Visitors to Huddersfield Art Gallery this October (2018) can see a selection of Heritage Quay’s archival collections on display as part of a new exhibition called Look Twice
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a new work created by HOOT Creative Arts which was inspired by items from the Sally Jerome Archive, which is kept by Heritage Quay. Supported by the ROTOR team from the School of Art, Design and Architecture, participants from HOOT visited Heritage Quay to explore Sally’s portfolios, before making their own work using similar themes and techniques.
On show from Heritage Quays’ collections are some of the artworks that HOOT found most inspirational and archival documents which tell the story of Sally’s life.
The exhibition is on until 3 November. The Sally Jerome archive is available for all to view at Heritage Quay.
Archivists are careful to record as much information as possible on the sources of new material arriving, as knowing the provenance of records or rare books adds to our understanding of them. Knowing exactly who created and used particular records gives us insights into how those people worked and what they might have thought. Knowing where a collection has come from helps us to decide how much to trust a particular historical source. It can also help us decide how relevant a particular record series might be for our research. A series of photographs of a business’ premises taken by the marketing department is going to show different things than a series of photos taken by an individual employee on her retirement, for example.
However, sometimes things turn up that have been in an archive for years, but not yet documented. Perhaps they were mislabelled or housed with other things before there was an archivist to catalogue them! One such little collection that turned up in our move to Heritage Quay was a group of reports relating to trade unionism. These have just been catalogued and are now available to use in our searchroom.
The reports fall into three series: Report of the Annual Trades Union Congress (TUC) 1916-1969, Reports by the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress (1906-1918), and International Report of the Trade Union Movement (1903-1911).
The first step was to check for signs of where these reports might have come from and how they came to us. Several issues were stamped Huddersfield College of Technology or had the College’s bookplate pasted into the cover. The reports therefore belonged with the Institutional Library: publications that used to be part of the University of Huddersfield’s main library and have been kept as Special Collections. They would have been acquired for the use of staff and students researching and studying here in the past.
Obviously given the size of the University of Huddersfield’s library, and its history dating back to its days as the Huddersfield Mechanics Institution in the Victorian era, we can’t keep a copy of every book or report our library every held! So how do we decide what to keep?
The ‘new’ reports add to our political collections, including the archive of the Huddersfield Labour Party, the papers of Sir Joseph Mallalieu MP, and the library of famous statistician G.H. Wood. There were already a number of other left-wing serial publications catalogued within the Institutional Library, such as ‘Labour Weekly’ and ‘Labour Research’, so the provenance made sense. These links to our other collections were part of the reason for deciding to keep these reports.
We also look for how rare items seem to be. Searches of the COPAC library catalogue showed that 12 university libraries in the UK hold printed copies of the Report of the Annual Trades Union Congress. Not all of these hold complete series. The TUC has digitised their holdings and made them available online. The International Report is much rarer: WorldCat shows only 17 libraries holding copies worldwide, none of them in the UK. This might reflect its being published in Germany, not long before the First World War.
Another consideration we take into account when deciding which publications to keep is the potential usefulness to researchers. As Huddersfield’s political history is one of our collecting areas, we attract historians, students, local people and other users wanting to know more. These reports will certainly be of interest. Many of the reports date from the First World War, and cover issues such as assisting Belgian refugees. With lots of research still being generated in the centenary of the war, and plenty of interest in politics, economics and social history the reports certainly have the potential to be great source material for a range of users now and in years to come.
If you want to find out more the main TUC archive is here
The weekend of the 9-10 September 2017 saw the return of the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography to Heritage Quay. As well as being a lot of fun, more importantly it was the last event to take place as part of our Heritage Lottery-funded Heritage Quay engagement project. As I reflected on the past three years of engagement work I realised that the Congress, and the session I ran at it this year (Archive Dérive), was a microcosm for the way that we’ve tried to work at HQ.
So, how does me running a session called Archive Derive at the 4th Congress of Psychogeography sum us up?
0.5) What is Psychogeography?
Psychogeography has a few definitions, which include “the study of the influence of geographical environment on the mind or on behaviour” or “the geographical environment of a particular location, typically a city, considered with regard to its influence on the mind or on behaviour.” For the lay person, it’s an approach to the world around us that, using the tools of psychology, sociology, art, philosophy etc, makes us look at the familiar through new eyes.
1) Local connections and collaboration
The idea for the Congress came from another event we ran back in 2016 and was the result of something that Huddersfield is great for – connections and contacts. In January 2016 we ran a historic Maps Day and as part of the planning I was put in touch with some local psychogeographers. Although what they did didn’t fit with the planned day we decided it was worth doing something together. This small group of four became the committee for the Congress. The HQ project has been really interested in creating communities of interest around our collections, particularly regarding local history, music and rugby league and this seemed like another community we could support.
2) The Congress as an alternative Heritage Open Days event
Throughout the HQ project, we have tried to be as experimental and interesting as possible (!) and the Congress fits that bill. HODs is about opening up spaces and telling stories about the historical built environment, offering free experiences you can’t get at any other time. What do you do when you already offer free entry and behind the scenes tours? My solution was to take the same parameters but approach them in a very different way – through psychogeography.
3) The Archive Dérive
I am fascinated by the connections between collections and created a session which explored this idea, working with psychogeographical ideas. A Dérive is a alternative method for travelling through a space, often with random or arbitrary rules. Of course, we couldn’t let the public roam around the archives so I did a derive of my own, plotting a map of places I’ve lived onto a plan of the main strongroom.
I then selected objects based on those points – following my instincts to select things. Because I was doing the workshop twice I moved the results slightly to end up with two different selections. This is what I ended up with:
On the Saturday of the Congress I asked two groups of psychogeographers to assemble in the searchroom. Each group was given a box of collections and asked to use them to create a (fictional psychogeographer’s) life story. We worked together to interrogate the archival objects and documents and used them to populate a timeline. It was a lot of fun! I encouraged the groups to be as creative, silly and imaginative as possible and they made some very entertaining connections. Who knew you could link a dating service with snails and Tibetan monks?
These were the results:
The workshops were lots of fun, with mystical and dramatic ideas added together to create some tall tales. At the same time, previously unconnected collections were brought together and linked, by non-specialists, into something greater than the sum of their parts. Which when I think of it is what we always want to do.
Heritage Quay has developed six educational films for teachers of KS1-3 students. They are based on our amazing collections and provide opportunities to explore history, the arts and music in inspiring ways. You can access the films on youtube, and download the free teachers packs using the links below. To find out more about what else we offer for schools please visit our Learn page
This film serves as an introduction to the sport collections at Heritage Quay and highlights the history of Rugby League and the sport’s close links with the town of Huddersfield. The film and the accompanying education pack provide a focus for a local history study as set out in the KS2 national curriculum.
The Arts scene in Huddersfield is a major area of strength in the archives. This film gives an introduction to the development of British theatre and highlights items from the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield Operatic and Dramatic Society, and Mikron Theatre collections.
This film gives an introduction to the history of the University of Huddersfield, highlighting the role of Frederick Schwann and the Ramsden family in its history. It provides a focus for KS2 local history study. Items shown in the film include commemorative china which marked the opening of the Ramsden building, and the bell which called students to their classes.
This film highlights the rich variety contained within the music collections at Heritage Quay. From brass bands to dance bands, contemporary music to classical, this is an accessible introduction to a range of musical genres for those studying music at primary level.
The film gives an overview of Huddersfield’s development as a textile town, highlighting the links between textiles and manufacturing, and focusing on local engineers Hopkinsons, whose archive is one of the largest and most complete at Heritage Quay. The film is a valuable starting point for a KS2 local history study, as well as supporting the KS3 themes of industry, empire and technological change. The Fabrics of India sample books shown in the film may inspire and interest textile students.
This film introduces the collections of three significant figures which are prominent in the archives – Robert Blatchford, Victor Grayson and John Henry Whitley. The film gives a brief outline of their achievements in bringing about social and industrial improvements for working people and invites the viewer to consider their legacies. The film is intended for a primary audience, however it provides a good starting point for KS3 students studying British politics between 1860 and 1939.
There are around 8,000 choral pieces in the BMC and we decided we wanted to hear some. So we are on the hunt for singing groups from Kirklees and Calderdale (or who are happy to travel) who want to expand their repetoire (with our help)
If you or your singing group is interested email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01484 473168 by the end of August to find out more
Sometimes working in Archives can feel a bit like being a detective and the research and investigations don’t end in the strongroom. We’re in the midst of developing content for our summer and autumn events and I’m working on one event in particular at the moment: Celebrating the Indomitables.
The rightly celebrated Great Britain touring side of 1946 remains the most successful to ever go down under and to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their achievements we have an event on the 2nd July where we are going to tell the story of the trip from beginning to end.
The first place to start was our own archives which are particularly rich in this area – the RFL kept some fascinating documents and there are photographs and programmes to do alongside. We also have a couple of player collections from Byrn Knowelden and Dai Jenkins which have a more personal dimension. The Dai Jenkins archive is particularly rich as he donated his trunk and all its contents to the RFL. Our volunteers have been going through all these great collections to see what stories we can tell but it’s not enough! We are also working with Simon Foster, son of tour star Trevor who organised a reunion event a few years ago at the George – he has already been in touch with some of his many contacts.
We have two special aims that are above our usual rugby league events here – we are attempting to invite the families of all the players on the tour, and to track down the shirts that were worn by the players – there are 26 in total.
This is the one that belonged to Dai Jenkins – you can see the mud is still on it!
We’re going through local and national press, and contacts at clubs across the North and we are interested in speaking to anyone with a connection to the tour, particularly if they have stories of a family member, if they own any memorabilia or even if they served on the HMS Indomitable.
The archive would be really pleased to hear from anyone holding any items relating to the tour or with a connection to: Martin Ryan, Joe Jones, Eric Batten, Jimmy Lewthwaite, Ted Ward, Jack Kitching, Arthur Bassett, Willie Horne, Willie Davies, Tommy McCue, Fred Hughes, Ken Gee or George Curran.
To get in touch please contact me at email@example.com
The programme responds to different areas of our collections and there is something for (almost) everyone in there although there is a particular focus on rugby league, music and local history.
To pick out a few highlights, the Rugby League History Day in October will be brilliant – the line up of ex-players, fans and historians is looking stellar (more information to come closer to the time) and it’ll all be for free. For those wanting more detail on the history of the game, renowned historian Tony Collins will be here to run a Roots of Rugby League course over four nights, with a special focus on the Kirklees and Calderdale areas. This is apt because of rugby league’s big 120th birthday this year.
Also make sure to book for our showing of Dangerous Moonlight. Although not a wartime ‘classic’ the lush and emotional music of the Warsaw Concerto, composed specially for the film, made it incredibly popular and should get you in mood for dancing afterwards. They’ll be a bar on hand and live music to make the evening go with a swing. Those proto-band leaders amongst you can get more involved with our Conducting for Beginners workshop.
Finally, we’re kicking the season off with a special event in association with the Huddersfield and District Archaelogy Society who’ll be letting people get hands on what they’ve dug up near the buried Roman Fort at Slack. And we finish the brochure period with more history with our Hopkinsons Day, where we’ll be getting out a selection of things from the collection to jog some memories and get people interested in what we’re doing with them over the following months (you’ll have to wait until the next What’s on for the details)
The last thing I’ll mention is The Listening Room, our special group (it’s like a reading club) for music fans. We’ll be serving up a mix of tunes from our collections every month and then dicussing them to pieces over tea and cake. If you fancy joining the conversation visit our web page or join the Facebook group or of course just come along.
For more information about all the events and activities and links for booking tickets head to our website here or our Facebook page
Huddersfield Gems is a unique collaboration between Heritage Quay and groups from across the district. The curators are all members of the Local History Programming Group who meet here three times a year to work on creating events and activities using the University archive collections.
The exhibition aims to hint at the hidden or interesting stories of buildings (or car parks!) which are part of the everyday fabric of the town. There are plans, postcards and physical objects which all help us to delve a little deeper into this world. If you want to know even more about what you see here, the exhibition is continued online at www.heritagequay.org/huddersfieldgems
Maybe the place you live in or work at also has a hidden past? There are many other structures in Huddersfield which are amazing too. Why not tell us your favourite on Twitter or Instagram using #huddersfieldgems?