Phillips of Hitchin archives – action week at the Brotherton

At long last, we have started to catalogue and clean the Phillips of Hitchin archives – the archives, as you know, have been very generously donated to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds by Jerome Phillips, the last owner of the world-famous antique dealers ‘Phillips of Hitchin’.  The business was established in the early 1880s, and remained at the Manor House, Hitchin since that time.

The archives will be a tremendous resource for scholars and researchers, but we have to get them catalogued and cleaned before we make them accessible – and that all takes time and funds!…We are making a start though, and this week The Brotherton Special Collections have devoted a whole week, and significant resources, to begin to clean and catalogue the extensive archives – there are at least 50 archive boxes to clean and catalogue…with thousands of individual items.

We have a team of archive specialists (including Sharon and Karen, the conservation and cataloguing experts) and a few eager volunteers working on the project – here are the volunteers (Yiwen, Pauline, Heather & Sue), working away, cleaning the materials –

archive action week 4

Archives Volunteers – L-R, Yiwen, Pauline, Heather and Sue.

As you can see, this is dangerous work!…the archives had been stored in a garage at The Manor House for decades, and require delicate cleaning and conservation – once this task is done, they are passed over to the cataloguers for basic level cataloguing – we are hoping for some funding for item level (i.e. individual letter/invoice/item) cataloguing…but at least we are making a start!

Even on this first day of cleaning and cataloguing the sheer quality of the Phillips of Hitchin archive is being revealed…and from these brown paper packages, treasures are emerging!

box 19 complete

Phillips of Hitchin Archive

 

packet corr 1960

A parcel of letters from the Phillips of Hitchin archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll update on progress and discoveries during this exciting ‘Archive Action Week’

Mark

 

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