Plantation workers, taken in 1904. © Crown Copyright 2007, the National Archives of Scotland
The Archive Awareness Campaign 2007 has been launched to draw attention to the nation’s archives and to celebrate the history of human rights in the UK.
Hundreds of archives are planning special events during 2007 focusing on the campaign theme Freedom and Liberty, looking at the struggle for rights in history, including movements like the Chartists, the Suffragettes and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
The campaign has been organised by the National Council on Archives and funded by The National Archives and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Gay Liberation Front poster from 1971, held in the LSE as part of the Hall-Carpenter Archives of lesbian and gay activism. © London School of Economics
“The Archives Awareness Campaign offers something for everyone and gives people a unique chance to play detective and reinterpret the past themselves,” said Jonathan Pepler, Chairman of the National Council on Archives.
“This year archives will explore the more hidden history of the UK and are highlighting documents which haven’t been as visible in the past. Almost every region has a connection to the slave trade, for example, and your local record office is the place to find it.”
Archives have teamed up with artists, theatre and community groups to help make their material more fun and accessible.
Janet Arthur, alias Fanny Parker, Suffragette prisoner. © Crown Copyright 2007, the National Archives of Scotland
Events include 1967 And All That, a travelling exhibition telling the story of the decriminalization of homosexuality, Hertfordshire Archives’ Hidden History Workshops and London Metropolitan Archives’ Slave Walks.
Special websites have also been developed offering access to newly digitised material, including The National Archives’ Human Rights online exhibition and the Parliamentary Archives slave trade records.
Recovered Histories provides more insights into the transatlantic slave trade, containing more than 40,000 digitised pages of literature on the trade.
Dundee Chartists poster, taken from Crown Office precognitions 1844. © Crown Copyright 2007, the National Archives of Scotland
There are almost 2,000 archives in the UK and more than two million people in England visit an archive at least once a year. Use of archives has doubled over the past 10 years and local authority archives alone in England and Wales contain more than 30,000 cubic metres of information.
For more information and details of all the events see the Archive Awareness Campaign website.