Collections at Royal Academy, Staffordshire Archives and English Folk Dance & Song Society become Designated

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 August 2011
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a Lowry painting showing thousands of matchstick figures heading towards a railway station
Station Approach by LS Lowry, 1962.© Courtesy the Royal Academy
A trio of “compelling” historic collections across the UK have been honoured as vital parts of the country’s culture by winning Designated status from Museums, Libraries and Archives Council judges.

Two London institutions have been highlighted as pre-eminent. The collections, library and archive at the Royal Academy of Arts was described as “a rich and complete historical record” of a “highly significant” venue.

The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, based at the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s Cecil Sharp House, was praised as being “central to the study of English oral traditions and customs.”

“We are absolutely thrilled with this recognition of the incomparable nature of the library and archive collections,” said Katy Spicer, the Chief Executive of the Society.

“It also recognises the hard work done by library staff and volunteers to maintain and enhance our unique heritage asset.”

a drawing of a pipe organ
A drawing of the organ at Lichfield cathedral from the Dean and Chapter papers at Lichfield Record Office.© Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service
The flagship award is perhaps most effective at raising the reputation of its recipients.

“It will enable us to continue expanding access to the library, and to work closely with other institutions in the UK and internationally,” explained Spicer.

“We can share expertise and widen our collective knowledge of the many varied cultural traditions of England and English-speaking nations."

Further north, the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service has also joined the scheme, supporting its efforts to help history fans in the region trace the origins of their families and homes.

The service runs offices in Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield, as well as an impressive online database and catalogue.

Sir Andrew Motion, the Chair of the MLA Council, said the authority was “delighted” to welcome its new nominees.

“Designation is only awarded to the most compelling cases, and we warmly congratulate these successful applicants on their achievement,” he added.

“The scheme is playing an increasingly vital role in helping the public to identify the very best collections across the country.”


The Designation Scheme transfers to Arts Council England in October and will continue to recognise important museums, libraries and archives across England. For further details of Designated collections and information on how to apply, visit their website.
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