travel

Collections:

Records of the United Commercial Travellers’ Association (Nottingham Branch), 1908-1975.
The collection comprises accounts from 1932-1967, Committee minutes from 1908-1967 and registers from 1920-1975.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb159-ct

Papers of James Craig Henderson, fl. 1941-1950, commercial traveller.
Commercial traveller in the Middle East.
https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb248-ugd305

Papers of John Hunter, fl 1865-1912, carpenter’s mate, Royal Navy.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb248-ugc076

John William Ramsay, 13th Earl of Dalhousie: Naval Notebook, HMS Galatea , 1869-1871.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb12-ms.add.9279

Papers of John Wylie, merchant, Glasgow, Scotland, 1809-1840.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb248-ugd028

Household book of James Sharp, Archbishop of St Andrews, 1663-1666.
Household account book of James Sharp, archbishop of St Andrews, kept by his secretary George Martin of Claremont, including details of journeys to Edinburgh and London.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-msbx5395.s4m2

Exploration and research

Photograph of Icebergs, Greenland Sea by Frank Illingworth.
Photograph of Greenland Sea by Frank Illingworth. Copyright © Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

Contrasting with travel for pure pleasure, was travel for the purpose of exploration, discovery and research.

Collections:

William Gibb: Journals of Voyages in the Carnatic and the Yangtze River, 1838-1844.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb12-ms.add.9377

Johan Hjort collection, 1912.
The collection comprises of correspondence by Hjort to polar explorer William Speirs Bruce (leader of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb15-johanhjort

Michael William Leonard Tutton: Natural History Diary, 1930-1932.
Natural history diary kept while Tutton was a King’s Scholar at Eton, which was awarded the Natural History Prize, 1930-1931. The diary contains notes on occurrences of insects, especially butterflies and moths, and occasionally birds and mammals.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb12-ms.add.8769

Henry Seebohm: Ornithological Notebook.
Unfinished notes of visits to Glossop, Worksop, Ashopton and other places in Derbyshire; to the Farne Islands and Coquet Islands, Northumberland; to Flamborough Head, Yorkshire; and to Asia Minor (Constantinople and Smyrna) in 1872. The notebook also includes some watercolour sketches.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb12-ms.add.8794

Missionaries

Collections:

Memoirs of Elizabeth Thomson, 1847-1918.
Teacher, missionary, traveller and suffragette, c1914.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb248-ugc053

Diary of the Rev. David Cargill, 1 May 1842 – 29 Mar 1843.
Diary kept on his second missionary journey to Tonga.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb231-ms0911

Papers of George Murray Davidson Short, 1890-1978.
Arts graduate and missionary, Glasgow, Scotland 1927.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb248-ugc049

Alexander Gillon Macalpine.
Malawi missionary papers and linguistic studies, 1893-1964.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb237-coll-48

Records of the Calabar Mission, 1849-1969.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb237-coll-212

St Joseph’s Society Missionary Society (Mill Hill Missionaries), 1865- .
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb2254-stjosephsmissionarysociety

Romanies and Gypsies

Romany Vardo of the English Gypsies
© Image is in the public domain

Collections:

The Gypsy Collections, c.1860-1998.
The collection consists of two separately-catalogued but interlinked parts, the Gypsy Lore Society Archive (GLS) and the Scott Macfie Gypsy Collection (SMGC).
https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb141-gls%26gb141smgc

Manuscripts relating to gypsies and other travellers collected by Sir Angus Fraser, 1752-1976.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb206-brothertoncollectionmsrom-fraser2

Georg Althaus Photographs (including Hanns Weltzel Papers and Photographs).
1907 – 1960s.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb141-glsadd.ga

Letters of Jeanie Robertson, 1954-1956.
The Scottish traditional folk singer Jeanie Robertson is regarded as a seminal figure in the music culture of Scotland’s travelling people. The collection includes letters from Robertson to the poet Hamish Henderson (1919-2002).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb237-coll-725

Miscellaneous and related information

The Records of the Traveller’s Aid Society, 1885-1939.
The Travellers’ Aid Society was initiated in 1885 by the Young Women’s Christian Association to aid female passengers arriving at ports and railway stations, where they were met by accredited station workers who reported to the Travellers Aid Society Committee.
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb106-4/tas

Cold Comfort, The Franklin expeditions (previous feature).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/jul04.shtml

Charles Darwin and the Beagle Collections in the University of Cambridge: a Voyage Round the World (previous feature).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/darwin.shtml

Romanies and Gypsiologists (previous feature).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/jun06.shtml

200 years of railways (previous feature).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/railways.shtml

Sea-Fever: Britain’s maritime heritage (previous feature).
http://archiveshub.ac.uk/features/apr05.shtml

Also of interest

Perthshire Cant: Secret language of Scottish travellers, BBC History:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/22874080

20 Gorgeous Posters From a Time When Travel Was Glamorous blog post:
http://gizmodo.com/20-gorgeous-posters-from-a-time-when-travel-was-glamoro-758243140

Save

HuBBub: January 2012

Some good developments

We’ve started off 2012 with two new developers for Mimas, both of whom will be doing some work for the Hub. Neeta Patel will be working on the UKAD website and some of the Hub interface developments and challenging global edits to help us improve the consistency and utility of the data. We also have Lee Baylis, who is working on our Linked Data project, Linking Lives. He will be helping to design the interface, and is currently beavering away on some exciting ideas for how researchers could customise their display for our biographical interface.

Punctuation for Index Terms

Something that may seem small, but is mighty complicated to execute: Currently we have a mixture of index terms with punctuation and no punctuation. This is because some descriptions came to us with, some without, and some through our EAD Editor – which adds punctuation (so these descriptions are all fine).

Just go to browse and search for ‘andrews’, for example, to see what I mean.  You can see:

Andrewes, Lancelot, 1555-1626, Bishop of Winchester
and
Andrews Barbara B 1829 Nee Campbell

The second is a little confusing without punctuation. But it is not easy to find a way to include punctuation for so many different names, with titles, dates, epithets, kings, queens, floruits, circas, etc. So, we are going to attempt to write scripts that will do this for us, and we’ll see how we go!

Alternative and Former Reference

We’ve taken a while, but finally we are displaying ‘former reference’ with an appropriate field heading. It has been complicated partly because  descriptions with these references often come from the CALM software, and some contributors want the former reference to be the current reference, because they don’t use the CALM automatically generated reference, whilst most want it to be the former reference, and for some it is more of an alternative reference. Finding it impossible to attend to all these needs, we are displaying any reference that is labelled as ‘former reference’ in the markup with the name of ‘Alt. Ref. Number’. This is a compromise, and at least ensures that all references are displayed.

Assessment of ICA AtoM

The Archives Hub is undertaking a review of current software, and as part of this we are looking at ICA-AtoM (Access to Memory). We will be undertaking a fairly detailed assessment of the software, from installation through to upload, search, display and other aspects such as scalability, Google exposure and APIs. We feel that AtoM offers a number of advantages, as free open source software, conforming to archival standards and with the the ability to incorporate name authority records and controlled vocabularies. We are also attracted by the lively international community that has built up around AtoM, and the ethos of sharing and working together to improve the functionality.

It will be interesting to see how it compares to our current software, Cheshire 3, which offers many advantages and sophisticated functionality, build up over 10 years to meet the needs of the Hub and archival researchers. Cheshire has served us very well, and provides stiff competition for any rivals, but it is important to assess where we are and what is best for us going forwards. Looking at other systems offers us the opportunity to think about functionality and assess exactly what we need going forwards.

Why Contribute?

We are constantly updating our pages, and adding new ones. Recently we’ve revamped the ‘Why Contribute?’ page as well as creating a new page, Becoming a Contributor. If you know of any archivists interested in the Hub, maybe you could point them to these pages as a means to provide some compelling reasons to be part of the Hub!

New Contributors

Our two latest contributors illustrate admirably the great diversity of Hub repositories. We have the Freshwater Biological Association with a collection about lakes and rivers in Cumbria and Scotland (if you ever wanted to know about bacteria counts, for example…), and also the National Meteorological Archive looking for a fair outlook by promoting their collections on the Hub.

Open Data

Some of you may have seen the announcement of the Open Data Strategy by the European Commission. This is very much in line with the increasing move towards open data: “The best way to get value from data is to give it away”.  The Archives Hub fully supports this ethos, and we will release all our data as open data unless any contributor wishes to opt out.

The Hub team wishes you all the best for 2012!

Online Survey Results (2011)

We would like to share some of the results of our annual online survey, which we run each year, over a 3-4 week period. We aim for about 100 responses (though obviously more would be very welcome!), and for this survey we got 92 responses. We create a pop-up invitation to fill out the survey – something we do not like to do, but we do feel that it attracts more responses than a simple link.

Context

We have a number of questions that are replicated in surveys run for Zetoc and Copac, two bibliographic JISC-funded Mimas services, and this provides a means to help us (and our funders) look at all three services together and compare patterns of use and types of user.

This year we added four questions specifically designed to help us with understanding users of the Hub and to help us plan our priorities.

We aim to keep the number of questions down to about 12 at the most, and ensure that the survey will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. But we also want to provide the opportunity for people to spend longer and give more feedback if they wish, so we combine tick lists and radio boxes with free text comments boxes.

We take the opportunity to ask whether participants would be willing to provide more feedback for us, and if they are potentially willing, they provide their email address. This gives us the opportunity to ask them to provide more feedback, maybe by being part of a focus group.

Results of the Survey

Profile

  • The vast majority of respondents (80%) are based in the UK for their study and/or work.
  • Most respondents are in the higher education sector (60%). A substantial number are in the Government sector and also the heritage/museum sector.
  • 20% of those using the Hub are students – maybe less than we would hope, but a significant number.
  • 10% are academics – again, less than we would hope, but it may be that academics are less willing to fill in a survey.
  • 50% are archivists or other information professionals. This is a high number, but it is important to note that it includes use of the Hub on behalf of researchers, to answer their enquiries, so it could be said to represent indirect use by researchers.
  • The majority of respondents use the service once or twice a month, although usage patterns were spread over all options, from daily to less than once a month, and it is difficult to draw conclusions from this, as just one visit to the Hub website may prove invaluable for research.

graph showing value of the HubUse and Recommendation

  • A significant percentage – 26% – find the Hub ‘neither easy nor difficult’ to use, and 3% of the respondents found it difficult to use, indicating that we still need to work on improving usability (although note that a number of comments were positive about ease of use) .
  • 73% agree their work would take longer without the Hub, which is a very positive result and shows how important it is to be able to cross-search archives in this way.
  • A huge majority – 93% – would recommend the Hub to others, which is very important for us. We aim to achieve 90% positive in this response, as we believe that recommendations are a very important means for the Hub to become more widely known.

Subject Areas

We spent a significant amount of time creating a list of subjects that would give us a good indication of disciplines in which people might use the Hub. The results were:

    • History 47
    • Library & Archive Studies 33
    • English Literature 17
    • Creative & Performing Arts 16
    • Education & Research Methods 10
    • Predominantly Interdisciplinary 9
    • Geography & Environment 5
    • Political Studies & International Affairs 5
    • Modern Languages and Linguistics 4
    • Physical Sciences 4
    • Special Collections 4
    • Architecture & Planning 3
    • Biological & Natural Sciences 3
    • Communication & Media Studies 3
    • Medicine 3
    • Theology & Philosophy 3
    • Archaeology 2
    • Engineering 2
    • Psychology & Sociology 2
    • Agriculture 1
    • Law 1
    • Mathematics 1
    • Business & Management Studies 0
  • History is, not surprisingly, the most common discipline, but literature, the arts, education and also interdisciplinary work all feature highly.
  • There is a reasonable amount of use from the subjects that might be deemed to have less call for archives, showing that we should continue to promote the Hub in these areas and that archives are used in disciplines where they do not have a high profile. It would be very valuable to explore this further.

graph showing use of archival websites

  • The Hub is often used along with other archival websites, particularly The National Archives and individual record office websites, but a significant number do not use the websites listed, so we cannot assume prior knowledge of archives.
  • It would be interesting to know more about patterns of use. Do researchers try different websites, and in what order to they visit them? Do they have a sense of what the different sites offer?
  • There is still low use of the European aggregators, Europeana and APENet, although at present UK archives are not well represented on these services and arguably they do not have a high profile amongst researchers (the Hub is not yet represented on these aggregators).

Subsequent activities

  • It is interesting to note that 32% visit a record office as a result of using the Hub, but 68% do not. It would be useful to explore this further, to understand whether the use of the Hub is in itself enough for some researchers. We do know that for some people, the description holds valuable information in and of itself, but we don’t know whether the need to visit a record office, maybe some distance away, prevents use of the archives when they might be of value to the researcher.

What is of most value?

  • We asked about what is important to researchers, looking at key areas for us. The results show that comprehensive coverage still tops the polls, but detailed descriptions also continue to be very important to researchers, somewhat in opposition tograph showing what is most valuable to researchers the idea of the ‘quick and dirty’ approach. More sophisticated questioning might draw out how useful basic descriptions are compared with no description and what sort of level of detail is acceptable.
  • Links to digital content and information on related material are important, but not as important as adding more descriptions and providing a level of detail that enables researchers to effectively assess archives.
  • Searching across other cultural heritage resources at the same time is maybe surprisingly less of a priority than content and links. It is often assumed that researchers want as much diverse information as possible in a ‘one-stop shop’ approach, but maybe the issues with things like the usability of the search,  navigation, number of results and relevance ranking of results illustrate one of the main issues – creating a site that holds descriptions and links to very varied content and still ensuring it is very easily understandable and researchers know what they are getting.
  • The regional search was not a high priority but a significant medium priority, and it might be argued that not all researchers would be interested in this, but some would find it particularly useful, and many archivists would certainly find it helpful in their work
  • We provided a free text box for participants to say what they most valued. The ability to search across descriptions, which is the most basic value proposition of the Hub, came out top, and breadth of coverage was also popular, and could be said to be part of the same selling point.
  • It was interesting to see that some respondents cited the EAD Editor as the main strength for them, showing how important it is to provide ways for archivists to create descriptions (it may be thought that other means are at their disposal, but often this is not the case).
  • Six people referred to the importance of the Hub for providing an online presence, indicating that for some record offices, the Hub is still the only way that collections are surfaced on the Web.

What would most improve the Hub?

  • We had a diversity of responses to the question about what would most improve the Hub, maybe indicating that there are no very obvious weaknesses, which is a good thing. But this does make it difficult for us to take anything constructive from the answers, because we cannot tell whether there is a real need for a change to be made. However, there were a few answers that focused on the interface design, and some of these issues should be addressed by our new ‘utility bar’ which is a means to more clearly separate the description from the other functions that users can then perform, and should be implemented in the next six months.

Conclusions

The survey did not throw up anything unexpected, so it has not materially affected our plans for development of the Hub. But it is essentially an endorsement of what we are doing, which is very positive for us. It emphasised the importance of comprehensive coverage, which is something we are prioritising, and the value of detailed descriptions, which we facilitate through the EAD Editor and our training opportunities and online documentation. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

HubbuB: November 2011

image showing celebratory 200 I don’t think we made much of a fuss about reaching 200 contributors, but we’re really pleased to say that we’re now into the 200’s and new contributors are coming on board regularly, which makes the Hub even more useful to even more researchers.

We’re currently trying out a bit of a whizzy thing with the contributors’ map – go to http://archiveshub.ac.uk/contributorsmap/ and try a few clicks and you’ll see what I mean. We particularly like the jump from Aberdeen to Exeter, and are looking for archives from further afield in order to execute even bigger jumps!

Speaking of contributors, we’ve made a few changes to our contributor pages. We now have a link to browse each contributor’s descriptions, and also a link to simply show the list of collections. This link was largely introduced to help us with our quest to bring the Hub out loud and strong through Google. We’re doing pretty well on that front….we’ve found that page views have gone up radically over the last few months, and that can only be good for archives.  I think the list of descriptions can really look quite impressive – I tried Aberdeen and found collections from ‘favourite tunes’ to ‘a valuation of the Shire of Aberdeen’.

We’ve been busy on our new Linking Lives project, using Linked Data to create a Web front-end, and making the data available via an open licence. We’re really pleased that the vast majority of contributors have not asked us to exclude their descriptions, and many have emailed specifically to endorse what we are doing.  This is brilliant news, and I think it shows that most archivists are actually forward-thinking and understand that technology can really benefit our domain (flattery will get you everywhere!).  We want to ensure that archives are out there in the Web of Data, and part of the innovative work that is happening now. You may have seen a few blog posts to get going on Linking Lives: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/linkinglives/. Pete’s are rather more technical than mine, and brilliantly set out some of the difficult issues. I’m trying to think about what archivists are interested in and how we think about archival context. I hope our posts on licensing convey how much we are thinking about the best way to present and attribute the content.

Lastly for this month’s HubbuB, I’ve knocked up a fairly short Feature on the latest stuff that’s happening. I’m thinking of this as an annual feature – sometimes we are so busy we kind of forget to actually make a bit of noise about what we’ve achieved. You’ll see that we’re working on some record display improvements. I really hope I can show you these soon.

HubbuB: October 2011

Europeana and APENet

Europeana LogoI have just come back from the Europeana Tech conference, a 2 day event on various aspects of Europeana’s work and on related topics to do with data. The big theme was ‘open, open, open’, as well, of course, as the benefits of a European portal for cultural heritage.  I was interested to hear about Europeana’s Linked Data output, but my understanding is that at present, we cannot effectively link to their data, because they don’t provide URIs  for concepts. In other words, identifiers for names such as http://data.archiveshub.ac.uk/doc/agent/gb97/georgebernardshaw, so that we can say, for example, that our ‘George Bernard Shaw’ is the same as ‘George Bernard Shaw’ represented on Europeana.

I am starting to think about the Hub being part of APENet and Europeana. APENet is the archival aggregator for Europe. I have been in touch with them about the possibility of contributing our data, and if the Hub was to contribute, we could probably start from next year. Europeana only provide metadata for digital content, so we could only supply descriptions where the user can link to the digital content, but this may well be worth doing, as a means to promote the collections of any Hub contributors who do link to digital materials.

If you are a contributor, or potential contributor, we would like to know what you think…. we have a quick question for you at http://polldaddy.com/poll/5565396/. It simply asks if you think its a good idea to be part of these European initiatives. We’d love to get your views, and you only have to leave your name and a comment if you want to.

Flickr: an easy way to provide images online

You will be aware that contributors can now add images to descriptions and links to digital content of all kinds. The idea is that the digital content then forms an integral whole with the metadata, and it is also interoperable with other systems.

I’ve just seen an announcement by the University of Northampton, who have recently added materials to Flickr . I know that many contributors struggle to get server space to put their digital content online, so this is one possible option, and of course it does reach a huge number of people this way. There may be risks associated with the persistence of the URIs for the images, but then that is the case wherever you put them.

On the Hub we now have a number of images and links to content, for example: http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1089ukc-joh, http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1089ukc-bigwood, http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1089ukc-wea, http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb141boda?page=7#boda.03.03.02.

Ideally, contributors would supply digital content at item level, so the metadata is directly about the image/digital content, but it is fine to provide it at any level that is appropriate.  The EAD Editor makes adding links easy (http://archiveshub.ac.uk/dao/). If you aren’t sure what to do, please do email us.

Preferred Citation

We never had the field for the preferred citation in our old template for the creation of EAD, and it has not been in the EAD Editor up till now. We were prompted to think about this after seeing the results of a survey on the use of EAD fields presented at the Society of American Archivists conference. Around 80% of archive institutions do use it. We think it’s important to advise people how to cite the archive, so we are planning to provide this in the Editor and may be able to carry out global edits to add this to contributors’ data.

List of Contributors

Our list of contributors within the main search page has now been revised, and we hope it looks substantially more sensible, and that it is better for researchers. This process really reminded us how hard it is to come up with one order for institutions that works for everyone!  We are currently working on a regional search, something that will act as an alternative way to limit searching. We hope to introduce this next year.

And finally…A very engaging Linked Data interface

This interface demonstration by Tim Sherratt shows how something driven by Linked Data can really be very effective. It also uses some of the Archives Hub vocabulary from our own Linked Data work, which is a nice indication of how people have taken notice of what we have been doing. There is a great blog post about it by Pete Johnston, Storytelling, archives and Linked Data. I agree with Pete that this sort of work is so exciting, and really shows the potential of the Linked Data Web for enabling individual and collective storytelling…something we, as archivists, really must be a part of.