Digitisation of selected archives begins at the Record Office

Following a delay caused by some teething problems with the collection management software and the County Council’s firewall, I’m pleased to report that the digitisation of Record Office material is now underway. We’ve started with items for the ‘Social Life of the Factory’ OER, which centres on Corah, the former Leicester hosiery manufacturing business.

I was aware that some records had been deposited in the Record Office on the closure of the business, but that only a small quantity had survived – six shelves of documents is not much to show for one of Leicester’s most significant businesses, established in the early 19th century. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the range of material which has been available to select for use in the project. The collection is not yet catalogued, so it became a voyage of discovery through this untapped resource, as I stood on a ladder in the strongroom, opening up some 30 or so boxes. The next day, Professor Simon Gunn was able to choose records to digitise, ranging from staff and factory photographs and handbooks to company minutes, reports and brochures. These could be supplemented by council building plans, Ordnance Survey maps and a selection of company magazines – it was especially pleasing to find that our library contains an almost complete set of wonderfully detailed Corah magazines from 1949 to 1986.

It seems very topical, in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the recent Royal Visit to Leicester, that one of the first items to be digitised is this special edition of ‘Encore News’ from 1958:

Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland

The Record Office is delighted to be part of this project which will provide better access, for academic and local history researchers alike, to a wide range of under-exploited business archives. The digitisation of Corah material is expected to be completed by the end of April and will be closely followed by items for the ‘Conservation and Regeneration’ OER, based on the Liberty Shoe Works.

Adam Goodwin, Archivist, Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.

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