Early January tends to be a quiet time in the searchroom – are all you researchers recovering from the holiday period? So the team took the opportunity this year to focus on some larger collections which are difficult to work on whilst the searchroom is open and our normal activities are going on.
Collections need sorting, repackaging and cataloguing to be accessible for your research, and often a large amount of space and time is needed for this.
During January this year the team finished off the Hopkinsons’ Ltd archive and made a start on sorting and surveying Sir Patrick Stewart’s archive, received during 2017.
On the 7th November 2017 the British Music Collection will celebrate its landmark 50th anniversary.
Custodians of the collection Sound and Music, the national charity for new music, are thrilled to launch 12 months of #BMC50 activity. This will range from live events to edit-a-thons, guest curators to composer showcases and much, much more….
“This amazing resource has been part of my career for half a century. I used it in the sixties to find out about new music and to meet other composers. In the seventies and eighties, as BMIC, it became a wonderful library and a place that hosted concerts as well. When I taught in London I often sent students there – the only place for discovering new scores. I have continued to use it, either online or in its superb archival spaces in Huddersfield.
I salute the 50th anniversary of the British Music Collection with delight.” – Professor Nicola LeFanu, composer
A year long celebration
To mark this significant date in British cultural history, Sound and Music will put composers in the British Music Collection at the heart of the celebrations, highlighting the heritage of extraordinary music created in the UK and the wider cultural impact of its creators, as well as drawing out more marginalised voices, including those of women, black and minority ethnic and disabled composers.
Throughout the #BMC50 year audiences will also be introduced to contemporary New Voices, a growing community of composers working with Sound and Music to create new music and sound across the country, whose work is featured in the British Music Collection as part of its commitment to the heritage of the future.
The University of Huddersfield’s Archives at Heritage Quay hosted a unique residency with multi-media artist and musician Poulomi Desai, funded through the Leverhulme Trust. For 80 days during the academic year 2016/7 Poulomi immersed herself in the heritage collections stored at Heritage Quay and in the life of the Service, its staff and users. As well as investigating the boxes which hold the archive materials and which are kept in the archive repository when not in use, she also engaged with people attending our events, the researchers pursuing their own interests in the archives, general visitors to Heritage Quay, and staff and volunteers who work here. She also made connections and visits with other artists and groups within the area, and delivered workshops including at European Researchers Night, a University-wide free event in September 2017.
Poulomi produced a series of artworks based on her encounters with the people, collections and broader themes in her residency. One set of these artworks is available at Heritage Quay, the other is in London at Poulomi’s arts space Usurp; the works will be exhibited and performed further.
The artworks include “stories in saris” two silk sari artworks, “S360” and “SE148163” each 5770mm x 3700mm, and made to be worn. The designs are based on Poulomi’s research into three small collections held at Heritage Quay, and listening to idiosyncratic music works in the British Music Collection that reference Indian musicology. The silk was printed in the University’s textile printing department.
“Memento mori” – new photographic glass plates which combine contemporary portraits with motifs from old photographic glass plates, lantern slides and book covers from the main collections of art, rugby league and literature. These celebrate people born in Yorkshire who have broken conventions and challenged prejudices.
“Unmuted” – a film which contrasts the location of Heritage Quay and its collections with the local landscape of the Yorkshire moors.
Performance pieces – two pieces, one for the Archives Assistants in Heritage Quay and the other for anyone handling “Made in Huddersfield” (see below). Both pieces enact rituals of opening, uncovering and displaying the contents of the box – the artworks created during the residency.
“Made in Huddersfield” – a version of the standard archive storage box created in stainless steel and produced by local firm Morley Brothers. These boxes, made of archival quality acid-free cardboard with non-corroding brass fastenings, are used throughout the repositories in Heritage Quay for the preservation and easy handling of the collections. The stainless steel, riveted, version contains and preserves Poulomi’s artworks created through the residency (listed above), and also is central to one of the performance pieces.
Poulomi describes her time in Heritage Quay as providing “unexpected and surprising opportunities” artistically. For the team of staff and volunteers at Heritage Quay, as well as our researchers (both from the University and not) and visitors, Poulomi’s responses to the collections give insights in the past but also reflect on how our management and research processes determine the future.
Please note that Heritage Quay will be closed from Monday 26th to Friday 30th June 2017 inclusive.
This is so that the team can carry out work on some of our collections which we are unable to do whilst we are open to the public. We have chosen this time of year as visitor numbers over the last 2 years have been comparatively low during June.
We plan to spend the week working on the extensive industrial archive of Hopkinsons Limited, the Huddersfield-based isolation and control valve manufacturer, and will post a blog charting our progress during the week: watch this space!
The Hopkinsons archive is one of the largest in our holdings, comprising around 420 boxes plus some oversize material including valves and display items.
This closure means that the research room will not be open on Monday 26th or Tuesday 27th June, and the exhibition space will be closed Monday – Friday inclusive.
Heritage Quay will be open as usual from Saturday 1st July when we will be hosting our History Festival.
The Plan will be a key strategic planning document for the project partners and will be used in support of applications for external funding, including a £1.9m Round 2 Heritage Grants application to be submitted in December 2017. Accordingly, the Activity Plan is to be prepared in accordance with the Heritage Lottery Fund’s current Activity Planning guidance.
Consultants wishing to submit a proposal must obtain the full consultancy brief and supporting documents from Sarah Wickham, Project Director, via s[dot]firstname.lastname@example.org (replace the [dot])
Proposals should be submitted by email ONLY to reach Sarah Wickham by noon on Thursday 9th May 2017 at the latest.
Please note that we will be closed for the Easter weekend on Friday 14th April to Monday 17th April inclusive.
This means that the research room will not be open on Saturday 15th April or Monday 17th April, and there will be no “Through the Quay-hole” tour on Saturday 15th April.
The exhibition space will be open as usual until 8pm on Thursday 13th April, and will re-open at 8am on Tuesday 18th April.
Heritage Quay takes top honours in the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Library Design Awards
AS the year drew to a close the University’s archive centre Heritage Quay celebrated by adding another win to their awards tally, making 2016 their most successful year to date with five national awards.
The University’s archive centre took the honours in the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Library Design Awards in the Under 2,000 Square Meters category. The awards, which have been taking place every three years since 1973, recognise the best in the practical as well as the cutting-edge design of higher education libraries.
SCONUL represents all university libraries in the UK and Ireland, as well as national libraries and many of the UK’s colleges of higher education.
The panel of judges cited ‘the University of Huddersfield’s Heritage Quay is an excellent example of a repurposing of social space within a wider library and student services environment, in order to achieve some very clear institutionally led strategic objectives. In the case of Heritage Quay, these consist of enabling access and increasing visibility of the university’s archives, whilst broadening and developing the collection and securing them for the university and for the people of Huddersfield”.
The Director of Computing and Library Services Sue White said she is thrilled that Heritage Quay has been recognised in these latest library design awards.
“This award is richly deserved and recognises the transformative effect of Heritage Quay in bringing the collections to new audiences,” said Sue White. “This has been a remarkable year and great credit is due to the team, as well as everyone else across the University who has had input to the project.”
Heritage Quay – backed by an award of almost £1.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund – was opened in 2014 and has quickly gained a reputation as the most advanced and accessible in the sector. It is now regarded one of the most technologically-advanced archives in the UK and features a high-tech Exploration Space, enabling visitors to sample archival material via touch screens and gesture technology.
HDAS members Gerrie Brown (l), David Cockman (r) with Heritage Quay Archivist Lindsay Ince
The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton (centre) welcomes Society members to Heritage Quay (l-r) Gerrie Brown, David Cockman, Jo Heron and Edward Vickerman.
THE archive of an award-winning Society, which for the last 60 years has taken part in hands-on archaeology in the Kirklees area, has been deposited into the University’s official archives at Heritage Quay where it can be enjoyed by many for years to come. The catalogue is available at http://heritagequay.org/archives/HDAS/
The Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society (HDAS) was founded in 1956 and their extensive collection records more than thirty significant investigations of Roman roads and settlements, prehistoric sites and medieval and post-medieval industrial activity.
The items range from field notes to finished publications and there are maps, plans and a large collection of photographs and videos together with details of the Society minutes and the yearly cycle of lectures that are open to the public.
Presenting the archive to the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and historian Professor Tim Thornton and Heritage Quay archivist Lindsay Ince were Gerrie Brown, HDAS research archivist, David Cockman image archivist, Jo Heron the current HDAS President and Past President Edward Vickerman.
Gerrie Brown co-ordinated the collection and says the Society is pleased the items are now in Heritage Quay where they can be seen by other archaeologists, students and members of the public, rather than being stored away in poor conditions where they might be vulnerable to damage.
“Mixed paper documents need to be in a temperature and humidity controlled environment,” said Gerrie, “because of this we are extremely grateful to have a local, state-of-the-art facility such as Heritage Quay to house the collection,” he added.
Some of the most notable pieces in the archive belong to archaeological digs of the vicus – civilian area – of the Slack Roman Fort near Outlane which took place in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Here they uncovered new evidence that showed the Roman presence at Slack continued well into the 3rd and possibly 4th centuries AD even after the Roman army had moved north to Hadrian’s Wall and the military use of the fort had ended around 140AD.
“Such was the interest in this work that an academic publishing house called Archaeopress in Oxford agreed to publish The Romans in Huddersfield – a New Assessment (BAR620) in their prestigious British Archaeological Report series,” said Gerrie.
It was the gathering of information for this report, published in 2015, which demonstrated the need for a more permanent and singular home for the items. Still in the Society’s possession are numerous items of pottery, tile and glass because they require a different environment to mixed paper documents.
“There is a sadness that we can’t get the pottery in, but I live in hope that someday we will find a home for the pottery somewhere in Huddersfield,” said Gerrie.
Lindsay Ince, Heritage Quay’s Assistant Archivist & Records Manager, says the work of organisations like HDAS is important to the understanding of the past through archaeology. “We are delighted to make the Society’s archive available for use,” said Lindsay. “Voluntary societies like HDAS often have the resources to do fieldwork and research which otherwise wouldn’t happen.”
One such piece of research is the exploratory excavation of a strange D shaped enclosure in Honley Old Woods. If HDAS can find definitive dating evidence to place it in the Bronze or Iron Ages, it will make a case for Historic England to schedule the site and give it protection for the future.
There are also ambitious plans to re-start archaeological investigations of the well-known Almondbury Hill Fort on Castle Hill in Huddersfield and project design and fundraising activities are currently underway.