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£1.2 million project to double public access to kilometres of local history

The University of Warwick’s  Modern Records Centre is about to embark on a  £1.2 million Redevelopment  that will double the access to 13kms of records to the general public. The greatly improved access for members of the public will open up a wealth of material relating to Midlands and national history to many more people

 Anne Bell, the University’s Librarian and Director of the Modern Records Centre said:

 “The project will transform the Centre and how users will be able to relate to these unique resources. The new facilities will enable us to engage with members of the public in ways that have never been possible before."

Up to now use of the Centre’s collections has usually been confined to academic researchers. After the redevelopment the Centre will be able to mount exhibitions, workshops and seminars about the archives that will be open to members of the public, while new technology will help make access to the collections themselves much more open.

The Modern Records Centre is one of the largest academic archives in the UK. It holds a vast array of material which can be used to support learning for students aged eight to eighty-eight. It is full of material of local interest just a sample of the centre’s catalogue throws up -  the papers of Labour cabinet minister Richard Crossman Member of Parliament for East Coventry, the papers of Maurice Edelman MP a Coventry North West MP, documents from the  National Union of Vehicle Builders (Coventry branch),  A Coventry Women's Liberation Newsletter' from 1976,  and even a  'Statement on the aircraft industry in the Coventry district in 1955 ' produced by Coventry Trade Union Council.

 The MRC also contains archive papers from many great car makers Austin, Morris, Rover and Triumph, as well as local employers and trade union branches. Rodney Bickerstaffe former General Secretary of UNISON said:

 “The Centre contains world-leading records on British industrial  relations unlike anywhere else in the UK It is an astonishingly  rich and topical resource.”

The redevelopment will almost double the available public space and add another 4km of storage to the existing 13km.

The redevelopment of the Centre won’t just expand its ability to accommodate people it will also increase its capacity to take in the many exciting new collections of  material the centre continues to attract.

This £1.2 million project, has already raised £872,000 in funding including  a grant of £200,000 from the Wolfson Foundation.

For further information please contact:       

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications                                                                                   
University of Warwick  Tel: 024 76 523708
07767 655860  p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

PR136 PJD  21st December 2009