Thursday, 31 March 2016

ARA Core Training Audience Engagement: Strategies and Practices

I recently attended an ARA Core Training event at Cambridge Central Library, covering Audience Engagement Strategies and Practices (#ARAAudEng). I have frequently taken part in the outreach activities at the Hull History Centre with the History Makers sessions but I have not yet attended specific external training on the matter. This was an opportunity to see how other institutions have handled audience engagement and hear from their experiences.

Creative Approaches & Fun Palaces

The National Archives fielded two talks during the course of the event, the first on creative approaches towards audience engagement the second on their experiences of using Fun Palaces to engage with younger audiences. The National Archives obviously has a lot of experience with outreach events and as a result there was a lot of information given during these two talks relating to engaging with the public and how this can relate back to your organisation. 

One key idea that was reflected from speakers throughout the day was to utilise the resources that you have available, especially in regards to staff. People like to be able to get involved and if given the opportunity may surprise you in how willing they are to help out.

An effective use of what spaces you have available as well as the archives that you have feeds back into this idea of correctly utilising resources. Allowing the audience themselves to have some input and impact really helps to keep them engaged. 

In the Frontline – Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Records Office

One of the most inspiring talks at the conference was done by the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office. Their entire presentation was based around a World War One theme which was the primary focus of their audience engagement program. 

I have to confess I have never seen a presentation in the Archives sector involve the participants directly before, but somehow they managed to get a room full of heritage sector workers to shout “Unity or Death” in Serbian (phonetically ooo-yedin-ye-ye ili smrt) as they covered how as part of their outreach events they ran a time accurate re-enactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The success of this activity really boosted their 
confidence as well as staff morale as they moved onto other projects. Including the construction of a replica trench on the premises that has allowed them to run several Great War events and encourage different groups of people to go to the records office. It has also shown how much a good engagement event can be a fantastic learning tool, teaching groups of children about war in a way that they are far more likely to be actively interested in.

Other Talks

There were several talks that I just don’t have the room to talk about in as much detail but that were equally as interesting. Including a talk by the Transport for London Corporate Archives on how they raised their profile internally, something that had never occurred to me as being as important as external engagement but which has obvious repercussions. People need to know you exist in order to use your services, which includes those working under the same umbrella!

There was also a talk on the use of Social Media at the Tyne and Wear archives, it was very useful to have a talk from an institution that covers so many different forms of social media and who are willing to share their own experiences with them in regards to what has been working and what hasn't.

The Archives and Records Association themselves presented the opening talk around their experiences 
running the Explore Your Archive campaign. It was great to see the feedback from such a wide reaching campaign, what they felt worked and what could be improved upon. How effective it was in general and the difficulty of quantifying any results beyond anecdotal evidence. It was also a little different simply because this was an organisation attempting to engage archives, to provide them with tools to engage their audiences.

Conclusion

I found the entire day incredibly motivating, to see what different organisations have been doing to raise their profile and how successful it has been for them has really encouraged me in how the History Centre currently interacts with its audience.

It was a very useful and encouraging event, the idea of how much outreach and engagement can affect staff morale in such a positive way was definitely eye opening. Also how as an organisation you need to play to your own strengths both in the archives you have available as well as the staff who work there.

Quote of the day: “People will engage if they are invited and if they feel that their opinions have value.” - Sandra Shakespeare, The National Archives

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Women's Work

As it’s Women’s History Month I thought it would be a great time to look at one of the subject files within the ACPO collection which relates specifically to female officers. One I’ve found particularly interesting relates to training offered exclusively to women officers in the 1960s (U DPO Crowther 32/71/1). At this time women police officers made up only a tiny percentage of the police service and were not represented at all at senior level (the first women appointed to an ACPO rank position being Alison Halford who became Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside in 1983).

Week 1 syllabus recommended for adoption by all police districts in 1963

The file reveals that a paper written by Miss K M Hill MBE, an Assistant Inspector of Constabulary was discussed at the district conferences of Chief Constables in December 1961. The paper asserted that existing basic training offered to all probationers did not prepare female recruits for the additional tasks which were often expected of them. She suggested that new policewomen were more likely to be involved in ‘serious cases of indecency, or to tackle/assist in cases involving women and children’ than male probationers. Although some District Training Centres did offer specialist guidance to women officers as part of their training, it was too short and often only available by sacrificing attendance at other classes.

The Chief Constables had mixed opinions on whether such training was necessary - No.8 district concluded that it would be ‘a waste of time and money’ as ‘so few policewomen remain in the Service long enough to benefit from it’. Nevertheless, the Training Committee agreed that such training was of benefit, and districts were invited to pilot courses with a feedback meeting scheduled for the following year.

In September 1963 a syllabus was recommended for all districts by the Training Centres’ Committee. It focussed on working with highly sensitive and often complex cases including child neglect, rape and other sexual offences, abortion, abduction and mental health cases. The following year when defending the need for this training Miss Hill insisted that policewomen ‘had to deal with serious crime at a very early stage in their service’. In response to those who had the same misgivings as No.8 district, she stressed that it was essential to make policewomen ‘efficient’, whatever the duration of their service.

Extract from the minutes of the No.6 District meeting of Chief Constables, 20th of March 1957

I found this interesting as it proves that although female officers were often perceived as somehow being lesser members of the service than their male counterparts, in actuality far greater expectations were placed on them from the very beginning of their careers. With minimal or no specialist training and very little experience female police officers had until this point been thrust into extremely sensitive situations purely because they were women. Despite this incredible pressure, female officers were not to benefit from equal pay with male officers until 1974. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if these factors contributed to women having shorter lengths of service.

Alex Healey, ACPO Project Archivist

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Easter 2016 at the History Centre

With Easter weekend not far away we thought we would give you an early treat. In this blog we let the archives do the talking as we take you on a whistle-stop picture tour of some of our Easter related archives. There may even be chocolate…

First, the more well-known Easter themes of eggs and cards.... Within the records of local societies and organisations, and the papers of noted local individuals, we often come across photographs, letters and cards. Such items document events and traditions from a very personal perspective.

Photograph of children with a giant Easter egg taken in 1956 [C DSHO/6/18]

Easter card sent 1920 [U DBU/1/252]

Now some Easter links from the official Hull Corporation and local parish records…. Within the records of the local authority and its predecessors we can discover the 'official' annual events and traditions. We can also see what the local authority required from its citizens at given times in the year.

Brief for presentation - case of King vs John and Elizabeth Brigham for keeping a disorderly house in Cripplegate (Held at Hull and County Easter Sessions, 1805) [C DMT/2/36/71]

Evacuation list for Kingston High School under the Easter Evacuation Scheme of 1940 [C DEBK/9/6/4]

Easter Book, also known as a Tithe Book, kept by the parish of Beverley St Marys for the year 1674/5 [U DX14/1]

And finally some more unusual Easter links…. Amongst the predictable records held at the History Centre, we often make surprising finds. These can lead us off down interesting paths of research as we try and discover the story behind the document.

Recipes dating from 1800 for ‘Rice for the Poor’ intended to be made at Easter [U DDWA/13/16]

Colour poster relating to a peace march held at Easter time in 1969 [U DYO/12/105]

This is just a taster of some of the types of records we have at the History Centre. If any of these items intrigue you, why not visit us at the History centre to find out more. Do you have a particular topic you are interested in? All you need is a theme, some search terms and our online catalogue to discover what else we might have hidden in our strongrooms!

Claire Weatherall, Assistant Archivist 
Dave Heelas, TNA Skills for the Future Trainee

Monday, 21 March 2016

Archivist as Interpreter

The other day I was lucky enough to attend The National Archives’ Archivist as Interpreter event at the British Library. The event was the culmination of the TNA’s Archiving the Arts initiative, which seeks to promote and support the capture, preservation and accessibility of records related to the arts. I was particularly interested in the events’ aim to ‘reconceptualise the idea of the archive to draw in new audiences and the leading innovative practices already taking place’. I really enjoy learning about ways in which people have made use of archive collections, particularly those which have attracted users who do fall outside the traditional demographic, and so was really excited to see what people had been up to and what had been learned. The day was crammed full of interesting talks and if I wrote at length on all of them this post would be very long! Instead I’ll offer a quick overview, with a focus on a couple of things I found especially interesting.

Entrance to the British Library

Jamie Andrews’ led the introduction, where we learned about the British Library’s ‘Vision for the Future’ in the lead up to their 50th anniversary in 2023 - this is supported by their Living Knowledge document. The keynote speaker was Paul Cornish of the Imperial War Museum. He talked about installing the museum’s new WWI exhibition, which sought to tell the story of the war using the voices of real witnesses, through archive documents. He expounded the idea of ‘contemporaneity’, allowing the records to speak for themselves and reveal how events unfolded. He suggested that it was important to avoid using the voice of the organisation which can sound authoritative and alienating, sometimes acting as a barrier between visitors and the items on display. After tea three speakers took part in a panel. Firstly, Victoria Northridge of the Black Cultural Archives. She talked about the range of outreach activities BCA engage in; encouraging people to use their space, taking their talks ‘on tour’ and making use of digital tools such as Google Cultural Institute to reach wider audiences. She was followed by Kevin Bolton of Manchester City Council, who shared his experience of cultural programming for Manchester Central Library and Archives+. This included the innovative and successful takeover week curated by the band Everything Everything entitled ‘Chaos to Order’ in 2014. He stressed the value of educating staff in new skills such as event management, while also explaining that engaging specialist professional support can be vital to such an events success. Finally Melissa Addey, writer in residence at the British Library’s Business and IP centre, took to the stage. She talked about encouraging businesses to explore their own stories, and that art as product should not be considered a contradiction. The panel discussion was varied, with some time spent considering whether there was crossover between audiences for 'traditional' and ‘non-traditional’ use of the archive, whether we could translate one audience into another, or indeed whether we should be trying to or not.



After lunch, still feeling giddy from all the morning’s information (and buying particularly beautiful pencils at the Alice in Wonderland pop-up shop), I went to my selected seminar. Choosing which of the four available was incredibly difficult as they all sounded really fascinating! I chose to hear Sarah Cole, a digital heritage consultant who runs TIME/IMAGE speak about how digital tools can help build audiences and inspire people who don't have a relationship with the source material. I have a real interest in this area, and enjoy exploring how people engage with archives in new ways as a result of new technologies. Sarah's experience with the British Council's film collection was a case study in how successful such a project can be, bringing what were in some cases completely unwatchable films into a digital format and providing access to them online, for free under a creative commons licence. Not only did the project gain a huge audience thanks to wide promotion in the media, but the films inspired the creation of new works. Her current project with the British Library, Poetic Places, is culminating in an app which will allow users to stumble across places represented in poetry and art through their smart phones using GPS. I found Sarah's talk valuable as it stressed the importance of considering why and for whom we are undertaking a project – if you're using a digital tool in your work are you doing so to build your audience, or to provide an existing audience with a learning resources or entertainment? A good reminder that although working with new tools is exciting you should always keep your goals in focus. It was also very lovely to see our own HullCraft project get a mention!



The final panel of the afternoon was based around interpretation of archives which feature challenging or problematic subject matter. The first speaker was Sarah Jaffray of the Wellcome Collection discussing their Sexology exhibition. She considered the potential of archives to legitimize through recording, and described the amazing results of the Neil Bartlett WOULD YOU MIND? project which took place during the exhibition. She was followed by Lisa Peschel, a co-investigator for Performing the Jewish Archive. She discussed the difficulties in bringing musicals written and performed by the Jewish community detained in Theresienstadt during Nazi occupation to a modern audience. She explored how humour in a performance written in very specific circumstances can be retained with careful re-writing, while successfully communicating the contemporary historical events which influenced the original work. The final speaker was Stefan Dicker of the Bishopsgate Institute. Stefan's talk was about the outreach work and collections held at Bishopsgate, some of which represent views and lifestyles which have at times been considered 'alternative'. This included the papers of the Mondcivitan Republic (previously unknown to me but now a mild obsession). Stefan spoke so compellingly, and with such enthusiasm for his work and the BI’s collections that it was impossible to leave without wanting explore their archives (which I have now done online – I certainly recommend taking a look at their website, if just for the Badger in Residence).  Stefan's message that only open minds can open minds, and archives only die if we let them seemed a really pertinent plea to those of us working in the sector to remember that if we want our collections to remain relevant we must be willing and able to find new ways of seeing, framing and presenting them. If we don't appreciate and exploit the vibrancy and life in our archives, how can we expect any one else to?

Bishopsgate Institute's 'Badger in Residence'

I think Val Johnson of The National Archives phrased a very succinct leaving message during the final wrap up – we need to let go of what we think archives should be and what archivists should be doing. There are many diverse pulls on our time in the workplace, especially as the sector continues to be faced with reduced funding. This can make it hard to look beyond our day to day tasks However, it's when we do this - when we think outside the box, take on new challenges with all the associated risks - that we find new successes and the collections we work with can benefit the widest audiences possible. With that in mind, I wonder how feasible it would be to arrange a performance-based multi-media interactive sensory installation in the History Centre Arcade…

Alex, ACPO Project Archivist

Friday, 18 March 2016

British Science Week: Science in the Archives Friday

Today's blog will be the last in our British Science Week series. Our theme today is environmental science, and we will be exploring this through the lens of the Global Environment Facility. And just so you know, this is a sneak preview at a forthcoming collection which we are currently cataloguing.


Established in October 1991, the Global Environment Facility (or GEF) is an international financial instrument situated within the World Bank. It was conceived of as a way to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote sustainable development internationally. The GEF was to fulfil its objectives by providing grants and concessional funding to regional projects with potential to benefit the global environment. Grants and funding were to be given to cover the incremental or additional costs associated with transforming a project from its national focus to a global one.

Initially, there were three implementing partners: United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Environment Program; the World Bank. Now, many partners contribute to the replenishment of the GEF. Revision and replenishment of funds takes place periodically and is determined at Participants' Assemblies. To date there have been 6 iterations of the organisation starting with it's Pilot Phase of $1 billion.

Timeline showing the development of the GEF

The main focus of the GEF relates to the areas of biodiversity, climate change, chemicals & waste, land degradation, international waters, and sustainable management of forests. The organisation's work also touches on food security, sustainable cities, commodities, public-private partnerships, capacity development, gender main-streaming, small island developing states, and indigenous peoples. As such, the GEF is intended to have global societal benefits through its contribution towards the development and promotion of environmental science.

Book produced as a result of research at Hull

So you might be wondering why we are talking about a global body here in Hull. Well, during the 1990s a major research project was undertaken within the Geography department of the University of Hull. Involving researcher Zoe Young, the project aimed to critically analyse the GEF, its structure, successes and failings. The research led to the publication of various reports and papers, a book titled ‘New World Order? The World Bank and the Politics of the Global Environment Facility’, and a television documentary titled ‘Suits and Savages’.

The records of this research project were deposited at the Hull History Centre in 2010 and will soon be available to researchers. The collection contains 100s of GEF reports, documents and publications which give a fascinating insight into the organisation’s work and policies, as well as the projects it funded.

Claire Weatherall, Assistant Archivist

Thursday, 17 March 2016

British Science Week: Science in the Archives Thursday

Today’s British Science Week blog looks at the technological application of scientific developments through the work of the Hull Liquid Crystals Research Group.


The Hull Liquid Crystals and Advanced Materials Research Group has its origins with the interest of two men, Sir Brynmor Jones and his protégé Professor George Gray. Jones, a professor at the University of Hull, had become interested in the area of liquid crystals research whilst working at the University of Sheffield. Aware of the research interests of a young student of Glasgow University, Jones was instrumental in bringing George Gray to Hull to work in the area of organic chemistry.

George Gray in the Chemistry lab at Hull University, 1979

Gray undertook and completed his PhD at Hull and went on to focus on research into the structure and properties of liquid crystal materials. At a time when interest in this area was waning, Gray didn’t give up. Before funding completely dried up he compiled all he knew into the first definitive text on the subject to be published in the UK in 1962.

Samples from Gray's work up to the 1960s

Towards the end of the 1960s the Ministry of Defense became interested in the technological applications of liquid crystals. Gray was recognised as a leading figure in the field and was able to secure grant money to undertake MoD contracted research at Hull. The research undertaken at Hull led to the development of room-temperature stable liquid crystals known as cyanobiphenyls in 1972. This development made liquid crystal display technology viable, and the group’s findings were published in 1973.

Lab equipment used by Gray and sample technology using LCD technology developed at Hull  

Early applications of the liquid crystal research being conducted in Hull included the development of the digital watch display, the calculator and early electronic games. Liquid crystal display technology was also used in the screen of the first MacBook, and went on to form the basis for all LCD-driven screen technologies. Laptops, tablets, flat screen TVs and many more electronic display devices would not have been possible without the scientific research conducted at the University of Hull.

The records of the Hull Liquid Crystal and Advanced Materials Research Group, held here at the History Centre, tell the story of this internationally significant scientific development.

Claire Weatherall, Assistant Archivist

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

British Science Week: Science in the Archives Wednesday

Earth science and geology forms the backdrop of today’s British Science Week blog as we look at the work of the University of Hull lecturer, George de Boer (1920-2011).


Hull born and raised, George de Boer was an academic with many and varied scientific interests. Physical geography, geology, geomorphology, erosion, climate, biodiversity and nature conservation all formed part of his research into the workings of the natural world. His studies had a strong local focus. Spurn Head and the Holderness coastline were his chosen locations for investigation. Although he also undertook research trips to Norway and to the Lake District region of England.

Map of the Humber and Holderness coastline copied by George de Boer [U DDB/2/2/4]

He attended Cambridge University, although WWII interrupted his studies. At first de Boer enlisted but later came out as a conscientious objector. Following the war and the completion of his degree, de Boer started at the then University College Hull as an assistant lecturer in Geography.

In 1944 he published his first paper, 'A System of Glacier Lakes in the Yorkshire Wolds', and went on to publish many solo and collaborative scientific papers. He received a grant from the Nature Conservancy in 1959 for coastal investigations along the Holderness shoreline. His research culminated in the publication of a paper titled ‘Spurn Head: its history and evolution’ in 1964, followed by many others relating to the area.

Plan of Spurn Head copied by George de Boer [U DDB/2/2/2]

De Boer was involved in many local societies, notably the Spurn Management Committee of which his was Chairman, and the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Trust after its establishment in 1946 (now known as the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust). He was truly committed to his scientific interests and the protection of the local natural environment. At his retirement, the University of Hull inaugurated an annual George de Boer Lecture series in his honour.

Poster advertising one of the annual George de Boer lectures at the University of Hull [U DDB/1/6/4]

His personal and academic papers (held here at Hull History Centre) document his lifelong study of Spurn and the local region laid the foundation for later studies into coastal erosion and protection of wildlife. His interest in Spurn and the protection of its wildlife has meant that future generations can still enjoy this scientifically significant part of the UK coastline.

Claire Weatherall, Assistant Archivist

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Transforming Archives - Scottish Base Camp

Skills for the Future poster
Two weeks ago I attended my second Base Camp of the traineeship, this time it was up in sunny Edinburgh with the support from the Scottish Council on Archives. Both the Opening up Scotland’s Archives trainees and the Transforming Archives trainees were able to meet up for a three day event. This covered a variety of subjects ranging from Digital Preservation to Conservation, all packed into a series of workshops and lectures. In many ways this was a continuation and expansion of the things that we learned during the first BaseCamp Week at The National Archives back in November.

Day 1 – Scotland’s Archives and Digital Preservation
The first day featured talks from the National Records of Scotland, ScotlandsPeople, the Business Archives Council of Scotland (BACS) and in the middle of all this we had a fantastic tour of the General Register House where most of the base camp took place. It was interesting to have talks by a records manager as well as individuals working in the private archive sector, since these are both groups that I have not had a chance to interact with that much so far.

Lastly there was a talk by William Kilbride from the DPC. It was largely about dispelling some of the preconceptions and myths that exist around digital preservation. There was definitely a lot of discussion and ideas that I will be taking away with me including the fact 
that there has been so much research into the problem of digital preservation that it has started to become replete with jargon which is becoming a barrier in its own right. Trying to get through all the complicated workflows and policies is incredibly difficult and daunting for someone who is about to start their digital preservation journey. There were two provincial conclusion that I found particularly relevant 
1. If we want to preserve we’re going to have to dispose of something. 
2. If we want to preserve anything we need to act earlier in the lifecycle. 
And finally the idea that the challenges of obsolescence may not even arise if other problems are not dealt with first including: Data volumes, cyber-security, information security and sensitivity reviews.

Quote of the day:  “Data loss is going to come from chaotic workflows and a lack of capacity.” (William Kilbride, DPC)
Inside the General Register House

Day 2 – Previous Trainees and Conservation
The second day featured talks from two previous Cohort 1 trainees about their experience with the programme and what they are up to now and it was very interesting to see where they had come from and where they are now.

There was a talk on archival conservation especially in regards to exhibition and display. This concluded with a tour of Thomas Thomson House and a chance to meet some of the conservators who work there with quite different and quite specific specialisations including a paper conservationist, a book binding one, a 20th century material expert and even a fabric expert for all the Tartan! This specialisation it made it very interesting to hear from each of them and for them to give an overview of their work.

Quote of the day: “Digitisation is not a form of preservation, it is a form of access.” (Linda Ramsay, Head of Conservation NRS)
Conservation of a laminated document

Day 3 – Copyright and Electronic Records Management
The last day featured a talk from the Electronic Records Unit at the National Records of Scotland, which was particularly interesting since it was run as more of a freeform discussion. Their approach to digital records was also a lot more minimalist than I am used to and this brought up some interesting discussion around what is necessary for digital preservation. Instead they choose to focus on physical storage space and staffing, these are often brought up as being very important but it is interesting to see an institution follow through.

CREATe gave a talk on an Introduction to Copyright Law for Archivists. Copyright in regards to archives is something that I frequently remind myself that I need to look into in greater detail. But as a subject it can be quite dry, I have to say I was incredibly impressed with Victoria Stobo for managing to make it both engaging and informative. I definitely came out of that presentation knowing a lot more about copyright in general, and even with a little desire to look more into it.

We also had the National Register of Archives for Scotland (NRAS) talking about private collections. Glasgow School of Art Archive discussing their online catalogue.

Quote of the day: “Processes around digital records is in many ways stranger than those for paper.”

Conclusion
Edinburgh has some fantastic architecture!
Overall I had a fantastic time. The entire base camp was incredibly informative and in many ways I felt much more capable of dealing with all the discussion and information that was presented to me than I did at the previous Base Camp Week. 

This was a pleasant surprise for me since it is often difficult to see how much you have learned, but this was a comparable way of looking at how much more I know then I did six months ago. I’m a little sad that there won’t be another base camp to look forward to, the support of the other trainees and staff around the Transforming Archives traineeship has been fantastic and it was a great networking opportunity to find out what the others were working on. 

Bonus quote: “Copyright: So important they put a circle around it” (GSA Archives and Collections Volunteer)

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee

British Science Week: Science in the Archives Tuesday

In the second of our British Science Week blogs we take a look at the image of scientific laboratory techniques through the lens of a pressure group known as the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV).


Founded in Bristol on 14 June 1898 by Miss Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904), the BUAV was established over a concern for animal welfare. A similar organisation existed in the National Anti-Vivisection Section (NAVS) led by Stephen Coleridge. However, a political difference between Power Cobb and Coleridge led to a breakaway faction and the formation of an alternative group for change. 

Under Power Cobbe, the BUAV campaigned for animal welfare and an end to experimentation using vivisection for scientific and educational purposes. In the early decades, campaigns were predominantly coordinated through the production and distribution of publications. The organisation's longest running publication is a journals known as The Abolitionist, which first appeared 15 April 1899.

Page from the second issue of The Abolitionist, 1901 [U DBV/23/1]

By 1903 there were 20 federated societies throughout the country. The success of the BUAV and the extent of public support behind it also meant that a Parliamentary Association was formed to speak in the House of Commons.

Even in the early days, the BUAV worked in conjunction with other associations, both national and international, to produce joint campaigns with similar agendas. Whilst the early 20th century campaigns of the group tended to focus on achieving the abolition of vivisection, changes in scientific techniques during the 1960s led to a change in emphasis in BUAV campaigning. 

From the 1970s, the focus of campaigns moved away from emphasis on the abolition of vivisection and towards the promotion of ‘humane’ research techniques. At the same time, campaigning tactics also turned towards exposure of inhumane experiments using the expanded national media channels. The 1980s saw a huge increase in campaigning efforts, with the use of media taking centre stage. In addition to the well established publications and pamphleteering, use of radio and TV became a central feature of the BUAV's campaign work.

Promotional leaflet published by the BUAV's General Election Coordinating Committee, 1979 [U DBV/11/2]

The politically orientated nature of the group came to the foreground during General Elections. In the run-up to an election the BUAV organised a General Election Coordinating Committee for Animal Protection Campaigns. In the 1979 and 1983 General Elections the group made particular efforts. At this time, education of school children also became a focus of the BUAV's work, with school visits and the production of education packs forming part of campaigns.

Whilst the group has run many campaigns over the past century, the 'Choose Cruelty Free' campaign launched in the late 1970s became one of the biggest and longest running of BUAV campaigns. In the current information age, campaigning has evolved with the times and now includes online surveys and petitioning to reach an even wider audience.

In the records of the BUAV then we have a view of science through the lens of social conscience, changes in which can be traced across more than a century in Britain.

Claire Weatherall, Assistant Archivist, Hull History Centre

Monday, 14 March 2016

British Science Week: Science in the Archives Monday

This week the British Science Association is running it's annual British Science Week (11-20 March 2016). Whilst archives are not usually the first thing people associate with science, repositories across the world hold many interesting science themed material. Here at Hull History Centre we will be taking part in British Science Week 2016 by posting a blog a day exploring our science theme collections.


We start the week with a medical science link as we take a look at the Socialist Medical Association (SMA). The association was formed on 2 November 1930 and was the brainchild of Dr Charles Brook. Brook proposed the association's formation and made an appeal in the Daily Herald for socialist doctors to get in touch if they supported his proposal.

Mr Somerville Hastings responded and an initial meeting was held in September 1930. Hastings had been instrumental in an earlier organisation known as the State Medical Service Association (SMSA). He would become the first president of the SMA, whilst Brook was to be the first honorary secretary.

Constitution of the SMA [U DSM3/12/1]

The SMA was formed in the context of a Labour-supported campaign for equality in the provision of health care, and to ensure that the working classes medical needs were properly provided for. The association's agenda was informed by the notion that every citizen should have the right to hospital care, that this care should be preventative and that there should be no economic barriers to accessing care. 

The vision was for a state sponsored and locally provided medical service based on collaboration by General Practitioners working in newly conceived medical centres, with the assistance and advice of hospital consultants. This agenda was taken up by the Labour Party at its conference in 1934. The campaign had strong government support in the then Minister for Health, Aneurin Bevin. He was charged with investigating the logistics and organising the founding of a 'National Service for Health' following the publication of a government White Paper published in 1944. 

In Britain, the idea that all people should have access to health care can be traced back to the 19th century. The beginnings of an intellectual discussion surrounding working class conditions and health can be seen in the writings of Robert Owen and Keir Hardy in the second half of the 19th century. In 1887, Edward Bellamy advocated a socialised comprehensive and free health service by 2000 in his treatise 'Looking Backward'. Whilst Samuel Butler also discussed the politics of health in his essay 'Erewhon' published in the late 19th century. 

Other key developments in the history of the debate surrounding the formation of a national health service can be seen in the Minority Report produced by Beatrice Webb and George Lansbury on the Poor Law in 1909, the National Health Insurance Act of 1911, the formation of the Ministry of Health in 1918, and the publication of the Beveridge Report on social security in 1942.

General Election Manifesto of the SMA [U DSM2/8]

Whilst the roots of a national health service can be traced earlier than the founding of the SMA in 1930, the association was, nevertheless, instrumental in supporting the foundation of the NHS. The association worked to progress and monitor the efforts of Aneurin Bevin through pressurised campaigning in the press and by producing publications in support of the cause. A dinner was held by the SMA on 12 January 1947 and Bevin was the guest of honour. The NHS finally came into being in July 1948, which coincidentally happened to coincide with the publication of the 100th issue of the SMA Bulletin.

In the midst of current debates surrounding the future of the NHS, it is interesting to remember the service's beginnings and the campaign to bring about equal access to the latest medical advances provided by science. The archives of the SMA [U DSM] provide one perspective on this contentious issue.

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Importance of the Pocket Book

The other day I was out for drinks with some friends and got chatting to a lady who works as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). It was really interesting to hear stories from someone working on the front lines of the police force having spent the last few weeks immersed in the policy making side of the service. Something she said particularly reminded me of something I’d come across in the Association of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) records the week before. She mentioned that people always they knew they were in real trouble when she got out her notebook. While I was box listing some of the ACPO papers I found a booklet of lesson notes published by the Home Office in 1960, entitled ‘The Training of Probationary Constables: Initial Course, consolidated edition’. Lesson 1/18 regarded the role and use of ‘The Constable’s Pocket Book’.

Pocket book cover

The importance of the notebook as a tool is made very clear in the lesson notes – not only does this book form ‘the basis for all reports and record of duties performed’, it serves as ‘a safeguard for preserving truth’. Using the acronym ELBOWS the lesson stresses that pocket books must be used in a way which both prevents tampering (by not leaving any blank pages in which additional information could be inserted later), and demonstrates that none has taken place (by not tearing out leaves suggesting that information may have been redacted). A quick search online reveals that the pocket notebook remains an important police tool, with many police forces making their procedures for use of these documents publicly available on their website.

Pocket book inside page

I find this attention to detail in the creation of a record especially interesting as an archivist. The use of pocket books as a ‘true’ record of events – as accurate, objective and unchallengeable as possible, depends upon its being created in a certain way. When encountering records in an archive researchers often have to ask themselves the same questions as a court would when considering the contents of a pocket book as evidence – ‘under what circumstances was this written? Is there any evidence of tampering? Can this be considered an “accurate” account of events?’ Unfortunately for us, the creators of most of the records in our collections had not taken lesson 1/18 on the importance of good record keeping! This means that often when working with archival records, some assumptions have to be made, and the verity of the information they contain is not quite guaranteed.

Pocketbooks have not only been used as evidence to support the police in the execution of their duties, they have also been used as evidence when investigating police conduct. Also in the ACPO collection is a copy of Sir William Macpherson of Cluny’s 1999 report of the inquiry into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence. This document makes multiple references to the notebooks of the officers who initially attended the scene of the crime. Section 11.5 observed that with one exception ‘No other notebooks or satisfactory contemporary records of police action at the scene exist’. The existence of such records, which would have provided vital evidence not just of the crime but of satisfactory police conduct, were not created. This absence, along with many other factors, contributed to the inquiry’s findings that the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation was ‘palpably flawed and deserves severe criticism’ (section 2.10).

Stephen Lawrence inquiry document

That records can have impact by their absence is also something to be remembered when using collections of primary resources for research. When investigating the history of an organisation what does it tell us if there are no records relating to large parts of their activity? How can we find out if this information was never recorded, has been innocently lost, or deliberately destroyed? Working with archives is so much more than just accessing information from primary sources. It’s about understanding the environment in which the records were created and used, asking questions about their provenance and building the whole picture. And that brings me to where I am with the ACPO papers (U DPO) at the moment. The box listing is nearing completion and I’m starting to gain an understanding of its overall content which will help me create the final catalogue. Some records may not stay at the History Centre - the report of the Inquiry into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence, for example, is freely accessible online. However, it’s important not to remove documents which would raise questions by their absence.

I find it really interesting that something so small and apparently insignificant as a notebook can, in the right hands, carry so much power. It seems apt that I’m thinking about these things while working with the papers from ACPO – an organisation who at times were criticized for their lack of transparency and accountability. In the same way that police notebooks can be used to hold both criminals and the police to account, I hope that the final catalogue for this collection will help these records fulfil a similar purpose

Alex Healey, ACPO Project Archivist