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!
This month our fantastic team of student helpers have completed a huge sorting and repackaging project that has brought together all of the scores held within the British Music Collection for the first time in the Collection’s history! This is a fantastic achievement that has been 48 years in the making! To celebrate this fact, here’s the history (with a few photos ) of the British Music Information Centre, the organisation that founded the Collection in 1967.
The British Music Information Centre (BMIC) was founded in 1967 by the Composers’ Guild of Great Britain within the Guild’s central London office of 10 Stratford Place, which was also the home of The Royal Society of Musicians. The Centre was formally opened by Lord Goodman on 7 November 1967 and was established with the assistance of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Arts Council, and the Performing Right Society. The BMIC was founded as a charity and its work was dependent on grants and the external financial support that it received.
Founded at a time when national Music Information Centres were rising in popularity (following the formation of the first Centre in the USA in 1939), the BMIC was established as a drop-in centre where users could go to see and hear 20th century British classical music, and to research contemporary composers and their works. The primary function of the Centre was to act as a voluntary library of deposit where composers and publishers of 20th century British classical music could deposit scores and recordings of their work, which allowed would-be performers access to these works to study and play. All works were acquired by donation, and the collection was initially just restricted to the work of members of the Composers’ Guild, and later BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) concert music members; this restriction was later removed. The Centre defined ‘British’ music as being composed by an individual born or living in the UK. The initial core of collection was founded on the deposit of The British Council’s sheet music collection in 1967, which included material dating back to 1900. By 1969 the Centre already held 8000 scores of both published and unpublished works, as well as tapes and reference material for consultation and study. Although initially some publishers were opposed to the Centre because they believed it posed a threat of competition, over the years the BMIC gradually became accepted by more and more publishers and the Centre began to accumulate increasing amounts of published material. This made the library the only permanent collection of both published and unpublished contemporary British music and it significantly contributed to the growth of the collection in both size and diversity throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
By the 1990s the acquisition policy of the BMIC stipulated that eligible works included: work that is published by a major publisher (e.g. Boosey & Hawkes, Faber Music, Chester Music); unpublished work by professional composers of significant standing (e.g. frequently commissioned or performed by leading orchestras); work by full members of a leading professional body (e.g. BASCA, including shortlisted works for British Composer Awards); work commissioned by the BMIC as part of its projects and professional development programmes (e.g. Adopt a Composer, Embedded…); and work commissioned or funded by leading commissioners or funders (e.g. BBC, Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation). The Centre was aware that subjectivity influenced these criteria but in practice any disputes over inclusion/exclusion were resolved by the Director of the BMIC or by reference to the composers on the BMIC Board.
Recordings started to enter the collection during the 1970s, firstly on reel to reel tapes and vinyl records, and later on audio cassettes and CDs. The recordings in the collection included both published and private recordings donated by publishers and composers, recordings of concerts and events that took place at the BMIC and the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM), and recordings of BBC Radio 3 broadcasts. A joint project with EMAS (Electro-Acoustic Music Association) in the early 1980s resulted in the Centre starting to acquire recordings of British electro-acoustic music, while during the mid-1980s the BMIC’s reel to reel tape recordings were transferred to Betamax tapes during a migration project funded by the British Library.
By 1885 over 6000 people a year visited the BMIC, with even more users contacting the Centre remotely by letter and telephone.
In addition to the Centre’s primary role as a contemporary music library, the BMIC also ran numerous projects, events and performances in order to promote contemporary British music. By 1985 over 80 events were being held annually, with performers including Michael Finnissy, Jane Manning and John McCabe, and premiers of work including music by Peter Maxwell Davies, Judith Weir, Michael Finnissy and Chris Dench. Some performances were also preceeded by talks. The BMIC’s Salon series of concerts ran for 30 years until 2003 with an emphasis on programming first performances, experimental music and neglected early-mid 20th century repertoire. From the 1980s onwards, the BMIC’s rising profile and increasing number of projects resulted in the Centre working more collaboratively with other organisations to promote contemporary British music, particularly SPNM, EMAS and The Place Dance Services (TPDS).
In 1999 the BMIC established The Cutting Edge, which was an annual thirteen-week concert series held in the autumn. The Cutting Edge series, based mostly at The Warehouse, Waterloo, aimed to put contemporary music from the UK in an international context, and from 2001, each series was followed by The Cutting Edge Tour that took place May-December of the following year. The Cutting Edge Tour showcased up to 20 concerts taken from the previous year’s London series at locations across the UK, along with workshops and learning events. Also in 1999 the BMIC established the New Voices and Contemporary Voices composer support schemes. These schemes provided print, distribution and promotion services for composers at both the beginning and middle of their careers, and intended to fill the gap for composers who were looking to publish independently.
From the late 1990s onwards, with increasing pressure on finances and the rising costs of housing the collection in central London, the staff and Board began looking at alternate locations and organisational structures to manage the Centre.
In 2004 Arts Council England (ACE) instigated a proposal to create a new higher profile body for the new music sector from the merger of a number of music organisations that received funding from ACE, including the BMIC. The original idea to merge a number of music organisations into one larger body had been discussed within the sector since the 1980s but ACE initiated the 2004 project for two main reasons; firstly ACE identified the opportunity to have shared facilities within in a new building in central London (King’s Place, near King’s Cross), and secondly ACE was looking to redress the role of the Contemporary Music Network within ACE. Initially ten organisations were approached about the merger, including the African and Caribbean Music Circuit, British Music Information Centre, Contemporary Music Making for Amateurs (CoMA), Contemporary Music Network, Jazz Services, the Society for the Promotion of New Music and The Sonic Arts Network. This project, initially called The Kings Place Initiative and later The New Organisation (TNO) Project, resulted in the creation of Sound and Music from the merger of the British Music Information Centre, Contemporary Music Network, the Society for the Promotion of New Music and The Sonic Arts Network in 2008. Upon creation, Sound and Music was temporarily located in British Music House, 26 Berners Street, London, before it moved to its current location of Somerset House, The Strand.
Throughout the course of the reorganisation project both the BMIC’s collection and the financial burden of accommodating it continued to increase. The limited space and financial constraints meant that in 2002 sections of the collection had to be moved to alternate premises. Works by composers who had died before 1960 were moved to the Royal College of Music (RCM) Library, and works written before 1960 by composers who had died between 1960 and 2002 were moved to a storage facility belonging to the Performing Right Society (PRS). The material sent to the Royal College of Music Library could be accessed by researchers on site, whereas there was no public access to the PRS’s storage facility and this material could only be consulted through prior arrangement with the BMIC. In 2004 the financial pressures meant that the BMIC moved premises from 10 Stratford Place to Lincoln House, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, London. In 2007 the BMIC could no longer afford to house the collection in central London and so it was sent to a storage facility in Southend. This is where the collection remained until it was transferred, along with the RCM and PRS material, to the University of Huddersfield Archives in 2010. The collection then moved into the University’s new state-of-the-art archive facilities at Heritage Quay in 2014.
With all sections of the British Music Collection now fully catalogued, reintegrated and repackaged into archival-quality materials, the collection has never been more accessible and safeguarded for the future, so what are you waiting for! The catalogue for the Collection can be found here, and all the details that you need to know about how to visit the Collection can be found here. Enjoy!
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?
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately due to important IT maintenance work, both the the Heritage Quay online catalogue (www.heritagequay.org/archives) and the History to Herstory website (www.historytoherstory.org.uk) will be unavailable from Tuesday 14th July 16:30 BST until Wednesday 15th July at around 10:00 BST, please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Last week our parent department Computing and Library Services held its first ever awards ceremony. After an exceptionally busy year of opening Heritage Quay, moving in, completing the catalogue for around 50% of the collections, developing events and other programming, and all the other things going on in our lives, I was really proud that the team were the runners up as the Team of the Year! Our amazing colleagues in the Admin Office who keep the whole department running smoothly were the well-deserved winners.
Harriet, one of our two Archives Assistants, was also the runner up in the Best Customer Service category – any of our users who visit the searchroom or use our enquiry services will have encountered our friendly and helpful Assistants. As a team we try to be responsive to the needs of our users – so if we got something wrong for you (or did something right!) please take the opportunity to let us know so that we can resolve it.