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Collections policy


The purpose of this policy is to define the key areas of collecting interest of the Modern Records Centre and any limitations to its collections.


Revisions to this policy must be approved by the University of Warwick.


The Centre was founded in October 1973 with the principal objectives of:

locating primary sources for British social, political and economic history, with special concentration on the history of industrial relations, industrial politics and labour history

preserving these for posterity, in the Centre, or by transfer to a more appropriate repository

making them available for research (involving the preparation and disseminating of finding-aids and operation of a research facility)


The Modern Records Centre (MRC) collects archive material (paper-based, photographic, audio-visual and digital material) in the following areas:

  • Material relating to industrial/employee relations, industrial politics and employee pay and conditions, including the records of negotiating bodies, trade boards and related organisations.
  • Records of trades unions and related bodies.
  • Records of trade associations, employers’ organisations and related bodies.
  • Records of professional associations, interest groups and related bodies.
  • Records of radical and non-mainstream political movements, with a particular focus on Trotskyist movements.
  • Records of pressure, protest, campaigning and welfare groups and organisations in all fields.
  • Material relating to cycling, including the records of cycling organisations, clubs, manufacturers and retailers.
  • Material relating to operational research, including the records of OR organisations and departments.
  • Material relating to social work, including the records of social workers' organisations.
  • Material relating to business and management systems and organisation, excluding the actual records of businesses and companies.
  • Material relating to industrial and employment training.
  • Records of the University of Warwick and associated and predecessor bodies and institutions, including Coventry College of Education and Horticulture Research International (HRI).
  • Papers of individuals active in, closely related to or containing significant information on any of the above areas.
  • Printed or digitally-published material (especially pamphlets, newsletters and ephemera) issued within, related to or containing significant information about any of the above areas.

Geographical and other constraints

The focus of the Centre is on material relating to the United Kingdom.

In general, industrial relations records strongly linked to a particular area have been collected by repositories within that area (e.g. Scottish labour movement records; Yorkshire woollen industry unions; Lancashire cotton industry unions).

The guidelines of the Society for the Study of Labour History in relation to local labour records are in general adhered to and it is therefore recommended that local branch records are deposited with the appropriate local authority repository, with the exception of those received as part of a national headquarters deposit.

The prior collecting interests of other repositories are respected (e.g. agricultural trade unionism at the Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading).

The Centre does not collect artefacts. These should be offered to a museum. The principal national collection of British trade union and labour movement artefacts (including banners, sashes, badges, etc) is held by the People's History Museum in Manchester.

The Centre reserves the right to collect material not obviously falling within the categories above, if special circumstances obtain.

Feb 2020