The Cutting Edge: New Music since 1945

Heritage Quay’s current exhibition celebrates classical music composed in the UK since 1945. Using the collections of four organisations which have done much to support young and emerging composers, the exhibition explores where and how new work was heard. Find out about performances in venues from concert halls to night clubs, consider public responses to new sounds, and see the influence of technological development on music. With photographs, scores, manuscripts, newspaper cuttings, programmes and more, the exhibition showcases a revolutionary 70 years of musical history.

The exhibition is based on four collections which we care for and make accessible at Heritage Quay, the archive service of the University of Huddersfield. The exhibition is the final piece in a series dedicated to our extensive music holdings programmed for Kirklees Year of Music. Find out more about our extensive music collections.

The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 8am-7pm and Saturday 9am-5pm until 12 January (closed 22 December – 3 January). The exhibition is free and can be found at the heart of the University of Huddersfield campus. For details of how to find us, see our directions page.

Major donation to Heritage Quay on 25th anniversary of Ted Hughes’s death

The word Owl written in ink alongside a drawing of an owl sat on the moon by Ted Hughes.

Pen sketch by Ted Hughes (Image Credit: University of Huddersfield)

The University of Huddersfield is delighted to announce a major donation to its burgeoning archival collection of materials relating to the late Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes.

Carol Hughes, the former Poet Laureate’s wife, has made this major donation to the University of Huddersfield’s Ted Hughes collection on the 25th anniversary of his death.

Pencil sketch of Ted Hughes face and shoulders by R.J. Lloyd
Ted Hughes by R.J. Lloyd 1979 (Image credit: University of Huddersfield. Copyright: ‘The Estate of R.J. Lloyd’)


The materials – primarily comprising of a large quantity of Hughes’s valuable small press and limited-edition work, but also including letters, drafts of work-in-progress, photographs and artwork – were generously gifted to the University’s archive at Heritage Quay by Hughes’s widow Carol, a strong supporter of the University’s Ted Hughes Research Network, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of her late husband’s death on 28 October, 1998.

Highlights of the donation include superb and unpublished sketches of Hughes by R.J. Lloyd and Elizabeth Cook, drafts of Morrigu Press works-in-progress, including ‘Cormorants’, ‘Pheasants’ and ‘Weasels at Work’, which the latter also includes drawings by Hughes, and a folder of correspondence between Carol herself and the late Donald Crossley, a Mytholmroyd-based childhood friend of Ted who renewed acquaintance with him in later life, subsequently producing an impressive body of research into Remains of Elmet and other upper-Calder Valley-focused works. Crossley’s archive is already held at Heritage Quay and these materials will augment them further.

The small press and limited edition works include multiple copies of dozens of rare, valuable and striking works, virtually all of them signed and dated by Hughes and his collaborators.  Among the many highlights are the huge Scholar Press Cave Birds, with etchings by the American artist Leonard Baskin; The Threshold, published by the Steam Press, with ink-drawings by Ralph Steadman, and another opulent collaboration with Baskin, the Gehenna Press A Primer of Birds.’

Ted Hughes book cover
A Primer of Birds by Ted Hughes (Image credit: University of Huddersfield)


Carol Hughes commented: “I am pleased to support the collection of Hughes materials at the University of Huddersfield, and given the enthusiasm of Rebecca Bowd and Steve Ely, I feel sure the archive will continue to grow and develop in the years to come.”

Professor Tim Thornton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, of the University commented: “The University is grateful to Carol Hughes for the generous donation of further important archive material relating to her husband and excited at the opportunities now offered by one of the most important collections of the Poet Laureate’s material in the world.”

Director of the Ted Hughes Network, Dr Steve Ely commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to receive these materials from Carol and wish to thank her for her incredible generosity and support.  Her gift will significantly enhance and complement our existing collections.  It will also provide a resource to allow further acquisitions, and to promote scholarly and public engagement with our Hughes collections – part of the donation is a large deposit of copies of rare Hughes limited editions, and these will be sold to collectors on the rare book market, with profits going to support and develop our Hughes collections.

“The works are not merely valuable, but they also cast light on Hughes’s creative process and the way he worked to bring his small press works to publication and market, often producing multiple minutely different versions of publications, or variant editions: a copy of The Threshold with gilt edging to the pages, a copy of Earth-moon with a cork inlay cover, pages of handwritten drafts inserted into copies of Cave Birds, and the addition of small ink drawings of birds next to his signature in copies of the Sceptre Press, A Crow Hymn.

“Carol’s donation not only further establishes Heritage Quay’s reputation as one of the leading international Hughes collections but provides the basis for its further expansion and development.  In the late spring/early summer of 2024 Heritage Quay will officially commemorate her gift with a public exhibition of its Hughes materials, launched with an event at which Carol will be guest-of-honour, with talks and readings by eminent poets, scholars and students.”

Dr Rebecca Bowd, University Archivist, commented: “We are indebted to Carol Hughes for her generous donation which augments our Ted Hughes collections at Heritage Quay, the accredited archive service of the University of Huddersfield. We have a comprehensive collection of Hughes’ fine and small press work in the Ted Hughes Network Archive, and the Mark Hinchliffe Ted Hughes Collection, alongside correspondence between Hinchliffe and Hughes. We also hold the Donald Crossley Archive and the Christopher Reid Papers. We look forward to welcoming members of the public or researchers interested in Hughes’s work to Heritage Quay where they can view these fascinating collections.”

This article was originally published on the University of Huddersfield website on 28th October 2023, Ted Hughes collection receives major donation – University of Huddersfield.


Three models of Captain Jean Luc Picard, all with slightly different expressions, arranged one behind the otherWe are delighted to announce that due to popularity, we are extending the run of our current exhibition ‘Patrick Stewart: From Mirfield to the Stars’. Using Sir Patrick’s own archive, the exhibition explores his career on stage and screen using letters, photographs, programmes, costume, merchandise and more. The last day of the exhibition is now Monday 30 October.

The exhibition is free, and open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm, and Saturday 9am to 5pm. Find us on level 3 of the Schwann Building, on the University of Huddersfield campus.


Free to Improvise: The Derek Bailey Story

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

Cataloguing the World Netball Archive


Hello, my name is Tobias Leech, and I’m a  final year history student at the University of Huddersfield who has been undertaking a work placement as a cataloguing assistant for Heritage Quay.

I helped to catalogue the World Netball Archive, including everything from photographs at championship matches to trophies and sports magazines. Working with them all has been brilliant, but I especially loved cataloguing the donated photographs as they all served as their own little puzzle. It was so fun to piece together the story of the picture through nametags, articles of clothing, decorations dotted around the room or familiar faces and locations. It let me use an entirely separate set of skills I had not been able to use on my history course and made my hours spent at the archives the highlight of my week. The World Netball archive is now available for viewing here.

My time at Heritage Quay has not only been exciting and fun but also inspiring as I processed and researched the items I was cataloguing; they all began combining and correlating into a story. Across decades, people have given their lives to Netball, from playing, to refereeing, to creating and running organisations dedicated to it. Photographs of players and coaches smiling are a celebration of multiple lifetimes of hard work and perseverance. A snapshot of a player aiming to

shoot became a display of the discipline and effort these athletes went through as discussed in their interviews in newspapers, magazines and reports alike. Going through this archive gave me a new perspective on the sport I was certainly aware of but not particularly familiar with. It taught me the history of an international force built on the foundations of equality, fair play and humanitarianism.

Even better, working at Heritage Quay has given me a new appreciation of the heritage sector and a whole new understanding of how history works. I would read through an article from the 1990s, and then later see the same events discussed with hindsight

in the mid-2000s. History, and more broadly, time is always moving, and through cataloguing these items I was seeing first hand revisions and versions of history being made. When I handled official documents from World Netball, I was getting to see through their eyes what the last 30 years of progress has meant. It has been said history is written by the victors, but working at Heritage Quay has shown me it is more true that instead history is written first come first served, and that often people, organisations or other third parties will already have their thumbs on the scale. My time with the archive team has involved practical experiences as well, from handling items, cataloguing them, and wrapping and protecting larger items for storage.

Working at Heritage Quay has been fantastic, and I would recommend visiting the archive and viewing the collections (which can be found here). My time as a work placement has given me a new appreciation for archival work and for Netball as a sport and international phenomenon.

Tobias Leech, BA History Student



An Introduction to Chickens’ Lib and the Chickens’ Lib Archive

View the Chickens’ Lib Archive on our catalogue.

The History of Chickens’ Lib

In the early 1970s, Clare Druce and her mother Violet purchased four live ‘spent’ hens from an East London butcher’s shop. They took them, uninvited, to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Department in Surrey, along with a reporter and photographer from the Surrey Comet newspaper. The ‘invasion’ (as the press called it) earned them a front page spread in the Surrey Comet. Over the years, they took part in further campaigns and acquired the help of other animal rights campaigners, eventually naming their small pressure group Chickens’ Lib, which later evolved into the Farm Animal Welfare Network.

Their first national support came in 1975 when they were chosen as one of the candidates for the BBC’s Open Door programme, an initiative which saw them supplied with a professional    producer and TV studio to make a short programme about the group. The programme came out live on BBC2 at peak viewing time and earned Chickens’ Lib more than 500 letters of support.

Over the years, the number of supporters grew and many well-known people in the arts, sciences and Church lent their names to their campaigns. At first Chickens’ Lib were unwelcome on the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now DEFRA), but their careful and in-depth research, and their strict adherence to non-violent activism, meant that they were often treated as experts in their field. For years they were invited to official meetings where farmed animals were being discussed.

When Violet died in 1999, aged 91, and as other members of the group were obliged to other commitments, Chickens’ Lib (now the Farm Animal Welfare Network) came to an end. Since then, many bigger pressure groups and animal charities have emerged and taken their place, but Chickens’ Lib were valuable in unearthing some of the worst aspects of animal abuse in the early days.

Archive Overview

The Chickens’ Lib Archive was donated to Heritage Quay in 2021 by Clare Druce. It contains a substantial collection of letters and campaign materials covering the history of the group from the 1970s until 2017.

Some of the many campaign documents reveal how Chickens’ Lib petitioned the Prince of Wales and the Queen about game birds, specifically cruelty in pheasant shooting (item ref: CKL/CA/1/5) and the use of bird ‘specs’ (item ref: CKL/CA/1/4). The latter documentation includes an article issued by The People with headline “Queen Bans Bird Specs!,” showing the real-world changes influenced by Chickens’ Lib.

These campaign documents also include an expert witness personal statement written by Clare Druce, highlighting her qualifications as an expert in the McDonalds libel trial of 1996 (item ref: CKL/CA/5). These documents are supported by the government correspondence (item ref: CKL/CO/1) between Druce and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which reveal how the group were thought of in high standing and were later invited to official government meetings.

The wealth of correspondence available reveals the relationship between Chickens’ Lib and international organisations, asking for assistance or advice setting up their own campaign initiatives (item ref: CKL/CO/2) from groups in the USA, Australia, South Africa and beyond.

There are also many letters and cards from their supporters and patrons (CKL/CO/3). These include celebrity supporters such as Spike Milligan, Barbara Castle M.E.P, and Joanna Lumley, as well as various members of government and the Church. There are also a large variety of marketing materials (item ref: CKL/MK) including newsletters, factsheets, posters, postcards, badges, banners, and audio-visual media.

We hold a copy of their 1975 BBC2 Open Door programme (item ref: CKL/MK/5/1/2) for which they received their first national support, and their factsheets further support their reputation as an authority on bird farming. These sheets (item ref: CKL/MK/2) include a topic index for ease of access, and cover subjects such as animal diet, disease, antibiotics, foie gras, broiler chickens, the battery hen, turkey farming and the egg industry.

Their research included site visits to battery hen farms where photographs were taken to document their findings and record living conditions. The archive contains these photographs as well as images of demonstrations, hen rescues and the group’s first uninvited visit to Whitehall in 1973 (all items ref: CKL/MK/9). There are many newspaper cuttings (item ref: CKL/PR) included in the archive, covering the demonstrations, activities, and media appearances of Chickens’ Lib, as well as support from celebrities.

The Chickens’ Lib Archive tells the fascinating story of the relentless and challenging work involved in trying to achieve even the smallest of changes, and it is now live on our online catalogue:

The archive is open to everyone, and appointments can be made to view items using our online booking form.

Handbells at 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.

Textiles on Toast

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.

Some of the students were inspired by Gleneden Post-War Design Archive which is held at Heritage Quay.

Second year student Liza Smeeton describes their experience of using the archive:

Image of textile designs displayed on a table. The designs feature overlapping circles and are presented as sketches, coloured work-ups in blue and orange, and embroidered red wool on card.
© Liza Smeeton

“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:

Display of textiles design using a floral pattern in red, green, range and black. There is a sample of cloth hanging on the wall next to a coloured diagram showing the pattern. On the table in front are a variety of fabric samples.
© Rebekah Fuller

“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.”

You can book an appointment to view items from the Gleneden Post-War Design Archive by filling in our online booking form and quoting the reference number ‘GLN’.

If you are interested in using Gleneden as part of a research, teaching or art project, please email us on