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Information Bulletin no 89 (August 2011-February 2012)

Our official re-opening

One of the key MRC events in this academic year has been the official re-opening on 1 November by Mr Tony Benn of our refurbished premises and the preceding debate on the ‘Winter of Discontent’ featuring Mr Benn, Sir Richard Lambert and Mr Rodney Bickerstaffe. More details about this are on our supporters page.

Staffing

In December Naomi Shewan joined us as a Records Assistant, working mainly with Carole Jones. As well as helping Carole with behind-the-scenes tasks such as fetching and putting away documents, compiling finding aids and processing copying orders, she spends three afternoons per week supervising the searchroom and is also on the evening rota. This, together with Carole’s extra morning of searchroom duty, has given the archivists more time for other projects, such as ‘outreach’ to user groups.

Group visits and talks outside the Centre

We have used our new seminar room to give induction sessions to over 420 Warwick students on the following courses:

History
  • History of Germany;
  • History of France;
  • Historical research: theory, skill and method;
  • India after Indira;
  • British culture and the Great War;
  • The politics of protest.
Politics and international studies
  • Qualitative methods.
Sociology
  • Researching society and culture.
Business studies
  • Introduction for doctoral students.

We have also hosted a visit from members of the Shard End Family History Group and contributed to a seminar on railway records for family history organised by the Guild of One-Name Studies at the Steam Museum, Swindon.

Notable accessions

  • Annual reports, publications and advertising material of the Brewers Society and successors, c.1910s-1980s;
  • Papers of Professor John Gennard on printing trade unions, 1930s-1980s;
  • Records of Professor R H 'Bob' Fryer, mainly relating to his work on behalf of the National Union of Public Employees and Unison, 1970s-1990s;
  • Additional records of Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde concerning the industrial dispute over News International’s Wapping plant, including video and sound recordings of television news coverage, newspapers, posters and promotional items, 1985-1986;
  • Additional records of the Confederation of British Industry;
  • Correspondence, reports, memoranda and papers of Eric Hammond and the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and Plumbing Union on the Wapping dispute, the dispute with the Trades Union Congress and other internal matters.

Cataloguing

New or revised catalogues or box lists of the following accessions have been added to our database:

Most of our 'name authority files', which are standardised descriptions of organisations and people mentioned in our catalogues, have now been linked to relevant catalogue records and can be searched for. This can be useful if you do not know the exact name of an organisation or if you wish to exclude irrelevant records which might be found by a simple free text search.

University of Warwick archive

The archive has been in the process of physical re-organisation to create space for on-going deposits from current university committees, and the work of adding the catalogues of the archive to our database continues.

Notable deposits have been: items relating to the Emergency Teacher Training College (which was built on the site now used by the Institute of Education) given to the archive by the son of a former student; David and Reg Clayton‘s recollection of life on the farms which once dominated the area now occupied by the university; Warwick University Film Society programmes, 1975-1988, given by Clive Gardener, a former Warwick student and member of the society. As the University Archive does not contain many records which document student life directly, these were gratefully accepted so as to complement the collection of other student publications which date back to the earlier days of the university.

Spanish Civil War digitisation project

Work is continuing on the project to make over 11,000 pages of Spanish Civil War archives freely available over the internet. Forty-five Trades Union Congress files about the conflict, together with a selection of publications and ephemera from other collections, have now been scanned, full transcriptions have been produced for each item, and the digital versions of the files are now being loaded onto data management computer software. The archives should be available online in May.

Website developments

In December our website was ‘migrated’ to a new template known as ID6 because it is the sixth overall design used since the inception of the university website. We now have a larger and more eye-catching ‘banner’ on our home page, which features a page from an Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants membership register, Tom Mann addressing Liverpool transport strikers in 1911, and the revolving doors of our new entrance. The links to other pages are now arranged horizontally across the top of the page rather than vertically down the left-hand side. This increases the size of the usable area of each page.

Extracts from the recordings of interviews given by the veteran Trotskyist Harry Wicks to Professor Logie Barrow, which were among those digitised last year, have been made available on our website. The extracts cover Wicks’s Battersea childhood before and during World War I, his experiences during the General Strike, his visit to Moscow as a student at the International Lenin School in the late 1920s, and his meeting with Leon Trotsky in Copenhagen in 1932.

Use of the Centre by researchers

The research subjects of visitors to the Centre, as recorded on their registration forms, have included the following:

Warwick researchers
  • Psychology, psychotherapy and social work;
  • Coloured and Asian minorities in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe;
  • Fair wages legislation;
  • History of pre-school childcare;
  • The Russian Revolution;
  • Propaganda and the French Resistance, 1940-1944;
  • Health promotion campaigns associated with sexually transmitted diseases, 1961-1992;
  • House of Lords reform;
  • Domestic service;
  • Risk and project management;
  • Student apathy.
External researchers
  • Warwickshire miners;
  • Aims of Industry;
  • Industrial dispute at Leyland Vehicles, 1982;
  • ‘In place of strife’ White Paper;
  • Women’s sport in inter-war Britain;
  • Anti-Vietnam war movement;
  • Muslim Britons and the Left;
  • Teaching unions’ attitude to religious education;
  • Trades Union Congress delegations to the USSR, 1919-1939;
  • Management consulting in the UK;
  • Left-wing intellectual movements in the 1930s;
  • The stable lads’ strike of 1975;
  • Spanish immigration to Wales, c1900-1906;
  • Water politics since 1945;
  • Eugenics and the labour movement;
  • Food measures in colonial India;
  • The voluntary sterilisation campaign in England;
  • The historical origins of rail privatisation in the UK;
  • Paul Robeson/telephone exchanges;
  • Cold War culture;
  • The history of education for the visually impaired in the UK;
  • Anglo-Japanese commercial relations;
  • Politics and music;
  • Raw materials and recycling during the world wars;
  • The relationship of the Trades Union Congress with the monarchy.