Heritage Quay’s latest exhibition explores the life and work of Derek Bailey (1930-2005), a guitarist who was a major force in the development of Free Improvisation.
Bailey’s remarkable musical journey began in Sheffield, with a young lad entranced by the music he heard on his uncle’s radio, and fascinated by the guitar. After leaving school he began to pick up work as a musician, and by the 1960s was playing for big names including Shirley Bassey, Dusty Springfield and Morecambe and Wise. Around 1969 he left behind this successful – though always precarious – career as a commercial musician to concentrate solely on Free Improvisation. Intent on a sort of music which went beyond style and genre, he worked with people all over the world, ran a record label, Incus, and brought very different people together for spontaneous, organic music-making.
Heritage Quay’s latest exhibition tells this story, using photographs, notebooks, letters, programmes, and the plectrums Bailey made himself using dental acrylic. Many of the items on display have never been seen by the public before. They are all part of the Derek Bailey Archive, which is cared for by Heritage Quay.
The exhibition is part of our Kirklees Year of Music series. It is free, and open Monday to Saturday from 14 August to 30 September. Heritage Quay is at the heart of the University of Huddersfield Campus, and there are details of how to find us here: Directions | Heritage Quay
In the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the area around Huddersfield was home to the best handbell teams in the world. These groups, which were mostly male and often pub-based, rehearsed, performed and competed with the same seriousness as brass bands. Their story, however, is much less known.
It is this story, of working-class musical activity, fierce local rivalry, and mass entertainment which is showcased in our latest exhibition. Using the recently deposited archive of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain, it explores the rich local history of handbell ringing, as well as its vibrant – and global – present. The exhibition is free, and open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm.
A free afternoon event on Saturday 8th July will include an exhibition tour, a performance by the Clifton Handbell Ringers and a chance to have a go at ringing.
In March 2023, Sovereign Design House (which houses Toast House café) hosted Textiles on Toast, an exhibition of work produced by first- and second-year Textile students at the University of Huddersfield.
Second year student Liza Smeeton describes their experience of using the archive:
“I’ve never worked from materials in an archive. I’ve normally been given a title or theme and have worked from that.
I initially visited the archive [at Heritage Quay] with lecturer Claire Barber as part of the Introduction to Theoretical and Ethical Studies module and then lecturer Matthew Taylor introduced us to the designs in the Visual Research module where we had much more time to examine and work with and from them.
I was quickly drawn to a very simple design in muted browns, but I’ve worked with this in several ways, simplifying the design, changing the colours, creating stencils and cut paper, working the design in hand and machine embroidery and using the stencil to create prints on fabric which I then stitched into. These samples are what I’ve exhibited in the Toast House.
I focused on archives for my theory written report and visited a textile archive in Sheffield where I live. The research and papers I read for this paper shows there are clear benefits from using archives to help in creating new designs, as long as these are modified and not copied from the original and that the original source is referenced. Having the original Gleneden design as a starting point gave me something to work from, so that I wasn’t starting from scratch, it helped me to produce new work much more quickly and to develop new ideas from that starting point.”
First year student Rebekah Fuller also describes their experience:
“I had never used materials from an archive before in my studies. I had never previously even considered using items from an archive to inspire my artistic process. I first learnt about archives when we visited Heritage Quay as a class as part of the Introduction to Theoretical and Ethical Studies module where we had a session with Assistant Archivist Fran Horner.
When I first saw some of the designs from the Gleneden archive, I was amazed by the intricate, detailed nature of the florals. Slightly overwhelmed, I chose a design with a colour palette I was drawn to and also the curved shape the florals created together. After painting this design, I was really pleased and throughout this year it has been a design I have been drawn back to again and again. Because of this, it was the most well-rounded collection I made this year. I used it especially in my weave rotation, considering ways I could abstract the design. I also managed to explore this painting within CAD creating a repeat pattern.”
We are delighted to announce our latest exhibition, guest curated by academic, artist and dancer, Hardeep Singh Sahota.
The Bhangra Lexicon explores the roots of this art form in Panjabi folk culture, through to the artists and recordings which have made Bhangra a global sensation. It also looks at Bhangra in Huddersfield, which was home to one of the first Bhangra groups formed in the UK. All this comes out of Hardeep’s research into the history of Bhangra and into its wide repertoire of movement.
Bringing together instruments, photographs, textiles, jewellery, books, recordings and more, the exhibition is a rich celebration of the dance and music of Bhangra.
The exhibition is free, and open 29 April – 10 June 2023, Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm.
In 2007, Rugby League Cares deposited the Rugby Football League Archive at Heritage Quay (HQ) in Huddersfield, only a few minutes’ walk away from the George Hotel, the birthplace of the sport. This archive contains kit, programmes, recordings of matches, administration records, photographs, posters, memorabilia, player registers and more. There are around 800 boxes of fascinating items – however, there was only one box dedicated to the women’s game!
This is no longer the case.
Since February 2022, HQ has worked with Julia Lee and a team of volunteers to collect, catalogue and make accessible archives and collections which document the history of the women’s game. This work was supported by the Women in Rugby League Heritage Lottery funded project Life with the Lionesses. This project has been integral in uncovering the stories of the pioneering players and staff and celebrating their achievements which, until this project, had not been officially recognised.
One past player commented “When I used to talk about my playing career I sometimes felt that if people went online to check these things (as it’s a major thing!) they should expect there to be something in the archives, but there wouldn’t have been so I used to think they may think I’m not telling the truth . . . So I stopped telling people.”
The archives collected at HQ were used in several ways throughout the project such as:
to provide evidence for the awarding of heritage numbers and caps at the Pride of the Lionesses event and inducting the first women into the Rugby League Hall of Fame
for display in the Life with the Lionesses: 25 Years of Women’s International Rugby League touring exhibition and exhibition currently on at Pontefract Museum
to increase women’s representation in a male dominated game
Our biggest cataloguing achievements have been to make two major collections accessible for the first time: the Julia Lee and Jackie Sheldon collections. Julia Lee was the first woman to referee men’s professional rugby league. Jackie Sheldon, a former player, was Assistant Coach for the Great Britain squad in 1996 and Head Coach for the Great Britain squad in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003.
We would like to say a special thank you to Julia Lee and Jackie Sheldon for entrusting us with their collections!
There are now 38 boxes of archives about women’s rugby league!
We would also like to say a great big thank you to the volunteers Jane Auty, Dave Backhouse, Ceri Evans and Charlie Spencer who have collectively put in around 700 hours working with the archives at HQ.
We are absolutely delighted to now be home to the 80,000+ items in the Brass Band Archive. The collection includes scores, recordings, photographs, trophies, programmes and more. All this belongs to Brass Bands England, the national body which supports the genre, who have worked closely with specialist staff at the University to prepare the materials for the move to Heritage Quay.
The collection’s arrival in Huddersfield has been years in the making. The archive was started in a flat in Wigan, by two band players keen to preserve the banding movement’s history. It was acquired by Brass Bands England in 2018 and moved to their store in Barnsley which they decided what to do with it. Luckily for Huddersfield, they thought that Heritage Quay might be interested in taking it in and making it available. BBE recruited staff and volunteers who spent many painstaking hours sorting, listing and re-boxing the materials before they made the short journey to Heritage Quay. As one of banding’s heartlands, it is fitting that the collection is coming to live in Huddersfield as a brilliant new resource for the musical life of the town. The catalogue, which lists all the items in the collection, can be found online here.
To celebrate the arrival of this extraordinary collection in Huddersfield, a new exhibition ‘Brass Bands: History and Culture’ is on display from 4 March to 22 April 2023. Alongside stories of star conductors and gigantic contests are those of local organisations and self-taught music. The exhibition explores how banding became a hugely popular movement, attracting audiences of tens of thousands. It also looks at distinctive aspects of banding culture, through uniforms, trophies, photographs and letters.
The exhibition is free, and open to the public from Monday to Saturday. There will be lunchtime tours of the exhibition on 15 March and 19 April at 1pm.
2023 is Kirklees Year of Music! Across the borough, people will be celebrating the rich culture of music in this area. At Heritage Quay, we’re doing that too. During 2023 we will bring you no fewer than six exhibitions, all focused on different genres of music. The exhibitions will draw on collections we look after, and the work of some of our partners.
Kicking off this exciting year, we have Music at Heritage Quay (open 16 January to 26 February). This exhibition showcases the variety of music collections we have here, with a focus on music-making in Kirklees. Find out about musical education at the University of Huddersfield and its predecessor institutions, explore the history of local performance, and learn about some of the internationally significant archives we care for.
2023 Exhibition Programme: Kirklees Year of Music
16 January – 25 February: Music at Heritage Quay
4 March – 22 April: Brass Bands: History and Culture
29 April – 10 June: The Bhangra Lexicon
19 June – 5 August Hand bells: Wondrous Little Vehicles of Sound
14 August – 14 October Free to Improvise: The Derek Bailey Story
23 October – 21 December The Cutting Edge: New Music in the 20th Century
In 1954, the first ever Rugby League World Cup was treated with consternation by most British fans. The GB team wasn’t expected to do well, and people weren’t really sure why it was taking place. Extraordinarily, the team came together, captained in style by Dave Valentine, and won the tournament.
Fast forward to 2022, and the staging of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup: we see something very different. The tournament is big and high-profile. Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair games will all be broadcast live. All players will receive equal participation fees. The tournament which started with only four nations has expanded to include 20. Heritage Quay’s new exhibition, The Story of the Rugby League World Cup, tells the story of how this happened.
We are extremely proud to look after the national Rugby Football League archive here at Heritage Quay. This autumn’s tournament has allowed us to explore the collection in a new light, focusing the experiences of those playing in, organising and watching Rugby League World Cups. Many items are on display for the first time, and highlight teams and players from the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair games. A programme and scarf from Papua New Guinea’s first World Cup appearance in 1987 tells a story both about the rise of Pacific nations in global Rugby League and about the place of League as PNG’s national sport. A runner’s up medal from the 2000 Women’s World Cup is shown alongside a fundraising event ticket. This speaks to the extraordinary dedication, as well as sporting skill, of the Great Britain Women’s team, who had to fund their own participation in international tournaments. A Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby League t-shirt shows how the Wheelchair game has exploded onto the international stage since its development in 2004.
You can learn about some extraordinary people, too: Clive Sullivan, the first Black person to captain any Great Britain sporting team, who led GB to World Cup victory in 1972; Jackie Sheldon, former Head Coach of the GB Women, whose passion and talent has done so much for the Women’s game; Martin Norris, who captained Great Britain’s Wheelchair team in the inaugural Wheelchair World Cup in 2008, and has gone on to be an important advocate for the sport.
Whether you are a die-hard Rugby League fan, or you want to find out more about the tournament, come and visit Heritage Quay for The Story of the Rugby League World Cup.
The exhibition is open 7 days a week until 22 December 2022.