We are delighted to announce our research room is now open on Tuesdays 10.00 – 16.00 for pre-booked appointments only. We are also able to offer online appointments on Mondays. Appointments must be booked at least one week in advance via our online booking form. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately public events in Heritage Quay will not re-commence until 2022. This includes tours, school group visits, public meetings, external conferences, and facility hires.
We look forward to welcoming you back to research in Heritage Quay.
To celebrate the completion of our work with our rare books, we want to provide an introduction to this remarkable collection.
First of all, just how “rare” are these books? Some which have found their way into this collection are more commonplace, such as Charles Booth’s Life and Labour, which has been reprinted many times and is a social study of poverty- the one in our collection is a 2nd edition copy. And then there are volumes such as Oeuvres morales et meslees, a translation in French of Plutarch’s essays about morals which was originally written in Greek. This latter item is from the 16th century, and has subsequently been rebound due to its age.
The topics these books cover include art, history, sculpture, photography, religion, architecture and engineering. The dates of publishing range from the 1500s to the 1900s and some are first editions as well as some which are facsimiles- a copy of a book that is supposed to emulate the original. There are scrapbooks, manuscripts, printed texts and musical scores. Here you can see a small sample of what lies within the pages.
The books themselves can be visually astounding, with covers featuring antique designs and the pages within featuring illustrations. One of my favourites was Great Flower Books 1700 – 1900: A Bibliographical Record of Two Centuries of Finely-Illustrated Flower Books which is a heavily illustrated book featuring a variety of flora. Here we can see a classic marbled book cover, the prominence of the use of the colour gold for decoration and text and the lack of titles being printed on the cover.
The purpose of our recent work was to make this collection accessible to the public. The work undertaken by our Archive Assistants included preservation tasks, e.g. cleaning the books and arranging them to avoid further damage to spines, and sorting the list we had of the books, which detailed publication dates and authors, so that this can be added to the catalogue. If you wish to take a look at the collection search for HUD/LB/2/9/3 in the reference box at http://heritagequay.org/archives or click this link http://heritagequay.org/archives/HUD/LB/2/9/3/. And if you want to see one of these books in person, email us to book an appointment.
The focus of this blog is the tradition of palaeography, i.e. the study of historical handwriting. This skill is important for transcription of ancient, medieval and post-medieval texts and for understanding the development of writing itself. This blog attempts to introduce the topic by covering some of the key ideas that are relevant to palaeographers as they attempt to decipher a post-medieval text.
Throughout the centuries different styles of handwriting have become popularised. The modern handwriting style was founded with the italic style in the 14th to 16th centuries. This image shows some of the ways in which letters have been written in different styles of handwriting. This expresses why palaeography is a learned skill, since without knowledge of these letter shapes their presentation might be quite confusing to someone trying to read a document.
From looking at handwriting we can often see stylistic flairs that it helps to learn when interpreting an individual writer’s text. This example from our gas company collection (20th century) demonstrates that the scribe often joins words together and exhibits the different ways they write the letter ‘t’. Whilst it is useful to familiarise yourself with a writer’s style, it is also important to recognise that it may change throughout their life. Therefore, alongside learning the popular styles of the time, it is helpful to also pay close attention to specific individuals and the way they write.
Spelling could also differ, e.g. said being spelt sayd, and scribes often used abbreviations to shorten words, e.g. ‘wch’ for ‘which’ uses superscript letters. It is these historic ways of writing that have fallen out of fashion. If we consider modern language we notice that it changes all the time, whether that is the invention of a new slang term, a word to describe a scientific idea or abbreviations popularised via social media.
Transcribing a text can often feel like solving a puzzle. Making decisions about what handwriting style, date and individual letters are present discloses the content and, occasionally, context of historical documents, allowing you to glimpse aspects of life from centuries ago. We run palaeography courses here at Heritage Quay for students and researchers, so if you are interested please send us an email at email@example.com. If you want to read more about the topic and practice some examples, check out The National Archives pages at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/default.htm.
If you fancy having an attempt at transcribing, make sense of the image below from a 17th century Indenture which is one of the earliest legal documents we have at our archive. This is just a snippet of the document so the sentences aren’t complete. The answer will be in the comments below so don’t scroll till you’ve had a go.
If you’re a University of Huddersfield student the archive runs regular classes on how to pick up skills in palaeography 1500-2000! Just contact the archive for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org
Like many of the displays we have in the archives, this exhibition wasn’t curated by us. This time we worked with staff in the English Literature department here at the University. Between us we supported Third Year English Literature students to select archival documents and objects that explore the Yorkshire roots of Hughes’s work, as well as his family life and professional collaborators. The displays include many newer additions to the archives here at Heritage Quay, including the Ted Hughes Network archive and the Donald Crossley archive both of which are available to researchers, although not fully catalogued yet. There are also some items on loan from a private collector.
The process of working on the exhibition with the students was really interesting. As any gallery or museum curator will tell you, curation (both selection of objects and text writing) is a delicate art. There are plenty of decisions to be made from the story you’d like to tell, to the depth of description. There will be physical constraints to deal with, including the need to minimise any damage to the objects on show, and the amount of display space available.
Our students came along for a teaching session with Public Engagement Office David Smith, who presented the relevant archives and rare books to the group, and gave them an introduction to curating an exhibition. The students were then divided into groups and had the opportunity to come and get to know the collections better in our Searchroom. These research sessions produced plenty of animated discussion!
Each group came up with proposals for each of our six cases, with tutors choosing the best ideas to become the final exhibition. The students then worked together to produce the finished layout and captions. The new exhibition was then officially launched as part of the Huddersfield Literature Festival, complete with a reading of the poem ‘Six Young Men’ by Huddersfield’s own David Rudrum, and a comedy set from poet, comedian, actor and director, Owen O’Neill.
We are delighted with the final exhibition, and have been receiving really positive responses from our visitors. We’re just as pleased to have had the chance to take some of our students through the whole process of creating an exhibition, from brainstorming ideas to launch party!
Many of the collections in Heritage Quay demonstrate the ways that women sought opportunities to acquire education and build more independent and prosperous lives for themselves. From the early part of the 19th century the records of the Huddersfield Female Educational Institute and subsequent incarnations of the Technical Colleges demonstrate how education for women transformed from the traditional ‘female’ skills of cookery and needlework, to more academic and industrial courses and how opportunities to pursue technical and higher education increasingly began to open up to them.
The experience of women in employment can be examined through the oral histories of nurses gathered in the Graham Thurgood archive, and documents relating to women’s employment in nursing and midwifery (Huddersfield Royal Infirmary archive; Ruby Ward archive). Women as advocates, both politically and for social causes, e.g. pensioners rights, can be traced through the records of women’s groups in political parties (Colne Valley, Denby Dale and Huddersfield Labour Parties) or in individual collections (Noreen Logan archive). While the extensive arts and music collections at Heritage Quay (British Music Collection, Mikron Theatre Company, Huddersfield Amateur Operatic Society…) contain an immeasurable number of stories that reveal the lives, careers and influence of women on the national and international cultural landscape.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) was founded in Huddersfield in 1895, so it is fitting that the archives of the RFL, the Huddersfield Past Players Association, the Up and Under oral history project and the papers of MEP Terry Wynn, can be accessed in Heritage Quay.
The rugby league collections present an unmatched history of the sport through unique documents such as minute books, player registers and correspondence. There is also the opportunity to get close to rare match programmes, photographs, tickets and one-of-a-kind shirts, caps and balls.
The archives offer a fascinating insight into social history from the late 19th century to the present day. At Heritage Quay you can explore the history and identity of the working classes; understand the importance of gender and regional identity in the sport; and discover the international reach of a sport born in Huddersfield.
Smaller collections on cricket are also held, including a full set of Wisden.
Huddersfield’s fascinating political history is brought to life in Heritage Quay by the extensive range of collections that document the area’s 20th and 21st century political story. The overarching influence of the labour movement and the Labour Party on this narrative is keenly reflected through the collections. From the emergence and development of the Party’s grass roots (Huddersfield Labour Party Archive, Colne Valley Labour Party Archive and the Denby Dale Labour Party Archive) to the upper echelons of Westminster (J H Whitley, MP and Speaker of the House of Commons and JPW Mallalieu, MP Archives; Robert Blatchford Collections) and New Labour politics (Mick Clapham, MP Archive).
These collections reveal the local realities of the national party political system, and how this system has been informed and influenced by the unique character of Huddersfield’s political landscape. The library of famous statistician G.H. Wood covers economic and social history, education, health, housing and women’s history during the late 19th and early 20th century, and complement more contemporary left-wing publications including the Left Book Club and modern periodicals.