Monday, 31 January 2011
On Friday the British Steel Archive Project celebrated its successful launch in Middlesbrough. The project was an ambitious scheme to catalogue and celebrate the heritage of the steel industry on Teeside, which is still very visible today. The project involved the development of close working partnerships between a variety of different stakeholders to create an ongoing and sustainable improvement to a collection that was sitting in uncatalogued boxes. Although this wasn't a Scottish project (though some of the companies involved did have long-standing roots in Scottish industry) the planning and execution of it were very impressive, and it should stand as a model of what can be achieved in the business archives sector.
Through basing the work at Teeside Archives, the project has improved and enhanced existing facilities (including a new website and CALM catalogue) and set in place a structure, including a volunteer and friends scheme, that will ensure the initial work on the collection can be carried through to completion. I was also impressed with the outreach work performed in schools across the area. Attendance and participation levels were also much greater than anticipated (almost double the initial estimates)
All of which would not have been possible without an initial assessment of the value of the collection by David Powell, the then BACS Surveying Officer, that allowed Dr Joan Heggie (the project leader) to successfully apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money. Congratulations to Dr Heggie and her team on the completion of an impressive and valuable business archives project.