Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Accessing the archive through Manchester Central Library

As a charity archive we have many things to be grateful for. Firstly the fact that our ancestors have so lovingly preserved our records of old and passed them through the generations. There is a wealth of social history at our hands which contribute substantially both to the history of Manchester and to the history of childcare. We are also lucky that we have the means to continue to care for this collection today. Like many charities however, the Together Trust does not have the facilities to do this onsite. Archives need special conditions to ensure they are preserved for as long as possible. These include factors like stable temperatures and humidity, dust and pest free environments and protective packaging. Without these, archive materials can deteriorate at a faster rate, making access difficult.

Records storage

Since the 1970s our collection has been stored at Manchester Central Library, who now has brand new facilities for storing archival material. The charity consequently has a good working relationship with the library and has done various events and projects with them over the years. They are currently one of our heritage partners with our ‘Deep Pockets and Dirty Faces’ project. They also have parts of our material accessible through their interactive screens. As part of their ‘Health and Living Conditions’ display, the public can access information about the charity and its homes and see photographs taken from the charity’s archive collection. They can also view some admission pages from our orphan home books. 

Playing time at the Summer Camp
In the last week more information about the charity has been made publically available at Manchester Archives. These centre round the Summer Camp, which was first opened with a few tents, in 1883 in Morecambe. This became a permanent encampment in 1894 when the service moved to Birkdale. The service provided a holiday for poor city boys to get them out of the slums and into the fresh, healthy air of the seaside, for a weeks’ break. The new interactive display shows images of the camp, alongside letters from the archive and annual reports.

So if you find yourself at Manchester Central Library take a look at their interactive screens. You never know what you might find out.

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