Thursday, 20 September 2012

BBC Gallery for touring exhibition

BBC North West Wales have produced a gallery of images to showcase the touring exhibition for Powering the World: Looking at Welsh Industry through Archives, which is currently on display at Gwynedd Archives

Made up of 8 banners, it showcases the most interesting items from the catalogued collections and demonstrates that business archives contain records relevant to individuals and communities today.

It will continue travelling to archives, museums and libraries throughout Wales. The Archives and Records Council Wales administrative officer will now organise the location of the exhibition, please get in touch if you would like more information about hosting it  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Powering the World Leaflet

A leaflet on Welsh business archives is now available. 

It shows family and local history researchers what they might find in business archives and demonstrate that business archives can be worthwhile and original primary sources for students and academics. 


It also has a broader aim of encouraging Welsh businesses to view their archival records as an asset and persuading them to communicate with local archive services for advice on maintaining or depositing them. 

It is 10 pages (5 English, 5 Welsh on reverse) and has a print run of 3000. Copies will be forwarded to archive services, and more widely, over the next few weeks.  

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

City of Steel

Blast Furnace No 4
Night falls. The dark seashore spits flame, burns with a million lamps. 

The clang and boom and roar of the mills never cease, never slacken….

For this is a city with one urgent purpose.

Day and night, weekday and weekend, to make iron; to make iron into steel; to make enough steel. 

Steel for Britain. Steel from a dozen different lands. Steel for the world. 

Steel from Wales.

Description of 'City of Steel'- Port Talbot steelworks. From a publication by the Steel Company of Wales Limited

Steel Coil
Photographs by Dr Louise Miskell, Swansea University

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wales at Work

The Powering the World project recently featured on BBC Wales' Wales at Work programme. 

You can hear me talk about the importance of Welsh business archives. One of our employability students also shares her experience working with the records of Old Castle Tinplate Company.

The programme is available here for the next few days (from 19 minutes in). 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Business Archives workshop

Some photos from the Powering the World workshop 'The Bottom Line: The Value of Business Archives for Research' alongside some of the positive feedback from the day.

'I am much more aware of the potential uses and the range of topics included in business archives'

'The event actually generated an idea for research...'
'...identification of business archives as being a source that is not as dry as many think but is as vital as any other archive source'

'Really interesting sessions- highlighted the huge potential for research within business record collections'

'...discussions of different aspects of business archives- archivists and researchers' perspectives'

'I particulary enjoyed the meet and great sessions where we were able to discuss different interests as archivists and researchers'

Alex Ritchie, Business Archives Advice Manager,
The National Archives
Dr Quentin Outram, Senior Lecturer,
Leeds University Business School

Richard Haines, PHD student,
Swansea University

Dr Valerie Johnson,
Research and Policy Manager,
The National Archives

All photography by Helen Davies

Monday, 6 February 2012

Working slate in North Wales....

Porthamdoc, [Portmadoc]  nd. Gwynedd Archives
Gwynedd Archives hold some really interesting collections which tell the history of the slate industry in North Wales. The areas in and around Caernarfon produced some of the highest quality slate in the world, turning it into a massive industry during the late 18th-19th century.

The collections include records of various quarries (Castell Slate Quarry, Dinorwic Quarry, Dorothea Quarry etc), the North Wales Quarrying Museum Collection, papers relating to the Union of North Wales Quarrymen and material relating to the Ffestiniog Railway line which was constructed in the 1830s to transport slate from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog.

They also hold the records of two companies which were catalogued as part of the Powering the World project. 

·         Davies Brothers, Slate Merchants, of Porthmadog, established in 1879. The company ordered slate from many quarries including Diphwys Quarry and Wrysgan Quarry, Merionethshire, and Bugail Quarry, Caernarfonshire. The company supplied slates for rails, tram roods and roofing.

·         Inigo Jones, Slate works, Caernarfon, established in 1861. The company originally produced writing slate for schools, later also producing electrical slate panels for Cunard ships, fireplaces, memorials, and, more recently, slate for domestic or decorative purposes. The company recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. 

Here are a few slate industry images from their fantastic photographic collection:

Llechwedd Slate mine: View of schooner being loaded with slates at Greaves’ Wharf, Portmadoc [Porthmadog], nd. Gwynedd Archives

Llechwedd Quarries. Slate dressing mill, nd. Gwynedd Archives

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Quick update....

A quick progress update ahead of what's going to be a really busy week for the project.

The Powering the World exhibition has been signed off and the panels will be printed this week. It will be launched at Friday's workshop. It's hard to judge until I see them full size, but on paper they look great and I hope they promote the collections well. 

The pilot employability project has finished, with both students engaging with the business archives material and producing really interesting web-guides.  Both gave positive feedback on their experience, and particularly their change of opinion on business archives as 'dry' and 'daunting' to a source they would both happily use again. A full report to come in the next few weeks!

Finally, Friday is the day of the workshop ‘The Bottom Line:  The Value of Business Archives for Research’ at Swansea University. The delegates will be made up of students, academics and heritage professionals. I'm really pleased to see that we have undergraduate and postgraduate students from a variety of disciplines, including Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, Engineering and Bio-sciences. 

We have some excellent speakers on the day, showing the quality, and variety, of research that can come from business records.

·         Dr Quentin Outram, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Leeds University Business School

‘A Real Victory: The First of its kind since 1926': Employer archives on the Emlyn Strike of 1934'

He is the co-author (with Roy Church) of Strikes and Solidarity: Coalfield Conflict in Britain 1889-1966 (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and ‘Class Warriors: The Coalowners’ in Industrial Politics and the 1926 Lockout: The Struggle for Dignity (University of Wales Press, 2004) edited by John McIlroy, Alan Campbell and Keith Gildart. 

·         Dr Tehmina Goskar: Research officer on the ESRC-funded Global and Local Worlds of Welsh Copper Project (until Sep 2011)

‘Putting Humpty together again: Reconstructing supply chain information from copper business archives'

See here for more information on this project which brought together academics, the heritage sector and local and global communities to tell the story of Welsh copper 

·         Richard Haines, PHD student at Swansea University:

‘An Embarrassment of Riches: Approaches to the Quantitative Analysis of British Shipping’ 

Received an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award to work in conjunction with Swansea University and the National Waterfront Museum. His research has examined Swansea’s shipowning community during the nineteenth century, focusing on issues such as investment in shipping, the crewing of vessels, and shipowners’ role in the social and urban development of the town.

For more information, or to register, please see here