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.”
My name is Rachael and this is my first blog as one of the new Archive Assistants at Heritage Quay. My duties include processing collections that have arrived at the archive to ensure they will be accessible to researchers, and one of the main tasks relating to this is cataloguing. This means data about the records is input into our database, which you can try browsing through yourself through our online catalogue here: http://heritagequay.org/archives/).
In this blog I wanted to focus on one of the joys of working with archives- getting to study the creative process. I recently catalogued composer Catherine Kiernan’s papers which primarily includes musical scores (you can view the listing here). However, the item that caught my eye was a script and score for a play named ‘The Clan’. This file contains draft versions allowing you to see how the script was adapted as the play developed. The script features handwritten notes. For example, one note proposes where a song might be played and crossing out delineates where lines have been changed. These adaptations tell the story of how the play was adapted as the creators continued to work and provides insight into their evaluation process as they edit.
There is a handwritten description of costumes, including the style and material that needs to be adorned for a Scottish clansman look. A note at the bottom explains that whoever wrote this did research about traditional Scottish dress by reading Peter Cochrane’s Scottish Military Dress. This is informative about the research process by highlighting what resources might be used as the play is being prepared. Clearly this individual found a history book valuable as inspiration for the costume design. This also tells us that historical accuracy was important for the creators and that they were trying to reproduce authenticity through the costumes.
Studying the unpublished archival items allows you to see a process, rather than just a final product. Providing a glimpse into how a work of art or literature transforms from an idea. Examining others creative processes can inspire artists own and provide greater insight into the creator, helping the researcher comprehend the artwork. Archives are one of the only places where these items, e.g. an artist’s sketchbook or a poet’s notebook, can be discovered and, thus, exploring the creative process is one of the many bonuses of working with archives.’
“Amongst the 10,000 records in our nationally significant British Dance Band Collection are a number of unissued recordings including this one by the Nottingham=based band directed by Billy Merrin. Most of the “top” bands were London-based but Merrin managed to get a national following (and good recording contracts) without having to be based in the capital. A photograph of his band (known as the Commanders) recently came to light and is included in this link to a sound-file of their 1933 recording of an amusing little ditty entitled I’ve Got To Get Up And Go To Work…….”
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.
We have been fortunate recently to be given a monthly blog post opportunity on the APAC (Association of Performing Arts Collections) blog.
As we have recently completed cataloguing the Mikron Theatre Company archive, we decided to explore its research potential with this new user community, and you can read the blog yourself by clicking here.
My name is Liz Pente and I am one of the new Archives Assistants at Heritage Quay. Having recently completed a PhD in History at the University of Huddersfield, I am delighted to join the archive team. As a public historian, I am passionate about the value of preserving the past, so that it may be accessible to people in the present and future.
The collections at Heritage Quay are extensive – over 135 that are ready for researchers to explore! Getting to know these vast collections is part of my new role here. One of my favourite aspects of exploring the past is encountering unexpected connections. Connections between the past and the present, connections between places, connections between documents and materials themselves, and even personal connections to archival materials. This is a little story about one such connection…
I was doing some work on the Leonard Smith Collection related to Unitarianism. According to The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, Unitarianism ‘is an open-minded and welcoming approach to faith that encourages individual freedom, equality for all and rational thought’. They highlight some prominent Unitarians including Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Priestly – who is the namesake of one of our buildings here at The University of Huddersfield!
The Leonard Smith Collection includes 323 volumes of printed books relating to Unitarianism from 1840-2013. These are available to search in our catalogue here.
The materials I was working on included a later accession to the collection, the details of which have yet to be catalogued. The materials are wide-ranging, from volumes of the Transactions of the Unitarian Society Journal, to Unitarian event programmes, church and congregation histories to lecture and sermon pamphlets.The dates of the materials range from the 1800s-2010s, but it was one item from 1986, which caught my eye.
Among the lecture pamphlets was an item from a series called Truth, Liberty, Religion – Essays Celebrating Two Hundred Years of Manchester College, edited by Barbara Smith. The booklet was the first in the series, titled 1. The Unitarian Background by R. K. Webb of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Have you heard of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, otherwise known as UMBC? No? Well, not only have I heard of it, but it is where I completed my Master of Arts in Historical Studies, with a concentration in Public History. Not only that, but UMBC is where I had my first foray into archives, serving as an intern in the Albin O. Kuhn Library’s Special Collections department, working within the Center for Biological Sciences Archive .
Robert K. Webb (1922–2012) was a distinguished American scholar of British history studying from the 1780s through to the nineteenth century, focusing on ‘the relative stability of the British state during a period of revolution in France’ and religious dissent. Sandra Herbert, writing for the American Historical Association in November 2012, describes his work on the Unitarians:
‘In Webb’s subsequent work he explored the British tradition of religious dissent. He was interested in studying the British non-conformists on their own terms. He also saw their movement as providing a safety valve for releasing social tensions. In this Webb’s work was congruent with that of the French historian Élie Halévy. As an indication of his high regard for Halévy, Webb translated his Era of Tyrannies: Essays on Socialism and War into English (1966). Among the English nonconformists Bob Webb settled on the Unitarians for his own work. He was drawn to them by a shared sense of the value of rational enquiry and because he noted the prominence of Unitarians among social reformers in 19th-century Britain, as,for example, in the Martineau family.
Webb’s biography of one ofthe members of that family is still a standard work on the subject: Harriet Martineau: A Radical Victorian (1960). Over the course of the next 40 years, Bob published extensively on the English Unitarians, including numerous individual contributions to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Bob’s last public lecture, again touching on the Unitarians, was a talk he gave in 2010 entitled “The Very Long Eighteenth Century: An Experiment in the History of Religion.” Bob’s contributions to the field of British history were honored in 1992 by the volume Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society: Essays in Honor of R. K. Webb edited by R. W. Davis and R. J. Helmstadter.’
Webb was along-standing member of the UMBC community, and the university established the annual R.K.Webb Lecture, which I attended during my time there. This was quite an unexpected connection!
This pamphlet is just one of over 130 items being added to the Leonard Smith Collection, and this is one small connection between my experiences at those institutions, and learning more about Unitarianism through processing this collection, which I hope will help inform my knowledge of this type of collection more broadly.
I am excited to see what new connections emerge as I continue getting to know the remarkable collections here at Heritage Quay. What connections will you make with our amazing collections? Come explore, and see what you discover!
If, like me, you too have made an unexpected connection whilst conducting research in our archives, we would love to hear your story! Tweet us @Heritage_Quay