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Business Archives: New Initiatives and Developments

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

If you're in the Kew area tomorrow (22 March) Alex Ritchie, the Business Archives Advice Manager at The National Archives, is giving a talk on Business Archives: New Initiatives and Developments at 2pm.

The talk will look at the background to company archives and the recent development of national strategies to promote business archives more widely. There will be an update on the current ABC survey, which seeks to identify the records of the architecture, building and construction sectors. The talk will also focus on individual projects under way to improve storage and access to the records of companies such as Marks & Spencer and Clarks Shoes.
Find out more here


Marks and Spencer Archive

Friday, 16 March 2012

Image from here
The new Michael Marks Building opens its doors to the public today, Friday 16th March. This building is the home of Marks and Spencer's Company Archive which has been relocated from London to the University of Leeds.  Read more about it in the University press release here and on the BBC here.

As well as a new building the archive have also created a wonderful new interactive website Marks in Time where you can find out about the company's history, its collections, events that they are holding and even share your memories of M&S.

Image from here
Best headline for the story comes from the SCA with 'this is not just an archive... this is a Marks and Spencer archive.'  The SCA along with The National Archives, the Archives and Records Association and the Business Archives Council all sent letters of congratulation to M&S on the new Company Archive.


Valuable lessons of the past

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Is the title of an article by Alisdair Northrop in the March 2012 issue of Scottish Business Insider.

It looks at why business history is relevant for today’s companies and explains that:
Scotland has an extraordinary business heritage. In the past the country was at the heart of the industrial revolution as a major player in many areas including ship building, textiles and locomotive manufacturing. Although much has changed it still has many world leading companies. But what can we learn from our past and are there more ways we can exploit our heritage? There is also a danger that some of the valuable archives of Scottish companies could be lost forever.
You can read the article online here or view a pdf version here. It features discussions and quotes from Archivist Lesley Richmond at the University of Glasgow, business historians Prof Ray Stokes from the Centre of Business History and Prof Charles Munn.


Year 2 Actions

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Implementation Group have published the Year 2 Action Plan for the National Strategy for Business Archives.

The action plan has pulled out those actions from the broader actions listed in the Strategy that we will work on this year.  They include:

  • More case studies
  • Plans for a 'meet the archivists' day
  • Improving links with insolvency practitioners to help preserve records at risk
  • Publishing the results of the Data Mapping Project
Read them here.


Network Rail opens up its collections

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Image from The Guardian
A great example of a business archive opening up its collections was unveiled last week with the wonderful new Virtual Archive website for Network Rail's collection of engineering drawings and plans.

The archive collection held by Network Rail has more than 5 million records dating back more than 300 years.

The site has categorised items by people, stations, companies, bridges & viaducts and tunnels.

Explore it here.


About This Blog

This blog will provide information about the development of a National Strategy for Business Archives in Scotland. It will also be used to provide general updates about Business Archives in Scotland.

This blog is written by Kiara King, the Ballast Trust archivist. Updates on the Data Mapping Project are written by Cheryl Brown, project officer.


The Business Archives Strategy for Scotland was published in August, read it here. Keep an eye on the blog for more news about business archives and the strategy's implementation.

You can also contact us at any time with thoughts and contribute your comments to the blog!

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions.

Kiara King (Ballast Trust Archivist)