Following on from my first and second blog posts, these registered designs for ‘straw plaits’ demonstrate how the image capture and processing technique of Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) enables detailed examination of finely textured surfaces. This fosters appreciation of the exquisite quality of the ‘plaiting’ and also demonstrates the richness of the BT Design Register as a resource for understanding the history and technology of the straw hat industry.
Research at The National Archives is going from strength to strength! We have more good news to report as The Thames Consortium, comprised of The National Maritime Museum, The National Portrait Gallery and The National Archives has been awarded six Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) per year for the next three years to support doctoral students.
The CDP studentships are distributed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to sustain and promote high-quality research and skills in the sector. Maintaining the skills base in the arts and humanities is vital, and The National Archives will now be able to extend more opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and training. We are really pleased to be involved and are thrilled that students will have access to a museum, an art gallery and an archive through which to explore their themes.
Inspired by the likes of the Great British Bake Off, I have for some time wanted to look in to recipes within The National Archives and what they can tell us, and so took the opportunity for my blog post this week.
The wonderful thing about taking a topic such as ‘recipes’ or ‘food’ as a theme in archival research, is that it cuts across many series, subjects and people.
On 6 March I attended the award-winning Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) delivered in partnership with the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC). The trainers Ed Pinsent and Patricia Sleeman, digital archivists at ULCC, were both extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
As a newcomer to the digital preservation field at The National Archives, with a background of record advice/research and more recently IT, I was looking to gain a solid grounding and fundamental understanding of what digital preservation is and how it applies here. I also wanted to know what other institutions are doing to confront this challenge. There were people from various companies, organisations (big and small), backgrounds and professions from librarians to IT developers. This demonstrates how increasingly important digital preservation is becoming to many people.
This is a brief blog post about what I found most useful during the course and will hopefully make clearer to you what digital preservation is and how it all works.
Following the positive feedback from my first post, here are two further designs represented using Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM), including one application of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). These designs were chosen in order to explore the effects of this image capture and processing technique on shiny surfaces: a ‘gilded’ and embossed envelope showing the Crystal Palace, and knitted silk gloves with ‘floss’ silk tassels. Continue reading »
Looking for a picture of Santa in a kayak or cats taking part in a wheelbarrow race? Well, you may be surprised to learn you have come to the right place. If you have more serious pursuits, you can also get your hands on manuscripts such as a copy of the earliest printed document, pages from the Magna Carta or 18th century plans for parliament.
It’s a pleasure today to wish a happy centenary to Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service which – as Bedfordshire Record Office – was the first ever county record office to be founded in Britain, in 1913. As any archive student knows, this foundation was the start of a network of county-based archive services which came to form the backbone of local archive provision in the UK.
…Except any archive student also knows, it’s a bit more complicated than that!
By 1913, there were already many local institutions deeply involved in preserving local records. Some were within local authorities themselves – the clerks of the peace and those who cared for city and borough muniments. Local public libraries collected important historical documents. And in some areas, antiquarian, archaeological and records societies were providing a third sector solution, collecting and preserving their local history through voluntary effort. 1 The solution that Bedfordshire adopted, of a county records committee which evolved into a record office run by the County Council, was by no means the only solution. (Hertfordshire actually got there first with the records committee model, though they don’t claim to have had the same unbroken institutional history.)
- 1. This is a very brief summary of the analysis made by Elizabeth Shepherd in her Archives and Archivists in 20th Century England (Ashgate: 2009), pp 95-102. ^
I was quite pleased when I was given the opportunity to contribute a post to the ‘My Tommy’s War’ series as it gave me a a great excuse to resume some research my family started a decade ago.
I’m not sure when I first found out that my Great Granddad King, my mum’s paternal grandfather, was killed in the First World War. It’s one of those things that it feels like I’ve always known. I remember taking his medals in to primary school to show the class when we were studying the world wars. As a child I felt sad that my lovely grandad, who was just six years old when his father died, had never really known his father. Some years later my mum showed me a precious album of photographs of the King side of the family which featured the photograph on the left. It shows my great grandparents with their three sons. My granddad, the youngest, is on the right. We think it was taken shortly before great-granddad went overseas and I think you can see the fear and worry in their faces. My mum had learned some details of her granddad’s story from her grandmother. She knew that before the war he worked as a bus conductor and was involved with the Labour Party. She also knew that he was injured while serving abroad and that her grandmother had visited him in hospital in the UK before he died. We were keen to try and find out more. This is the story of how we, two amateur family historians, researched our Tommy’s war.
The vast collection of The National Archives includes nearly 3 million ‘ornamental’ and ‘useful’ designs, registered by the Board of Trade Representations and Registers of Designs, between 1839 and 1991. The BT Design Register, as it is commonly known, aimed to foster design innovation; put simply, registration gave copyright protection to the designs.
Many classes of materials and products were registered, including metal, wood, glass, earthenware, paper hangings (wall paper), carpets, and six classes of textiles including shawls and lace. The representations of the designs take many forms: drawings, tracings, photographs, small samples of the products, as well as whole artefacts, e.g. embossed envelopes, straw bonnets, collars, gloves and printed cotton handkerchiefs.