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Rubery Owen Research Bursary

Rubery Owen Research Bursary

Midlands manufacturing company Rubery-Owen Holdings Ltd. are pleased to offer, in association with the Modern Records Centre (MRC), a research bursary of £250 to be spent on travel, accommodation, and daily expenses.

The bursary is intended to facilitate work using Rubery Owen’s company archives. A large part of this archive is held at the MRC, alongside photographic records at the Birmingham Archive and Collections and a film archive at the Media Archive for Central England (MACE).

Rubery-Owen can trace its origins to the late-nineteenth century. By the mid-twentieth century, it was the largest privately owned manufacturing company in Britain, with factories across the country and – indeed – the Commonwealth.

The records held at the MRC run to nearly 1900 boxes, covering the period 1888-1990. They offer a wealth of material for economic, industrial, labour, and social historians. Researchers interested in paternalism, internal communications, the history of work, worker community and welfare, British industry, industrial citizenship, the West Midlands, and more will find much that is of interest to them. Rubery-Owen, in addition to being a sizeable and successful manufacturer, were behind key milestones in twentieth-century industry, like the Bluebird land speed record, and made extensive provisions for their workers (apprenticeships, convalescence, leisure and recreation, retirement, etc.) in order to create a sense of community – of industrial citizenry – amongst the staff.

For more information on the holdings, see:



Researchers wishing to apply for this bursary must fit the following criteria:

· Able to demonstrate why they wish to use the Rubery-Owen holdings for their research;

· Be based in Britain;

· Be a current PhD candidate at a UK HEI, or a researcher without a permanent post.

In return for being awarded the bursary, the recipient agrees to write a report (c.1000 words) for Rubery-Owen about the materials they consulted, as well as a blog post for the MRC.

The bursary would need to be spent by 31 July 2024.