Amongst the 12,000 “pre-vinyl” 78s in our British Dance Band Collection are examples of around 200 different record labels. One particularly rare and sought-after brand can be seen here at the start of this video. It is the very short-lived “Gold” Edison Bell label which was only in existence for about 18 months in 1933-4. The rest of the video features still photographs of the Joe’ Loss band. Joe led one of the best British bands of the 1930s and he was still active as a bandleader until his death in 1990.
The first authentic jazz recordings in the UK were “waxed” exactly 100 years ago this month during April 1919. A group of young guys has just arrived from New Orleans and had taken London by storm. Columbia swiftly saw their potential and whisked them off to their recording studios and issuing a series of very important recordings. We have a full set of the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band” Columbia 78s in the British Dance Band Collection held at Heritage Quay and here is a link to one of their UK recordings; Satanic Blues:
Following the launch of the England Netball archives early in March 2019, President of England Netball Lindsay Sartori was interviewed on The Netball Show about the history of the sport. Take a listen here:
Here’s another recent addition to the British Dance Band collection here in the Heritage Quay. It represents exactly what was happening in popular music at the end of the Ragtime era before the arrival of jazz. The band was based at Lyons’ Corner House, Coventry Street, London with an instrumentation based on a lead violin, two banjos, piano and drums. Recorded in March 1918 and issued on the Winner record label that had adopted a rather dull colour during the austerity of WW1. Jazz “proper” arrived exactly 100 years ago by boat with the visit of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Next month we will be celebrating this by sharing their first London recording which was in April 1919″
The archive celebrates the game from 1897 to the present day
Netball is a boom sport and now its origins and development can be traced by visitors to Heritage Quay.
It has become home to the England Netball Heritage Archive, a large
collection of documents, pictures, videos and memorabilia covering the
history of “women’s basketball” – as it was originally known – from 1897
to the present day, including recent highlights such as the exploits of
the England team, which vanquished Australia to win Gold at the 2018
Based on American basketball, netball was created in England in 1897
at the Bergman-Österberg Physical Training College for Women, in
Dartford. By 1900, the rules had been published and the game soon
spread across the British Empire.
The All England Net Ball Association was founded in 1926 and in 2016
the modern body England Netball was awarded a grant by the Heritage
Lottery Fund to mark the sport’s 90th anniversary by creating an
When the anniversary celebrations had concluded, England Netball sought advice on the best permanent home for the collection, and the UK’s National Archives recommended the University of Huddersfield’s Heritage Quay.
One of the most publicly accessible and advanced facilities in the sector, it also houses the archives of the Rugby Football League. Now it becomes even more attractive to sports historians and enthusiasts by homing the extensive England Netball Heritage Archive, which is fully catalogued online.
At a special launch event, guest speakers included Liz Nicholls CBE, a
former netball international herself who is now CEO of UK Sport.
Current England Netball CEO Joanna Adams also spoke, and there was a
welcome from the historian Professor Tim Thornton, the University of
Huddersfield’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Also speaking was Councillor
Mumtaz Hussain, the Deputy Mayor of Kirklees Council.
After the opening speeches, netball enthusiasts at the launch event
were the first to have the opportunity to examine items in the archive.
Joanna Adams said: “Netball has grown massively and been thrust into
the limelight, especially over the last 12 months since the England team
won the Commonwealth Games for the first time in history. It is
wonderful to now be able to look back on how it all began thanks to this
archive, and to see how netball got to where it is today.
“I hope others enjoy sharing in the history of this sport as much as I do.”
Sarah Wickham, the University’s Archivist and Records Manager, said:
“We are delighted that England Netball have deposited their archive with
Heritage Quay. This is a significant addition to our sporting
collections. Building on netball’s recent high profile successes, we
look forward to welcoming researchers interested in exploring the
sport’s rich history, and working with England Netball to develop the
archive in the future.”
During termtimes it can be hard for the team to carry out work on new collections which means that they are available for researchers to use. During quiet periods, in common with many other archive services, we therefore close the research room usually for around a week and keep the time free of other activities such as teaching and meetings so that we can focus on big collections. As well as having plenty of space to spread them out if a lot of physical work is needed.
During January 2019 we were closed from Wednesday 2nd – Friday 11th inclusive to work on two big collections: the Colin Challen (MP) Archive and the Sir Patrick Stewart Archive.
The Challen Archive had been boxed (around 80 boxes) on its arrival at Heritage Quay but because of the quantity of material no other work had been done since it was transferred by Colin Challen in November 2017. During Collections Week the team were able to survey the material and to sort it into key series, mostly corresponding with Challen’s various roles and offices as a member of the Labour Party. The archive was also listed, and a small project identified for further detailed listing of the miscellaneous consitutency Labour parties in CHN/8 (planned for 2020).
The catalogue is available on the Heritage Quay online catalogue at www.heritagequay.org/archives/chn and also on the Archives Hub/Archives Portal Europe. This part of the work took around 18 person-days and involved 6 members of the team. More details in a later post!
We had undertaken some work on the Patrick Stewart Archive in a previous collections week, and took 6 person-days this time to expand and complete some of the work previously started. The catalogue for the Patrick Stewart Archive is at www.heritagequay.org/archives/psa/ – and again, more details to follow!
Here’s one of the latest additions to the British Dance Band Collection held here at Heritage Quay. It is an exceptionally rare example of a World Record from the early 1920s. Unlike most of the collection wherethe records revolve at 78 r.p.m, World Records experimented with a system where the record starts slowly and gradually accelerates towards the record label.
The theory was to reduce the deterioration of sound quality towards the centre of disc recordings where each rotation is shorter. For various reasons the “World” project was doomed with the eccentric polymath aviator, publisher, Member of Parliament and entrepreneur-inventor Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) swiftly moving on to other things .
However the system of “constant linear speed” was revisited much later with the introduction of CDs that revolve at a much faster speed when the laser gets close to the centre.The new acquisition will be difficult to transfer to an accessible MP3 as the team are still working out a way of using computer software for editing the sound files which will be recorded at a constant speed and then adjusted accordingly.
I’m interested in power and how it manifests. So the choice to curate the Experimental box from the British Music Collection may seem a little counterintuitive. After all, power stems from big concertos, commissions from kings, and requiems for great people, doesn’t it? Well, that is one way of looking at power, but if we want to critique it perhaps we need to look at composers who are not taking this top down approach to composing. Not asserting control over the players with every minutiae of notation.
In the experimental box we find composers whose work explores the usual musical considerations, tone, melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, colour etc, but also are aware of the structures around how we make music. These experimental composers are exploring ways in which we can subvert traditional hierarchical music composition using techniques from cultural theory. In this box we find approaches from Marxism, Anarchy, Feminism, Disability Theory, and Globalisation applied to the music making environment.
I’m interested in the ways in which music can incorporate broader socio-political themes, through its performance direction. Personally, I work somewhere between composer and performance artist, using music and sound in a performance art context, imbuing the ‘performance’ of the work with further readings related to socio-political context. I find that this approach allows me to use context to add meaning to my performances.