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By Jan Hicks on

Introducing… the Museum of Science and Industry Archives

The first rule of archives? Nobody talks about archives.

When you see the word ‘archives’, what do you think? Do you think about old websites, caches of data, files of electronic information that you don’t need to access regularly? Or do you think about dusty basements, ancient pieces of paper, and researching your family tree?

Did you know that the museum has an archive? Or that three archivists work here?

You might be surprised about that. We’re a hidden treasure of the museum. Now that the museum has its new blog, the archivists will be sharing stories from the archive that surprise us, excite us, or make us laugh. To get you used to us talking about archives, though, here is a quick introduction to what we have in our stores.

 

rossendale

 

Our earliest documents date from the late 18th century and are in our paper making archive. We also have books full of samples of printed fabrics from the textile industry, such as the above example. The oldest fabric sample book we have dates from between 1795 and 1805, and is full of designs from the Rossendale Printing Co.

 

straight on view of a The Big Issue QR code card on a grey background.

 

At the other end of time, one of our most up to date documents is a Big Issue digital access card (above), made in 2012. That was the year that the Big Issue in the North launched the world’s first digital street magazine with a pilot scheme in Manchester. A more thorough catalogue record can be found in the new SMG Archive Catalogue.

 

mat-norman

 

Jean Elizabeth Gregson textile design portfolio..Photograph showing a selection of designs.

 

In between the 18th century and now, we have archives that talk about the reach and influence of this most original and modern of cities. From the innovations of the locomotive engineers Beyer, Peacock & Co. to the musical hedonism of Factory (above, top) via the work of textile designers like Jacob Dimoldenberg and Jean Elizabeth Gregson (above, bottom) and electrical engineering pioneers Ferranti Ltd, we’ve got a slice of Manchester’s rich past waiting for you to explore.

4 comments on “Introducing… the Museum of Science and Industry Archives

  1. Dear Jan Hicks, I have recently found 2 books written by my grandfather dated 1946, they are about foundations of fabric structure. the other one titled Textile calculations simplified, dated 1954. Both are written by John H Strong F.T.I F.R.S.A. As they belonged to my grandfather I am not sure what to do with them as they are very technical, so I wonderd if you would be interested in them. hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Thanks for getting in touch. Your enquiry has been passed to the archive team and somebody will contact you soon. Our contact details can also be found by following the link in the highlighted text “waiting for you to explore” at the end of the article.

  2. Hi Jan,

    My Father worked at Ferranti in the 1960’s. I wondered if there would be anything about him in the archives. Who would I contact about discovering more?

    John

    1. Thanks for getting in touch. Your enquiry has been passed to the archive team and somebody will contact you soon. Our contact details can also be found by following the link in the highlighted text “waiting for you to explore” at the end of the article.

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