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Digitised collections

The Modern Records Centre has been creating digitised collections - to showcase primary sources on key themes - since 2011. We now have large online collections on a range of subjects - from the Spanish Civil War to pre-NHS healthcare.

Although our digitised collections contain thousands of documents, the material digitised is only a tiny proportion of our overall holdings - to access the majority of our archives it will still be necessary to visit in order to read the original, physical document.

Increasingly, the Modern Records Centre is receiving born-digital records - records which were created in a digital format. When access restrictions allow, we are starting to make these available through our online catalogue.

Archive Vault 

A selection of primary sources which support undergraduate modules at the University of Warwick.

Includes sources for: A Comparative History of the First World War, 1912-1923; Britain in the 20th century; Feminism, Politics, and Social Change in Modern Britain; Gandhi and Indian Nationalism; Governing Britain; History of France; History of Germany; Racism and Xenophobia; Social Welfare in Britain; War and Economy in the Twentieth Century.

View of the Modern Records Centre strongroom

British healthcare, 1900-1948

260 documents relating to British healthcare during the first half of the 20th century.

The collection focuses particularly on the debate over how the health of the nation should be managed and the campaign for a state-run health service, and includes sources on the Beveridge Report and the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948.

Nurse in early 20th century hospital

Britain, Empire and migration

Selection of documents from archive collections held at the Modern Records Centre.

Includes sources relating to migration to Britain (including Jewish migration from Eastern Europe and African Caribbean migration), the British Empire (particularly pre-1947 India) and racial discrimination, 1880s-1960s.

Merchant seamen in Cardiff, early 20th century

Chile Solidarity

On 11 September 1973 the Popular Unity (UP) government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet’s military junta. Following the seizure of power, left-wing political activity was repressed and many activists were immediately detained. The Junta was responsible for the torture and execution of thousands of people.

The Modern Records Centre's collections contain significant archive material relating to the Chile Solidarity Campaign and reception of Chilean refugees in Britain. A selection of just over 200 items are showcased in this digital collection.

Extract from Chile Solidarity poster

Developing LEO: The world's first business computer

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, employees at J. Lyons & Co. Ltd. worked to develop the world's first business computer - LEO (Lyons Electronic Office).

The archives of statistician John Sissons include key documents relating to the development of LEO. 39 documents have been digitised in full - including development reports, a 'layman's guide' (or manual) and photographs.

LEO, the Lyons computer

Diaries of Eileen Younghusband, 1917-1930

Dame Eileen Younghusband (1902-1981) was a key figure in the development of social work during the 20th century.

Eileen Younghusband’s diaries cover a transitional period in her life, beginning with her wartime childhood in Wimbledon and ending as she started her career as a tutor at the London School of Economics. They cover her ambivalent relationship with post-war ‘High Society’, growing interest in politics and issues of social justice, first steps towards social work (through the Whitechapel Care Committee and Bermondsey Princess Club) and education at the LSE, as well as the routine of daily life (particularly with regard to shopping, socialising and travelling).

Eileen Younghusband

Family History: Digitised sources

A selection of trade union records from the Modern Records Centre's holdings have been digitised by Find My Past. These include membership registers, reports, rolls of honour and journals. The documents are free to search, but charges apply to view images and transcripts.

Extract from railway union membership register

First World War 100: conflict and commemoration

To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, 100 documents from the Modern Records Centre's archives were digitised and made available online.

From the soldier on the front line to the imprisoned conscientious objector, the woman worker to the wounded ex-serviceman, the sources provide an insight into the far-reaching effects of four years of 'total war' on Britain and its society.

Soldiers sitting in trench

From Easter Rising to Civil War: Ireland, 1916-1922

82 postcards, photographs, illustrated booklets and reports on the Easter Rising of 1916, the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

The documents are from archive collections held at the Modern Records Centre and the University of Warwick Library Special Collections. Most sources reflect Republican views of the events.

View of Dublin after the Easter Rising

Henry Sara's lantern lectures

More than 1,500 lantern slides used to illustrate political talks or lectures by Henry Sara during the 1920s and 1930s.

Subjects include the Russian Revolution and conditions in the Soviet Union, the 1927 Chinese revolution and civil war, the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, the British General Strike and labour movement, imperialism, spiritualism, and recent Irish and German history.

Russian scene, shortly after the 1917 revolution

Labour movement newspapers and journals

A selection of trade union and political journals and newspapers from the Modern Records Centre's collections.

Includes trade union publications relating to workers in a variety of trades (including railways, asylums, docks, printing, fire brigade, agriculture, merchant navy and poor law unions), Labour Church journals and socialist periodicals.

Trade union newspapers and journals

National Cycle Archive

A selection of diaries and lantern slides of cycling tours in Britain, Ireland and Continental Europe.

The digitised collection includes cycling tour diaries from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and lantern slides of cycling tours in the 1920s-1930s by the writers 'Kuklos' (William Fitzwater Wray) and 'Petronella'.

Engraving of 19th century cycle race

Photographing prison life in the early 20th century

A small collection of photographs from the archives of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Many of the photographs look at the reformatory side of the prison system, including shots of male and female prisoners engaged in work and educational programmes in the UK and USA. Photos of British conscientious objectors during the First World War are also included.

Borstal exercise yard in 1902

Reporting the General Strike: Contemporary accounts of "The Nine Day Wonder" 

The General Strike, the largest industrial dispute in Britain’s history, took place between 4 May 1926 to 12 May 1926.

More than 450 documents relating to the General Strike have been digitised, including emergency strike bulletins, transcripts of BBC radio broadcasts and internal reports produced by the strike's co-ordinator, the Trades Union Congress.

Group of coal miners, c.1926

Sweated Trades: Working life in the early 20th century

In 1909, Britain's first minimum wage was introduced in an attempt to abolish exploitative 'sweated' labour. Files on the Trade Boards (administrators of the minimum wage) in the Trades Union Congress archives include a wealth of information on pay and working conditions in Britain's early 20th century sweatshops, including documents relating to the employment of women and disabled workers. Trades such as tailoring, chainmaking, box making, shirtmaking, laundering, lace finishing and button carding are included.

This collection is in the process of being digitised - more will be added during 2020.

Woman chainmaker (and child) at Cradley Heath, c.1906

The Russian Revolution and Britain, 1917-1928

More than 650 primary sources relating to the relationship between the two countries in the decade following the Russian Revolution, particularly regarding the response of the British labour movement.

Includes documents relating to the 1917 revolutions, the Russian Civil War, eyewitness accounts, Lenin, the 'Red Terror', the Zinoviev Letter, Anglo-Soviet trade and the 1927 break in relations between the two countries.

Lenin and Trotsky during the Russian Civil War

The broadcasts of Richard Crossman

Richard Crossman, a Coventry Member of Parliament between 1945-1974 and Cabinet Minister between 1964-1970, was a regular broadcaster from the 1930s onwards.

More than 300 transcripts of Crossman's radio broadcasts have been digitised, including his early BBC programmes on Nazi Germany during the 1930s, his 'International Commentary' programmes for the BBC Hebrew Service, and a selection of other broadcasts on British politics up to the 1960s.

Photograph of Richard Crossman

Trabajadores : The Spanish Civil War through the eyes of organised labour

The Modern Records Centre's biggest digitised collection - more than 14,000 pages of archives about the Spanish Civil War, together with useful background information on the conflict (including a timeline).

The majority of the material - 46 physical files - is part of the archive of the British Trades Union Congress. This contains thousands of documents on a wide range of subjects relating to the Spanish Civil War, including material on key themes such as the response of organised labour and the political left in Britain and abroad, the attitude of the British and French governments, medical aid and the care of refugees, the International Brigade, and German and Italian intervention.

Propaganda image produced during the Spanish Civil War

University of Warwick: Prospectuses and Handbooks

Undergraduate prospectuses from the University of Warwick Archive at the Modern Records Centre.

The prospectuses reveal how the University has marketed itself since its foundation in 1965, provide a snapshot of student life and campus facilities in different decades and are a quick way of finding out when particular degrees were introduced and various departments were created.

Extract from the cover of the 1972/3 undergraduate prospectus

University of Warwick: The Warwick Boar (and more)

Student newspapers produced at the University of Warwick between 1965 to 1991: "Giblet" (1965-1967), "Campus" (1967-1973), "The Warwick Boar" (1973-1991) and feminist magazine "Cobwebs" (1986-1987).

The publications are part of the University of Warwick Archive, at the Modern Records Centre.

Extract from front page of The Boar, 1982

Warwickshire political ephemera, 1774-1874

Polemics, notices, songs and other parliamentary election ephemera for Warwickshire constituencies (including the Borough of Warwick) between 1774-1874. A small amount of non-election ephemera for Warwick during this period is also included.

The documents are from the archive collections of the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, and Warwickshire County Record Office.

Extract from Warwick Political Union leaflet about the Reform Bill

World University Service

Reports and other publications produced by World University Service between 1957-2005. WUS is a non-governmental organisation which has campaigned on behalf of university staff and students.

Includes sources relating to human rights, refugees, international scholarships and aid.

World University Servicel

Women - work, welfare and politics, 1870s-1940s

Selection of documents from archive collections held at the Modern Records Centre.

Includes sources relating to the political, economic and social status of women (mostly in Britain), and campaigns for equal rights.

Women - work, welfare and politics, 1870s-1940s