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Information Bulletin no 90 (March-July 2012)

Digitisation projects

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

After over a year’s work, this project officially went online in May and achieved wide publicity. People have found the contextual pages on our website from various sources – particularly social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also various blogs (English and Spanish), forums and academic related sites (notably The BBC History Magazine has a slideshow of documents relating to the Basque children and related articles appeared in Times Higher Education (on the Peoples’ Olympiad) and a Southampton local paper (on Basque children).

Richard Crossman papers

Thanks to a very generous donation from Virginia Crossman, Richard Crossman's daughter, we have begun a project to enhance access to one of our most significant collections of personal papers. The recordings of Crossman’s famous political diary (digital copies now available through our on-line catalogue) and some of the transcripts of his radio broadcasts, are being digitised, and two Warwick history undergraduates, Andrew Burchell and Marie-Astrid Purton, have been using the Crossman papers to compile background information on the digitised material, which will eventually be made available via our website.

Yiddish publications

A pilot project to digitise and publish some of the Yiddish journals and newspapers held in the Centre is about to be launched. The project includes the development of ‘crowdsourcing’ translation pages, so that the Yiddish materials can be accessed and translated by the Jewish community online. Additional material in Yiddish will also be added from the Kheel Archive Center at Cornell University with the intention of developing a fuller resource based on the Jewish garment workers of London and New York.

Cycling lantern slides

This project involves a large series of lantern slides recently deposited at the Centre. The touring slides of ‘Kuklos’ (the pen name of William Fitzwater Wray) have provided an ideal subject for the basis of a wider project on cycling tours of Europe and Great Britain between 1890 and 1930.

Cine films

The digitisation of most of our holdings of cine film (a total of seventeen 16 millimetre reels) was completed in July. The films include: Our film made in 1942 by the workers of Denham Film Studios promoting "Anglo-Soviet Unity and Victory over Fascism" and featuring the formation of a works production committee; This is your union, made by the National Union of Students around 1963; and Stefan Sargent’s 1970 documentary On campus, which was shot at Warwick. These and other films and videos are featured on our website on the Moving archives! page and relevant ones also appear on the undergraduate module pages for the Sociology of Education, Governing Britain, Britain in the Twentieth Centry and the History of Germany.

Website development

The website now features a short video about using the Centre, which we shot in April in collaboration with colleagues from the Library and IT Services. It starred Thomas Bray, a Warwick postgraduate and a regular user, and James King, one of our archivists, with some other staff members featuring as non-speaking extras. We hope that it gives new users an idea of what to expect before they arrive.

The experience gained during the Spanish Civil War project of using Content DM, the system which delivers the Warwick Digital Library, has enabled us to digitise documents in full for use in our on-line resources for undergraduate modules.


Since the last bulletin, we have staged exhibitions on the Falklands War and the political aspects of previous Olympic Games.

Notable accessions

  • Records of Pressed Steel and Morris Motors at Cowley, Oxford, 1960s-1980s: reports, papers, personal notes and official records of Transport and General Workers’ Union Oxford District Committee; dispute papers; record of a visit to VW Germany and visits to Russia; press cuttings.
  • Glass lantern slides of cycle tours of UK and abroad by 'Kuklos' (W. Fitzwater Wray) and 'Petronella', 1920s-1930s.
  • Papers of Margaret Stanton (1918-2012), political campaigner, relating to campaigns on international issues, peace, justice, the National Health Service etc.
  • Cycle speedway programmes, newsletters/magazines, photographs, scrapbooks and reports.
  • Additional papers of Rodney Bickerstaffe, including appointment diaries, 1970s-2000s.
  • Film of cycling events: 39th annual meeting of champions at Herne Hill, 1957; Anglo-French women's road race, 1956; WCRA meeting, Herne Hill, 1966; 1970 World Cycling Championships (2nd day).
  • University of Wawick Archive: press summaries; agendas, minutes and papers of tthe Board of Faculty of Medicine and its undergraduate and graduate committees.


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

Volunteer work

Carolyn Ewing has recently completed the sorting and listing of the archives of the Society of Post Office Executives. She is now working on the uncatalogued papers of the Confederation of Health Service Employees.

Charlie Middleton joined us as a volunteer for a few weeks in June. She helped to sort and arrange parts of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives archive.

Aldwyn Roes has been transcribing the diaries of Tom Flinn, a young cycling and radio enthusiast living in east London in the 1930s.

Jim Sutherland has begun cataloguing the papers of his former colleague Rodney Bickerstaffe, the former general secretary of the National Union of Public Employees and Unison.

Thanks to all our volunteers for their valuable contribution.

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

  • The University of the West Indies;
  • Terrorism in post-war Germany and Italy;
  • Scottish nationalism in the latter half of the twentieth century;
  • The Korean War and military psychology;
  • Socially responsible investment;
  • Prisoners of war in Britain, 1939-1948;
  • Second wave feminism in Britain;
  • Coventry Cathedral and its relationship to Dresden;
  • Holocaust denial;
  • Women during the occupation of France.

External researchers

  • International aspects of the iron and steel industry in the first half of the twentieth century;
  • Groundwater pollution by toxic wastes;
  • Cycle gearing;
  • Austrian-British trade union relations;
  • Green Party;
  • Polish miners;
  • Trades Union Congress Africa policy;
  • General Strike and 1984-1985 miners’ strike;
  • History of education welfare;
  • The Wolfenden Report and the liberalisation of morals in the 1960s;
  • Thaxted and Christian Socialism;
  • British attitudes to Zionism since 1945;
  • Trades Union Congress and cancer screening;
  • Sidney Stringer and civil defence;
  • Suburban mobility;
  • Manchester Jewish history;
  • Socialism and immigration in east London, 1889-1912;
  • Impact of Russian Revolution on Britain;
  • History of health and safety;
  • E P Thompson and the peace movement in the UK;
  • British policy in Palestine, 1945-1948;
  • Equal pay and collectivism, 1957-present;
  • Birmingham manufacturing and workforce during World War II.

Group visits

  • Students studying the Britain in the Twentieth Century history undergraduate module.
  • Politics and International Relations MA students.
  • Stratford upon Avon Family History Society.

20 Aug 2012