We have two major industrial collections in the archives at Huddersfield. Both were local businesses and large employers, but they go further than just relating the story of successful businesses. Their position as large employers means they can also tell a social story, of how employees interact with their employers, and how businesses can help chart the story of their employees’ lives.
Hopkinsons Ltd. was a business with its roots in Huddersfield from 1824, and it remained at the heart of the town until the 1990s when it was bought out by the Weir Group. In addition to information on its products, which included building valves for the military and power stations, it has a range of marketing, exhibition and staff records for over a century. From exquisitely designed plans of their stand area in the Empire exhibition of the 1920s, to the staff magazine of the mid-twentieth century.
This theme is further revealed through the archive of the turbocharger manufacturers Holset Engineering Company Ltd. whose archive continues into the modern day. These collections provide detailed evidence of the engineering processes and business achievements of these companies, but just as importantly, they illustrate the fundamental impact that the development of industry has had on the social, cultural and political history of society through the lives of the individuals they employed and the communities in which they were based.
A few collections have a more tacit relationship with industry. Our Textile Fabrics of India collection has its roots in acting as a promotional tool for Northern industrial mills to copy the patterns and styles popular in 1860s India in order to be able to sell their goods into that market. There are major links between aspects of industry and the university institutional collection. From the early days of educating their workers on day release or in the evening, to working with the university to accredit students and influence the syllabus, many types of industries and industry bodies feature in both correspondence and principal’s papers. The library of George Wood also contains a wealth of material on industrial relations and working conditions in the nineteenth century, as well as information on legislative and employers concerns.
George Henry Wood Collection – https://heritagequay.org/archives/GHW/
Textile Fabrics of India – https://heritagequay.org/archives/TFI/
Hopkinsons Limited Archive – https://heritagequay.org/archives/HOP/
Holset Engineering Company Limited Archive – https://heritagequay.org/archives/?keyword=Holset
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