Our final second year placement student this year is English student Umayyah. Read about her experiences in the archive below:
Whilst taking part in a student work placement at Heritage
Quay I have worked with two very different collections; the first involved
carrying out a survey and research into the Kirklees Image Archives (KIA), and
the second was cataloguing a small sub-section from the Colin Challen Archive
(specifically his work with the North Yorkshire Country Labour Party, and the
Vale of York Constituency Labour Party).
The majority of my placement involved my work with the KIA
collection due to the fact that there were so many boxes and items in that
collection. Straight away I was able to dive right into the boxes and identify
and research a wide variety of items ranging from Primus magic lantern slides,
to novelty cards and postcards, to a whole array of local images. The lanterns
and cards were always entertaining and often humorous and, due to the humour
and standards of the dates in which they were released (1900s), they were
sometimes controversial or even downright unacceptable by today’s standards.
Nonetheless it was definitely intriguing to see the stark differences between
the popular trends back then, compared to modern day trends.
One collection that definitely stood out was a series of
travel journals by two sisters who seemingly lived around Huddersfield in the
mid-1900s and travelled around Europe on and off for 30 years and donated
well-kept logs of everything they did on their holidays. These journals not
only included photographs and diary entries, but ticket stubs and receipts so
that you could see the varying prices in the countries in question during those
times. They were definitely an interesting read.
I also explored a variety of local images, some of which
were from the Huddersfield Examiner, some were street restoration programmes
and progress reports, and some were of buildings and streets that had been
demolished or renovated. This gave me the opportunity to see the gradual
development of Huddersfield (and surrounding areas) from the 1800’s to modern
day and see for myself some of the iconic events that took place; royal visits,
sports tournaments, weddings, street parties and more.
I was able to identify and survey boxes from approximately
60 shelves as part of the KIA collection and each one was filled with some new
and exciting information which sometimes required research into certain
companies, events, or people so that they could be fully understood.
The Challen collection was starkly different to the KIA
collection, as they were all professional and political documents. The majority
of content in these three boxes were financial records and promotional
materials for the Labour Party (those which had been entrusted to Challen). In
my exploration and cataloguing of these boxes I was given an insight into how
funding worked in a political party scenario, how a party’s membership scheme
is run, and how the Labour party specifically wanted to represent themselves to
their constituents. I was also able to browse through some of the correspondences
and meeting minutes to see what kind of local issues were discussed.
Overall I am grateful to Heritage Quay for giving me the
opportunity to experience working in an archive and the understanding of how to
find, record, and catalogue specific items.