Key Collections Series: The Arts

The Mikron Theatre Company Collection is a fascinating archive of a mainly canal based theatre company, who have been performing in pub gardens and village halls across the canal network of the UK for over forty years. It contains records of actors and those involved with the running of the company, everything from scripts to research and development folders for shows, their programmes, backdrops and advertising materials. It also charts the administrative story of keeping a small independent theatre company in business through fundraising and funding bid applications and reports.

Arts. Mikron - Pedal Power  Arts. Mikron - Striking the Balance  Arts. Mikron - Our Victor

Mikron Theatre Company production posters

We also have a collection of material and objects from the Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society, now the Huddersfield Musical Theatre Society. Dating from the beginning of the 20th century, programmes and administrative files tell an official history, but this archive also contains objects, from conductors batons, to dolls used as show props or costume tests.

The repository also contains some excellent nineteenth century collection examples covering the Arts. The Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition was a grand exhibition held to mark the opening of a new Mechanics Institute building, and featured many rooms of material, from grand art old masters, to the latest technology in weaving and chemistry. There are also collections spanning some of the intellectual societies of the town in the nineteenth century, including the Foreign Library Society and the Literary and Scientific Society.

Coming into the 20th century, we have an interesting book collection of the Left Book Club, containing a range of well-known and lesser known socialist themed literature. The records of the local theatre, the Lawrence Batley, are also lodged with us, and we have a large amount of material also relating to theatre in Huddersfield in the 1920s – 1950s in the Kirklees Theatre Trust collection. These collections reveal a side of human expression and emotion across two centuries expressed by both the professional and amateur sphere of Huddersfield society.

Membership pin badges of the Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society, 1912-1938
Membership pin badges of the Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society, 1912-1938
Dame Judi Dench lays foundation stone of Lawrence Batley Theatre, 11 September 1993
Dame Judi Dench lays foundation stone of Lawrence Batley Theatre, 11 September 1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catalogued Collections: The Arts

Albert Booth Photographic Library – http://heritagequay.org/archives/BOO/

Jo Ogle Needlework Library – http://heritagequay.org/archives/JOG/

Textile Fabrics of India – http://heritagequay.org/archives/TFI/

 

Uncatalogued Collections: The Arts

Albert Booth Photographic Archive – http://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=booth+albert+photographic+archive

Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society Archive – http://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=Huddersfield+amateur+operatic

Huddersfield Literary and Scientific Society Party Archive – http://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=Literary+and+Scientific

Kirklees Theatre Trust Archive (Incorporating the Lawrence Batley Theatre Collection) – http://heritagequay.org/archives/KTT/

Ian McMillan Memorabilia Collection – http://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=ian+mcmillan

Mikron Theatre Company – http://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=mikron

 

Pursue your own research using the collections

Find out about our events exploring the collections- many free

The Big Draw

We’re celebrating the national Big Draw campaign this month at Heritage Quay with a brand new schools workshop!  This year’s campaign theme is Every Drawing Tells A Story and we’ll be investigating the life stories of two well known local figures – Victor Grayson (the Disappearing M.P.) and Susannah Sunderland (Yorkshire Queen of Song).  You don’t have to be able to draw to join in the artistic fun and there’ll be a chance to practice your research skills too!  The workshop is free, lasts around 3 hours, and can include a campus tour.  To find out more or book your place,  please drop an email to T.Wells@hud.ac.uk or ring 01484 473168.

Autumn Term at Heritage Quay

With the new school term well under way, here at Heritage Quay we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new faces onto our schools  programme for years 4 to 8, with workshops such as Find It! Draw It! Play It! and Build It!  All our workshops are linked to the History, Geography, Technology, English and Drama curriculae for key stages 2 and 3, are great fun and completely free!

The Archives at Heritage Quay will be celebrating The Big Draw during October with the launch of an arts based workshop, Draw It! which draws inspiration from two local historical figures, Victor Grayson, M.P. for Colne Valley in the early 20th century, and Susannah Sunderland, “Yorkshire Queen of Song”, the founder of the choral competition which will be familiar to many Huddersfield schools.

In November, Heritage Quay will be handing over control to students from Netherhall High School’s history club as they take over the archives on Friday 20 November, as part of the national Kids in Museums campaign. They’ll be undertaking some research of their own as well as taking on the roles and tasks of Archivists.

We’ve already got some role play experience under our belt through our theatre workshop Play It! which took place back in June.  This drama workshop takes the Rugby League collection at Heritage Quay as its starting point.  Supporting History and English curriculum objectives, Y6 children from Lindley Junior School re-told the story of the birth of Rugby League and its impact on local communities.  They were led through a range of dramatic techniques by professional actors from Chol Theatre along with Huddersfield University drama students.  The pupils and their teachers learned a lot about acting and rugby – they thoroughly enjoyed dressing up, handling artefacts from the collection – and wearing false moustaches!  Here they are posing at the end of their performance with the 1892 Yorkshire Senior Competition Shield.

Our schools workshops support National Curriculum objectives, last around 3 hours, can include a campus tour, and best of all, are completely FREE!

So if you would like your class to discover their inner thespian, architect, researcher or artist, drop an email to T.Wells@hud.ac.uk  or give her a ring on 01484 473 168.

We look forward to seeing you this term at Heritage Quay!

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Rugby League Drama Workshop 2015

What’s On launched!

Today sees the launch of Heritage Quay’s first brochure of events and activities, to cover the period September 2015 – March 2016.

Heritage Quay Brochure September 2015 – March 2016 FINAL

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

All roads lead to the canal!

mikron
L-R: Peter Toon, Lindsay Ince, L-R: Heather Norris Nicholson and Marianne McNamara at the handover of the Mikron archive

Last week we discovered all roads really do lead to the canal network as we held the official handover of the Mikron Theatre Company archive into Heritage Quay!  The acquisition of the Mikron archive has been almost four years in the making, from a number of coffee shop chats in its hometown of Marsden between producer Peter Toon and Huddersfield academic Heather Norris Nicholson, to the transfer of over 60 boxes of material into the University of Huddersfield Archives in March 2015.

We’re often asked how we acquire collections, and whilst many depositors approach us directly, and on occasion we might approach a potential depositor, it’s far more usual for us to hear about potential acquisitions through word of mouth.  Colleagues and users of the archive service will often flag up our existence to those perhaps considering depositing an archive (or those who have never considered it but wish they had somewhere safe to keep their collection!), but with no prior experience of the process or potential of depositing a collection with a professionally run archive service.

In the case of a University archive service, it is often through the connections made by our academics that we are made aware of these potential depositors.  It was through Dr Norris Nicholson’s initial discussions into the contents of the archive during 2011 and 2012, and her discovery of the potential for research amongst students and academics from a number of arts disciplines that a new home at the University Archive Service began to take shape.  A modern theatre company for whom travelling was a large and integral element of their day to day life, the practical advantages to Mikron of being able to regain office space,  alongside the desire to be able to make parts of their fascinating history available to fans and researchers alike made the possibility of the archive’s move a serious prospect.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the transfer arrangements for an archive collection!  It often takes months to arrange the practical and legal elements of a deposit.  The HLF funding to move the archive service to a new facility gave the idea of the deposit both a boost (considering Heritage Quay’s new location looking out onto the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Mikron’s long connections with waterways in general) and created a delay.  It was decided best to move the material once the centre was complete and the existing collections had been transferred into the new repository.

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Mikron’s archive leaves its home at Marsden Mechanics for a new existence in Heritage Quay.

But on a rather cloudy March morning in 2015, the Mikron archive left its home at the Marsden Mechanics for the last time, to be catalogued, repackaged and stored in the new state of the art facilities at Heritage Quay.  During the official handover on the 30th June, Dr Nicholson (Visiting Researcher, University of Huddersfield), Peter Toon (Producer, Mikron) and Marianne McNamara (Artistic Director, Mikron) came to look over some of the transferred material and examine the new repository.  Peter and Marianne were excited about the prospect of not only the material becoming accessible to a whole new audience of users, but the potential for them to be able to use and re-visit material from the past.  Mikron has one of the longest independent theatre ‘Friends’ group in the UK, which will celebrate it’s 30th anniversary in 2016, and some of the very first newsletters from the 1980s were on display during the handover.

Dr Nicholson pointed out the relevance of the programme and poster collections in charting the history of design and colour choice for Art and Design students.  She also discussed an extensive set of oral histories  conducted with those living and working on the barges in the early 20th century, which told not only the history of the waterways, but that of a entire culture of ‘bargee’ people who are now represented by only a few descendants keeping traditions alive.   As the vinyl, audio tape, programmes, photos, administrative and textile contents of the archive were reviewed, Dr Nicholson concluded the strength of the Mikron collection lay in the diverse range of formats it encompassed, which had appeal to students across the arts and humanities disciplines, and the potential for inter-disciplinary and funded research projects in the future.

Programmes
In addition to dramatic and historical interest, elements of Mikron’s advertising and production history holds interest for Art and Design students.

So the Mikron collection is now safely on the shelves in its new home, and we hope to have it catalogued shortly.  The collection will then be searchable in the online catalogue at heritagequay.org, and also in the lists we upload to portals like the Archives Hub and Archives Portal Europe.

Whilst we hope to welcome many students and academics in to conduct research, we also look forward to sharing the contents of the archive with Mikron’s Friends and the local community.  We hope if you visit Heritage Quay in the near future, you too will find all roads lead to the canal!

Read the University’s press release here and find details of Mikron’s show One of Each at Heritage Quay on 8th October 2015 here.

New music at Heritage Quay!

Composition for non-Composers workshop

Last Saturday was a momentous day for us here in Heritage Quay – we welcomed our first participants to a workshop: Composing for non-Composers

composing workshop-9

The session was programmed as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. As regular readers may know, Heritage Quay is the home of the hcmf// and British Music Collection archives, two very significant repositories of contemporary classical music. The theme of the workshop, inspired by these collections, was graphical notation. With the help of Duncan Chapman, a professional musician and composer, the group and I explored some scores from the archives and got some practical tips on how to compose (and play) music written in this way. This is how we got on:

 

Algebra
Algebra

In Search of an Ending

In Search of an ending

 

composing workshop-26

Any 1 of 3
composing workshop-36

Look out for more workshops at Heritage Quay in the new year. If you don’t want to miss out follow us on Twitter @Heritage_Quay or email archives@hud.ac.uk with the subject line “Newsletter”

Dave

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

Last week was our first official week here in the new Archives so I thought today would be a good time to reflect on the breath and value of what we’ve got up to in that short space of time.

The week began with the launch of Heritage Quay by Gary Verity (from our funders HLF), Cllr Ken Smith (Mayor of Kirklees Council) and a small group of invited guests. What was so pleasing for me was the sheer range of people who came to support us. I met not only University staff, funders and major partners but more local individuals and groups who will play a large part in our future.

HQ launch-62

On Tuesday we hosted the Royal Historical Society and the University’s History Department with a fascinating lecture from Dr Alex Shepard of the University of Glasgow who talked about her research into the experience of women in the past, a key theme of our collections.

Dr Sheppard talks to University history students
Dr Sheppard talks to University history students

Wednesday saw Heritage Quay host a performance by one of our newest partners, Mikron Theatre Company. With their archive coming to us in the near future the very well attended show felt like a brilliant way to mark the start of a great relationship. Lindsay followed up on the performance by speaking at the Mikron Friends event on Satuday.

Friday was relatively quiet – but it was the first Through the Quay-hole tour of the archive, led by Rob. Curious staff came down on their lunchbreaks and left knowing a lot more about what we’ve got and how they can use it. If you’re interested too make sure you book on a tour in the future.

It all ended with Rugby League on Saturday. Fans from across the country came to Heritage Quay for Supporters Direct’s Voice of the Fans day – it was awesome to finish the week feeling a part of the Rugby League community.

Picture of Rugby League forum
Neil Hampshire and Phil Caplan quiz Blake Solly of the Super League on the future of the sport

Of course we’ve also welcomed staff, students and the public who have just come to look around and see what’s going on (and play with the Big Curvy Screen!)

Picture of someone using the interactive screen in Heritage Quay
Have you tried it yet?

Dave

Judging scores by their covers

This week our team of student helpers have been making amazing strides in sorting, ordering and interfiling large sections of the British Music Collection. This vital work will dramatically improve access to thousands of scores in the collection and enable researchers to browse, study and experience the collection in the way that the British Music Information Centre intended. However during this interfiling we’ve also been thoroughly enjoying lots of the artwork in the collection, here are some of our favourites…

Six jester songs by Granville Bantock
Six jester songs by Granville Bantock
Cat walk for Leo by Sonja E Grossner
Cat walk for Leo by Sonja E Grossner
Misper by John Lunn
Misper by John Lunn
Baba Yaga's daughter by Lydia West
Baba Yaga’s daughter by Lydia West

 

Mug grunt by Richard Orton
Mug grunt by Richard Orton
Christus by Francis Pott
Christus by Francis Pott