CRIME.PHOTO.NOVEL: The Power of the Book Exhibition

CRIME.PHOTO.NOVEL: The Power of the Book Exhibition

Fri 1 April – Sat 30 April


Heritage Quay is honoured to be hosting a temporary exhibition “Crime.Photo.Novel: The Power of the Book by Katrina Whitehead.


Text which reads "Crime.Photo.Novel. The Power of the Book

Murder mysteries have always been considered to have a wide appeal, but where did it all start? This exhibition displays seminal books which help us to understand how crime novels first became popular from the exploration of creative non-fiction from authors Edgar Allan Poe and Truman Capote, to a selection of fiction and non-fiction crime novels which use photography.

An online event exploring the ideas behind the exhibiton is taking place on Tuesday 26 April

Presentation and Q&A with Katrina Whitehead, Lecturer in Photography and Creative Writing, Dr Helen Gavin, Subject Lead in Psychology and Dr Merrick Burrow, Head of English & Creative Writing

Tasnim’s Take on working at Heritage Quay

My name is Tasnim and my Kickstart placement took place at the University of Huddersfield.

I worked for 6 months in Heritage Quay which is the University’s archive service that sits in the Computing and Library Services department.

The Kickstart scheme was put in place by the government to help non-working people get into permanent work. This applies to people that have been out of work for a while and find it difficult to get back in or have come out of education, much like myself. I graduated in 2019 and found it difficult to find work as I had no work experience, I had only ever been in education. The Kickstart scheme’s aim is to build up and enhance one’s skills and work experience. Towards the end of the placement you will have all the tools you need to look and apply for jobs. I have come towards the end of my placement and have successfully secured a permanent job: I can say with confidence that the Kickstart scheme works.

I didn’t really know what an archive was when I first applied for the job. The best way to explain this is to tell you the difference between an archive and a library: a library’s contents can easily be replaced and they can hold several of the same item but the contents of an archive are unique and one of a kind.

My job title was ‘Collections Assistant’ and I worked alongside the Archive Assistants. It was a very small team of staff when I started so I was very busy with lots of tasks to do. Usually when anyone starts a new job its normal to get nervous but surprisingly this time I did not: I felt extremely comfortable. To begin with, I would shadow the Archive Assistants and watch how they went about completing tasks then I would put it into practice myself. My main duty was customer service as I greeted members of the public who booked an appointment to look at archive material in the public Research Room. I supervised them to make sure they were abiding by the Research Room rules such as no eating or drinking and only writing with pencils. I took on other tasks such as repackaging items in the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM) archive. I took out items from their old packaging and put them in new packaging which was made from special materials that would protect the paper archive materials kept inside. I also undertook training for a digital customer enquiry system which gave me the experience of conversing with customers online.

My favourite part about working in Heritage Quay was exploring and learning about the collections. Some collections piqued my interest such as The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) and the John Lancaster Christadelphians Library (CHL) because reading about different religions such as Methodist and Christadelphian is one of my favourite hobbies. Exploring these archives made me wonder what intriguing one-of-a-kind material other archives in other institutions may possess.

This role at Heritage Quay enabled me to develop my communication skills with staff and the public as well as my teamworking and administration skills which assisted me in getting my new role. It has enhanced my confidence in the workplace and I look forward to starting my new job very soon!

Image shows books on bookshelves from The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) collection.
Books from one of Tasnim’s favourite collections, The Wesley Historical Society (WHS) collection, stored in our strongroom.

Come work for us

We’re hiring!

Heritage Quay has an exciting new job opportunity: Public Engagement Assistant.

This brand new role will help us share our amazing collections with staff, students and the general public in person and online.Working with the Public Engagement Officer we need someone to create events, workshops and exhibitions for students and the public, as well as being the first point of contact for customers using our award-winning spaces. The job is 30 hours a week until the end of 2024.

We’re looking for someone with great customer service and serious social media skills – but you don’t need a qualification in archives. If you think this might be you, please visit the University job page for more information:

Archive Lonely Hearts

Heritage Quay’s Lonely Hearts Club

Welcome to the Heritage Quay Lonely Hearts Club!

Here you can find information about some of the collections that are rarely seen in our Research Room that are just waiting for someone to fall in love with them.

These special collections can be big or small, they just haven’t been used as much as we know they deserve.

So if you’re looking for new sources or fresh perspectives, this is the place…



Robert Blatchford Collection

Mock up of a dating profile but with an image and text relating to the Robert Blatchford archive
Lonely Hearts ad

Robert Blatchford was a key part of the Victorian and Edwardian socialist movement in. Despite the influence of his social network, and his newspaper The Clarion, his name is not as well known as many others. Whilst his friends and co-campaigners for social justice and suffrage rightly feature in histories of the period, we think that Robert’s place is important too as an ally and organiser to ignore.

Blatchford’s story is intertwined with the birth of the socialist movement, and his thoughts and life experiences can help us unpick the ideas and concepts of the broader Labour movement, of which he was not a devoted member. As the modern Labour Party tussles with what kind of party it wants to be, and how it expresses national pride and interational cooperation at the same time, there is much to glean from Robert Blatchford’s experiences and writings.

This small collection is only 3 boxes, but they are full of handwritten and published copies of his poems, articles and other writings. It also includes a large amount of correspondence written by Blatchford to his daughters, his personal accounts, records of his war service, newspaper cuttings and scrapbooks of his career.

The collection came to us from Lord David Clark, and of course contains material about Victor Grayson.


You can browse at the catalogue here and then of course you should book to come and take a look yourself.

Research Room Now Open Tuesdays

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 

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.

Heritage Quay Post-Lockdown: Thoughts and Reflections

Now things are returning to ‘normal’ and we’re all starting to venture out into the wider world again, we thought now would be a good time to look back on what Heritage Quay staff have been doing whilst working from home during lockdown, what we’re up to now we’re back on site, and our plans for the future.

Working from home

You’ll all have your own opinions on the pros and cons of home working. Personally I liked the flexibility that it gives you, since it’s simply a matter of logging on to your PC with no trains or buses to catch. But there is the downside of not being able to chat to colleagues in the staffroom nor being able to have impromptu meetings (video calls are not always an ideal substitute for face-to-face interaction, after all). Not to mention, if your house is anything like mine, that the constant knock at the door announcing the arrival of a parcel meant a lot of leaping out of your desk chair and snatching up your keys. And of course, our research room was closed to the public, meaning they couldn’t get hands on with our archival material. It’s always interesting to chat to researchers about their projects, and I missed that.

One advantage of working from home was that it gave us a chance to do a bit of digital housekeeping. Our online catalogue has had a bit of a tidy, and we’ve also looked at streamlining our digitisation process, which will be a big help going forward.

We’ve been showing our social media channels more love and sharing some highlights from our collections through them. This has been a lot of fun, and gave us a chance to be a bit creative. Taking part in the History Begins at Home (#HBAH) campaign and ARA Scotland’s awesome #Archive30 has been especially enjoyable (hoping they’ll run #ArchiveAdvent again this year).

You might have seen earlier posts about our educational package as part of our Heritage Quay at Home project. As one of the members of the HQ team who developed the worksheets for home schooling, I must say that putting the package together was a lot of fun. We hosted an online Sports Study Day with two sessions on England Netball and Rugby Football League, which we received great feedback on from those who attended – there were certainly some engaging discussions going on between participants. My favourite project of ours from the first lockdown period has to be the scavenger hunt. Coming up with clues was sometimes tricky, but I certainly flexed my writing muscles!

One of the worksheets from our educational package.

What we’re up to now

One of our top priorities now that we have access to our physical collections once more is working through our (rather long) back catalogue of enquiries from our researchers, who have been very patient and understanding in the meantime. There’s also lots of cataloguing work to catch up on – not including the 100+ boxes of some very exciting stuff that we recently acquired (watch this space). We’ve also been trialling some in-person appointments in the hope of re-opening fully to the public in the autumn.

I don’t mind admitting that coming back to campus was a little daunting initially, and it took some time to get used to the health and safety measures, but after a while you built habits. I have a regular routine for wiping my desk at regular times. Working with the archives in the strong rooms requires a little bit of coordination between staff to maintain social distancing, but it’s manageable. If you’re working with lots of boxes, you ‘adopt’ a trolley for the day and put your name on a piece of paper so everyone knows not to touch it, making sure to wipe it down before home time.

A sea of boxes! Lots for us to catalogue.

What’s next?

While we hope to re-open the HQ space and research room to everyone soon, in the near future we’ll be introducing remote sessions for the benefit of researchers who are unable to visit us in person. This will allow the researcher to view archive material via video link, with one of our Archive Assistants on hand to help. We’ve invested in some snazzy camera equipment, which researches can view material through, and are currently having fun testing it.

The last year and a half has been challenging for us, as it has for everyone, but it’s also been a chance to develop and try new things. We’ve got lots of exciting projects planned for the future and we’re looking forward to welcoming our lovely researchers back to our research room!

You can check our website for updates on reopening:

October Scavenger Hunt!

We invite you to solve the clues, follow the trail and conquer the Heritage Quay scavenger hunt

It’s easy to become lost in the labyrinth that is an archive catalogue so we’re going to give you a series of clues to follow. Each clue will lead you to a place in the catalogue which will have a letter hidden somewhere within it, and the clue to the next location. You’ll need to collect all eight letters by the end of the hunt to reveal the password to a special webpage.

Some of the clues are hard and you might need to spend some time thinking about them or ask for help. If you’re really stuck you can ask us for a hint on our social media channels @heritage_quay.

Before you start, you’ll need to know a little bit about how an archive catalogue works. Here’s an example of what an entry looks like


This is called a Reference Number. All you need to know at the moment is that ‘RFL’ is the code we’ve given to the Collection, HR is a section of that Collection (in this case, things about staff and managing people) and the three numbers are sub-sections which get more specific as you go along. The last number is usually an individual item or a few items. It can help to visualise it like a tree.

Drawing of an archive catalogue tree
RLF/HR/1/1/1 Expressed as a catalogue tree

Why not check out the entry to see what it looks like in real life Clicking on the text above the title of the item will move you up the tree.

Don’t worry too much about the rest, we’ll help you along the way as you do the hunt

Click here for Clue 1

Scavenger Hunt Clue 1

Before you start, make sure you’ve read our Scavengers Hunt instructions
All good to go? Then read on!

Clue 1

Let’s start with an easy one. Put into your browser. On a desktop computer you should see a search panel on the left and a list of archive collections on the right. On mobiles and tablets the layout may vary.

Scroll through the archive collections (remember to check more than the first page but you don’t need to go too far!) until you find one that matches the following clue, and click on it:

My title is national, my content is musical and I’m full of scores and recordings

You’re now inside that collection. There are two things to spot.

1) It now says the collection name in the search panel under the Reference Number. This means that any searches you do in the other boxes, (like adding a date) will only search in that collection.

2) The right hand side shows the different sections of the collection.

We’re looking for a musical score (the section code for this is SC) whose title is a Greek mythical story about a long journey

Keeping the collection code in the Reference Number field, type the name of the story into ‘Title or Description contains’ and press go. You should get 6 results.

The score you’re looking for is just for singers

Click on the one you think it is to see if you’re right. There should be a letter in the description (keep a note of it) and the next clue attached as an image. If you can’t see these, you’re not in the right place yet. If you can see the letter but the the image isn’t loading – get in touch and let us know!