(Photo: Paul Oliver with Chicago blues musicians in 1960 from the Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music, Oxford Brookes University)

Archives Revealed today announced the eight organisations who will benefit from Cataloguing Grants in 2020.

The funding programme is administered by The National Archives and supported by the Wolfson Foundation and Pilgrim Trust.

This strand of funding provides grants of up to £40,000 for archives to create catalogues of important collections that demonstrate a high level of potential to engage people and communities with archives and heritage.  More information can be found on The National Archives website.

Last week Archived Revealed announced the organisations who will benefit from the eighth round of Scoping Grants also awarded through this programme.

The organisations who have been awarded Cataloguing Grants are:

Oxford Brookes University (Grant awarded: £37,786)

Blues off the record: cataloguing the Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music

Paul Hereford Oliver (1927-2017) was an architect, artist, scholar, folklorist, and collector, widely regarded as the most important blues scholar of the 20th and 21st centuries, pioneering research into the origins and development of the music, and uncovering hidden lives of African Americans during Jim Crow segregation. The Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music is a mixed media collection that includes books, music recordings, music scores, audio reel recordings, and research papers. The audio reels include interviews and recordings of blues artists (and social contemporaries) made by Oliver in 1960 and the research papers also include a photograph collection. 

The project will create an online catalogue for the audio reels and research papers which will enable the use of this influential collection not only by internal and visiting researchers, but also by a wider popular audience through exhibitions, educational workshops, online outreach activities and community engagement in conjunction with the European Blues Association.

“Oxford Brookes University is delighted to have been awarded an ‘Archives Revealed’ grant to enable us to undertake the cataloguing of Paul Oliver’s audio reels and research papers. As well as its significance in relation to the blues as a musical genre, the POAAAM collection offers a unique commentary on the relationship between the music and African American history which is of particular relevance as we work to better represent marginalised voices within our collections. The funding will enable the reach and use of this significant collection to be considerably extended.”  (Dr Helen Workman, Director of Learning Resources, Oxford Brookes University).

West Yorkshire Archive Service (Grant awarded: £40,000)

Creating Kirklees: 150 years of local democracy

The Creating Kirklees project will transform the access, preservation, engagement and profile of the archives of the 11 local authorities that merged to form the Borough of Kirklees almost 50 years ago. This ambitious project will catalogue over 170m3 of archives that comprehensively tell the unique story of the development of the entire Kirklees area from the 1820s to the 1970s and beyond. The extensive collections cover town planning, public health, schools and education, child welfare, transport, water and energy supplies, cemeteries and crematoriums, emergency services, wartime services and defence, and much more.

Democracy is the beating heart of these collections and so strengthening local democracy is a key objective of the project. Alongside the cataloguing work, the project will also deliver an innovative engagement programme that will help local residents to use these collections to uphold their rights and to support democratic accountability. While in the longer term the archives and stories discovered by the project will help to transform the delivery of the archive service by significantly contributing towards the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Kirklees in 2024 and the plans to develop a brand new archive facility as part of Kirklees Council’s Huddersfield Blueprint redevelopment project.

WYAS Kirklees Archivist Robert Clegg said, “Whether through the architectural plans of homes, schools and workplaces, the records of war memorials and military tribunals, or local adoption and fostering records, these collections relate to every individual, family and community in Kirklees today. We cannot wait to start exploring and sharing these fascinating archives with the people of Kirklees to help them understand more about their past, present and future, to celebrate their identity and to support their democratic rights”.

Chatsworth House Trust (Grant awarded: £33,836)

The Devonshire Inheritance: Unlocking the Cavendish Family Papers 

This project will open up access to six outstanding archives held by the Chatsworth House Trust.  These collections span over 450 years and contain papers created by prominent family members from Bess of Hardwick in the 16th century to the 8th Duke of Devonshire – a leading Victorian statesman. However, their content extends far beyond the family: the collections also reflect the wider circles in which the family moved – locally, nationally and internationally – and the people who worked for them. The archives consequently touch on many aspects of British social, political, economic and cultural history. There are letters of several monarchs, aristocrats, politicians and statesmen from William Pitt the Elder to Gladstone, along with architects, designers, artists and writers. The papers of philosopher Thomas Hobbes are included – one of our greatest philosophers and also an employee of the family – as are 17th century estate papers shedding light on lesser-known servants.

Our Archives Revealed project will make detailed catalogues of these collections available online for the first time, and we will also deliver a range of engagement initiatives, including social media campaigns, onsite and online displays, internships, talks and tours. 

Kate Brindley, Director of Collections & Exhibitions, said: “This project recognises the centrality of the archives at the heart of Chatsworth as a cultural organisation; it will unlock stories about the past that can be used both to engage existing audiences and reach new ones. The funding will enable us to make a significant step forward in making the rich collections we care for more accessible, which is a strategic priority for the Charity.”

The Duke of Devonshire commented, “These archives are fundamental to understanding and telling the histories of the Cavendish family, Chatsworth House, the family’s estates and the people who have lived and worked on them over centuries. The Chatsworth House Trust is committed to making the collections more widely accessible and increasing their digital presence; sharing the collections and engaging people in learning and enlightenment are also core ambitions of the Trust and of my family. I am delighted that this funding will facilitate a project which does all of these things”.

Lapworth Museum of Geology (Grant awarded: £37,918)

 Unlocking Lapworth’s legacy: the history of geology as revealed by the Lapworth Archive

The Unlocking Lapworth’s Legacy Project will fund an archivist to catalogue Professor Charles Lapworth’s archive, the most complete of any Victorian or Edwardian geologist in the UK. The archive covers popular and topical themes such as fossils, dinosaurs, natural hazards, environmental change, evolution, and extinctions. This diverse content extends beyond the scientific subjects covered, to record how geology and science influenced late 19th and early 20th century life and society in the Midlands and the UK.

The project will unlock the potential of this incredible, interdisciplinary resource. An online catalogue will provide access to its unique content, and linked museum objects. Whilst an innovative public engagement programme, including online exhibitions, will engage new and existing archive users. The project will have a transformational change, creating a new, user-friendly Museum Archive Service, and provide significant improvements in collection management and access. It will also enrich the Lapworth Museum’s staff and volunteers, allowing them to unlock potential within our other collections, and use them creatively to engage diverse audiences. This cataloguing project will therefore, not only have an immediate positive impact, but will also create a lasting legacy for the Museum, its enhanced archive service, and its users.

“This unique archive at the University of Birmingham records the interaction between geology, sciences, education, arts, people and wider society in the late 19th and early 20th century. The National Archive funding will help to unlock this wonderful resource, allowing researchers, schools and the wider community to explore and share in its inspiring content.” (Professor William Bloss – Head of the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham).

The Garden Museum (Grant awarded: £28,060)

The Beth Chatto Archive

The Garden Museum is the UK’s only museum dedicated to the art, history and design of British gardens. In 2017 we opened the country’s first Archive of Garden Design, housing the archives of the most influential figures in British gardening of the 20th century. Thanks to The National Archives, we will be able to catalogue one of the most significant collections we hold: the archive of Beth Chatto (1923-2018), one of the country’s most important gardeners and plantswomen, who became a household name for her ecological “Right Plant, Right Place” mantra.

Our cataloguing project will make her records accessible to the public for the first time – from garden and horticulture students to archive enthusiasts, and from school groups to landscape design professionals.  Her archive is a treasure trove containing a wide array of works, including correspondence with Derek Jarman, Cedric Morris and George Harrison, Beth’s professional diaries, press clippings, plant lists for her commissions, invitations, awards, flower arrangements, financial materials, and much more, making it one of the most varied, diverse archives we hold, painting a full picture of who Chatto was and why she was so important to the history of British horticulture.  

As the Garden Museum’s Archivist Rosie Vizor says, “The Beth Chatto Archive is a founding collection of the Museum, integral in tying together other archives and objects in our collection through Beth’s wide network of high profile friends in the horticultural community. Being one of the first to donate her archive, she encouraged her friends to do so too.

We are therefore so excited to be able to catalogue her archive and make it accessible to the public, improving the research potential of the Archive of Garden Design as a whole and attracting new audiences through Chatto’s prominence in the field. Since Chatto’s ecological approach to planting links really well to the GCSE science curriculum and horticultural courses, the newly catalogued material will form the basis of innovative outreach and engagement programmes. We can’t wait to get started!”

Writing on the Wall (Grant awarded: £39,724)

L8 Archive Project

The L8 Archive Project will employ a full-time archivist who will work with a team of volunteers to bring into public access two nationally significant collections relating to Black History in the UK. The L8 Law Centre and LAARCA were anti-racist organisations, central to the defence and empowerment of Liverpool’s communities, living under extreme institutional racism in one of the country’s poorest areas. The collections speak of the inner-city uprisings of 1980 – 1985 which swept the UK, of the conditions that gave rise to those events and of the tenacity Liverpool’s black community, one of the oldest in Europe and distinct in its development.

Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director of Writing on the Wall said, “We are delighted to have received this level of support from Archives Revealed, which in partnership with Liverpool Records Office, will ensure that this important collection is preserved and made available to younger generations who will benefit from understanding the rich history of Liverpool 8 and the activism and resilience of those who went before them. These archives contain invaluable lessons which can inform the today’s Black Lives Matter movement and future campaigns for equality”.

Leicestershire County Council (Grant awarded: £40,000)

Great Expeditions – Thomas Cook Archive Project

This project will make freely accessible to the world the remarkable wealth of information, human stories, images and memories which makes up the Thomas Cook Archive. A dedicated archivist, supported by the staff of the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, will explore this priceless collection. It will be conserved and preserved and, thanks to this generous grant, fully catalogued to secure and bring into the light every facet and detail of the remarkable Thomas Cook story. The Archive has come home – but it will live again and travel the world!

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “We’re delighted that such an illustrious body as The National Archives is continuing to support our Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland with funding from their Archives Revealed grants.

“The funding will contribute to a full cataloguing and developing of the digital content in the Thomas Cook archive, making it more accessible for visitors and online audiences around the world.

“This unique archive is not only an important part of local heritage, but is valuable to millions of people around the world who either worked for Thomas Cook, travelled on holiday with the company or who live and work in countries which became destinations for Cook’s Tours.”

Essex Record Office (Grant awarded: £33,000)

The Model New Town: Harlow Development Corporation Archives

Harlow was among the first post-war New Towns, designated in 1947, and cataloguing the wealth of records generated by the Corporation will provide an invaluable resource for users of the Essex Record Office. Studying the development of New Towns gives an insight in to the social, economic, political and cultural influences across the decades, taking us back to the great social change of the immediate post-war period and beyond, informing the learning of current and future town planners, historians and local people. The Essex Record Office looks forward enthusiastically to a project that will generate new usage, reach out to new audiences and cement Essex as central in New Town studies.

Councillor Susan Barker, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Customer, Corporate, Culture and Communities, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Essex Record Office has been successful with its funding bid. The records of the Harlow Development Corporation, which shaped the town, are one of the most significant resources for 20th century Essex, and looking at the development of new towns provides a fascinating insight into the political and cultural influences over the years.”