1st Rugby League Heritage Forum

Last Saturday saw the first rugby league Heritage Forum take place at Heritage Quay.

With such Entrance signextensive collections about the history of the game, the archive is of course the natural place for rugby league enthusiasts to get together, share what they’ve been up to and do some good networking. So we thought we’d organise something to do just that.

Representatives of clubs or heritage projects came from across the country to explore Heritage Quay, meet each other and enjoy a full day of talks, chat and biscuits. We welcomed people from Huddersfield, Warrington and even Featherstone.

The day kicked off with a lecture from noted historian Tony Collins. Using archive footage from the first half of the 20th century, Tony unpicked the evolution of the game from 1895 onwards, in particular focusing on the ways in which try scoring and fast play was encouraged through rule changes. A lot of the footage he used is available online including this footage shot by Mitchell and Kenyon

The morning was rounded off with a talk from Stephen from the Swinton Lions Tales group. This excellent project seemed to interest and inspire everyone and is well worth checking out. The final talk of the day was from the Leeds Rugby Foundation,  who described the work they’ve been doing connecting the club and community with their rugby league heritage before sharing some great old photos which had everyone in the room taking a trip down memory lane.

RL Heritage Forum 25-04-15-17 compressed

One of the most popular parts of the day took place in our searchroom and was great for the archive! Our Collections Access Officer Rob had prepared a table of photos from the collection that we needed help identifying. Throughout the day the attendees came along to pick out players, teams, grounds and even officials – information that we will be able to add to our archive to help researchers of the future. From what we could see doing it was addictive so expect us to run something else like this in the future! We reckon we got through over 200 pictures which was a-mazing

There were also some gems from the collection on display to highlight how Heritage Quay can help researchers with useful and diverse sources.


Overall it was a great day and I’m already looking forward to next year!


Scholarship Exam #fridaychallenge

Could you gain a scholarship to the Huddersfield Technical College? The following scans are exam papers from 1893 enabling some students to gain scholarships in order to continue their education at the college. Despite a sea change in education over the last century, as an adult it’s interesting to note that potentially 14- and 15-year olds would be taking this kind of exam (some of which is pretty impossible for this blogger to answer)!

It’s also interesting to note the similarities and differences in the way subjects have been taught over time and the expectations of students. Whilst the Spelling, Algebra and French sections would be fairly familiar to the GCSE students of today, the Composition section shows essays were shorter in the 1890s, and Geography a lot more simplistic. ‘Parsing’ sentences in Grammar might be more familiar to A-Level or degree students in the 21st century. Trigonometry might be the first way to deal with triangles and theorums, and its unlikely most of the domestic economy questions would make it onto a modern syllabus. The vocational nature of the arithmetic is interesting too, with its focus on profit and commission. It goes someway to show how vital good mathematics was to sales and businessmen in the days before calculators did most of the work, when your livelihood depended on having the ability to calculate at your fingertips!

paper1  paper2 paperlast

How much of this paper can you answer? We’d love to know which bits you found easy, difficult or impossible, or your opinions on this kind of paper. Have you done your GCSEs or A-Levels recently? How does this paper compare to what you faced in some of your exams?

HCMF comes to Heritage Quay

We are pleased to announce that bookings are now open for two FREE events which are taking place at Heritage Quay as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2014. This is the Archives’ first time contributing to the programme and we’re really excited about being involved!

Through the Quay-hole (HCMF edition) Monday 24th November 2014 10-10.45am
The first event is a special behind-the-scenes tour of Heritage Quay. As well as the chance to see the shiny new repository spaces and learn about the archive collections we hold, we’ll also be getting out some interesting gems from the HCMF archive and British Music Collection for you to get your hands on. We can’t think of a better way to kick off HCMF Shorts day than with us.
To book your free place on the tour please click here

Composing for non-composers Saturday 29th November 2014 10am-12pm
Our other event is a little different. On the second Saturday of the festival we’re running a one-off workshop for adults exploring Graphical Notation and composition. Led by professional composer and musician Duncan Chapman, we’ll be turning Heritage Quay into a sound lab for you to come and play in. Everyone who attends will learn some of the principles and practices of non-standard musical notation and contribute towards the composition and performance of a new piece of music.
To book your free place please click here

The contemporary classical music goodness doesn’t end there. If you can’t make it to one of these sessions then make sure you visit Heritage Quay 24th – 27th November and have a go on the Big Curvy Screen. In honour of the festival all the content on the screen will be taken from the British Music Collection – see if you can find a favourite or discover a new earworm to take you through the rest of the festival.

Find out more about the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Find out more about the British Music Collection

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

What a week it’s been in Heritage Quay!

Last week was our first official week here in the new Archives so I thought today would be a good time to reflect on the breath and value of what we’ve got up to in that short space of time.

The week began with the launch of Heritage Quay by Gary Verity (from our funders HLF), Cllr Ken Smith (Mayor of Kirklees Council) and a small group of invited guests. What was so pleasing for me was the sheer range of people who came to support us. I met not only University staff, funders and major partners but more local individuals and groups who will play a large part in our future.

HQ launch-62

On Tuesday we hosted the Royal Historical Society and the University’s History Department with a fascinating lecture from Dr Alex Shepard of the University of Glasgow who talked about her research into the experience of women in the past, a key theme of our collections.

Dr Sheppard talks to University history students
Dr Sheppard talks to University history students

Wednesday saw Heritage Quay host a performance by one of our newest partners, Mikron Theatre Company. With their archive coming to us in the near future the very well attended show felt like a brilliant way to mark the start of a great relationship. Lindsay followed up on the performance by speaking at the Mikron Friends event on Satuday.

Friday was relatively quiet – but it was the first Through the Quay-hole tour of the archive, led by Rob. Curious staff came down on their lunchbreaks and left knowing a lot more about what we’ve got and how they can use it. If you’re interested too make sure you book on a tour in the future.

It all ended with Rugby League on Saturday. Fans from across the country came to Heritage Quay for Supporters Direct’s Voice of the Fans day – it was awesome to finish the week feeling a part of the Rugby League community.

Picture of Rugby League forum
Neil Hampshire and Phil Caplan quiz Blake Solly of the Super League on the future of the sport

Of course we’ve also welcomed staff, students and the public who have just come to look around and see what’s going on (and play with the Big Curvy Screen!)

Picture of someone using the interactive screen in Heritage Quay
Have you tried it yet?


Final tests… for us!

Now that the Archive staff have successfully moved into our new offices we are excitedly awaiting the handover of the rest of the space in order to get the collections in and start implementing our plans to get the public and the university community using the exploration and group spaces! We’re now so close we can really see how fantastic it’s going to look when completed, apart from some final construction work, all that’s really needed is for us to do our bit and populate it with collections related material!

We’ve had a couple of ‘test’ events this week (well real events, but a chance for us to test our up till now theoretical processes and procedures!), with some of our friendly local community groups holding their events in the space and giving us feedback about what we need to tweak before we open to make sure the space can adapt to big and small groups, and people with different requirements and needs. First up, the press launch of the forthcoming travelling Rugby League exhibition, which saw the space decked out with Rugby League Cares bright and sleekly designed exhibition boards (which went down well amongst us Archivists!), those involved with setting up and supporting the exhibition, and local and national press!

Our Pro-VC Tim Thornton being interviewed about the exhibit, you can see the interview on the Huddersfield Examiner website, linked above via the 'local'  news link.
Our Pro-VC Tim Thornton being interviewed about the exhibit, you can see the interview on the Huddersfield Examiner website, linked above via the ‘local’ news link.
Our Participation and Engagement Officer, David Smith, surveys the scene as press and invited guests view the new RFL travelling exhibition.
Our Participation and Engagement Officer, David Smith, surveys the scene as press and invited guests view the new RFL travelling exhibition.

A few hours later we welcomed our friends from the Huddersfield Local History Society who are hosting their monthly meetings with us this year after outgrowing their previous venue. Over 120 people joined former Huddersfield lecturer, MP, and a depositor to our archives, Lord David Clark , who gave an entertaining and informative talk on Early Labour Pioneers in the Huddersfield area. Now members know where we are (and we know we need to deploy maximum chairs!) we look forward to welcoming them back every month, and you can find out more about forthcoming talks at this link or by visiting the society’s page, linked from their name above.

Lord Baron David Clark addresses a packed house at the first HLHS talk of the season.  Photo courtesy of Hilary Haigh, HLHS Secretary.
Lord Baron David Clark addresses a packed house at the first HLHS talk of the season. Photo courtesy of Hilary Haigh, HLHS Secretary.

From our point of view, this week has been useful to test out how our behind the scenes admin processes will work, from the basics of running out of hours events and dealing with new departments in the university to make that happen, to how long it takes to turn around the space between events, and what the spaces actually feel like when there’s a talk to over a hundred people going on! There are still inevitably tweaks to be made, and we’ve welcomed the valuable feedback from both organisations who have hosted events with us this week. Hopefully they will see the improvement in their next event, and other groups will benefit from them taking the time to work with us during this bedding in period.

I’ll close with our other exciting technological development that we’ve recently seen running in its home environment, and are excited about our visitors getting to use! If the still image below whets your appetite, you can view the video of it in action from our developers Wide Sky!


We just can’t do it alone! Volunteer appreciation day.

Whilst it’s not Volunteer’s Week in the UK (that’s June 1-7 if you’re interested), or International Volunteer’s Day (December 5), but every day is volunteer appreciation day at Huddersfield Archives! This Summer it has all been about locating collections, auditing collections, repackaging material and making sure everything is labelled and located prior to our big move (starts next week – yikes!). Whilst our staff team has grown by a factor of… a lot (I’m an Archivist Jim, not a mathematician!) there’s still no way we could have got to this point without help. Here’s where our amazing team of volunteers and student helpers come into play. They have gone right through our Collections Management Plan and ticked off some of the really big jobs. In fact, they have even completed some jobs we thought might not have been done until next Summer! Shhh. Knock on wood. I didn’t say that. It’s not very often we’re ahead in our ‘to-do’ list!

Some of them were with us a half day, a couple of days, some a week, some a few days a week over the whole Summer. Everything they’ve done has been vital to assisting us in getting to a point where our Strongrooms are tidier and everything is in boxes and located, so we can list it on our crazy move spreadsheets that allocates every box on an existing shelf to a precise shelf in the new repository. Alas we don’t have photos of all of them at work, but some of them were caught in the act! So huge thanks go to Steven, Gail, Alexzandra, Richard, Paige, Natasha, Helen, Chris, Nick, Eleanor, Andrew, Nicole, Adam and Matt, you’ve done sterling work!

Adam audits maps…

Helen handles sorting Rugby programmes…

Nicole and Matt clean registers…

Our student group clean even more registers…

Chris also cleaning registers (did I mention we have a lot of registers!)

Once we are settled into Heritage Quay we hope to be able to offer structured, project based volunteering to students and the wider community, and the Archivist’s are working with David, our Participation & Engagement Officer, and Sarah, our manager, to develop some guidelines and project roles for this. So if you’re interested in dipping your toe in Archives work, then keep an eye on the Heritage Quay website around Christmas time for more information!

Hello from the new Participation and Engagement Officer!

Hello everyone from the brand new Participation and Engagement Officer for Heritage Quay, Dave Smith

You may be wondering what that title means and it’s nothing to do with Archive weddings. I’ve got a really exciting role, as it’s my job to find interesting ways to involve local or interested people in what we’ve got in our Archive. Over the next three years I’ll be organising events, workshops and activities based on interesting people and stories from the collections, with lots of opportunities for everyone to get involved in the programme too. Keep an eye on this blog and the Heritage Quay website for more details.

As part of my first few weeks I’ve been exploring the British Music Collection, a huge archive of scores and recordings of contemporary classical music from the last hundred years or so. Partly I’ve been looking for intriguing things (sometimes my job does feel like being detective) to plan activities around but I’ve been paying particular attention to the First World War era with the aim of creating activities using music about that conflict.

A highlight so far has been coming across the work of Ivor Gurney, a War Poet and Composer, who to my shame I’d never heard of. He was a fascinating man, in part because of the fact he wrote classical music in the trenches and it was very poignant reading about his life. Then I stumbled across his work In Flanders which was based on text by his friend (from before the War) and fellow solider Frederick Harvey. The words are a love letter to home from the Western Front:

I’m homesick for my hills again –
To see above the Severn plain
Unscabbarded against the sky
The blue high blade of Cotswold lie;
The giant clouds go royally
By jagged Malvern with a train
Of shadows.

Where the land is low
Like a huge imprisoning O
I hear a heart that’s sound and high,
I hear the heart within me cry:
“I’m homesick for my hills again –
Cotswold or Malvern, sun or rain!
My hills again!”

They definitely struck a chord with me: Malvern is my home town! That feeling of exploring a huge archive and finding a story with a personal connection was thrilling and it’s my mission to help as many people as possible to have a similar experience here at Heritage Quay.

Hopefully I’ll see you at an event or activity and watch this space for details of what’s happening