Back to top
Back to top

2011 UK Memory of the World Register

On 23 May 2011 twenty items and collections became the second round of inscriptions to the UK Memory of the World Register, a list of documentary heritage which holds cultural significance specific to the UK.

Diaries of Anne Lister

Diaries of Anne Lister

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: West Yorkshire Archive Service

Further Info: West Yorkshire Archive Service website

This unique set of diaries (1806-1840) which run to four million words were written by Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire (1791-1840) a remarkable landowner, business woman, intrepid traveller, mountaineer and lesbian.

The diaries include a wealth of information about politics, business, estate management, religion, education and reading, science, medicine, travel, and local and national events, as this important area of Yorkshire experienced the rapid effects of the Industrial Revolution, seen from the viewpoint of an extremely well-educated and pioneering.  It is her comprehensive and painfully honest account of lesbian life and reflections on her nature, however, which have made these diaries unique.  They have shaped and continue to shape the direction of UK Gender Studies and Women’s History.

 

Cura Pastoralis of Gregory

Cura Pastoralis of Gregory

Type of heritage: Document
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Bodleian Library

Further Info: The Bodleian Library website

King Alfred’s translation from the Latin of Gregory’s Pastoral Care is a manuscript book, dating from around 890 and is claimed to be the earliest surviving book written entirely in the English language. It is the only surviving book which can be linked directly with King Alfred.

It is his translation from the Latin into Anglo-Saxon, of Pope Gregory’s earlier Pastoral Care and bears a unique and salutary preface about the decline of learning among his people, in the form of a letter from the King to Waerferth, Bishop of Worcester.  The book was prepared with great rhetorical sophistication at a crucial time in the nation’s political and cultural development as an instrument to consolidate learning and to forge national identity.  Alfred sent copies of his translation (prepared by professional scribes rather than written out by the King himself) to each of his bishops and it is supposed that he included with them an aestel, or pointer to follow text.  A famous jewelled example is one of the Ashmolean Museum’s great treasures.

 

The Gough Map

The Gough Map

Type of heritage: Document
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Bodleian Library

Further InfoThe Bodleian Library website

The Gough Map, dated to the fourteenth century, is the most important and most enigmatic cartographic representation of Great Britain from the medieval period. It is the earliest surviving route map of Britain, and the earliest surviving map depicting Britain with a recognisable coastline and depicts over six hundred towns and villages. Despite the wealth of information conveyed by the map, little is known of its creation, its purpose or its intended audience. The map’s allure has long attracted the attention of a broad range of interested parties, ranging from the academic community to genealogists.

There is no record of any similar medieval map at such scale or accuracy. Indeed, not only is the Gough Map the first map to show routes and distances, it is also the first to depict the coastline of Great Britain in a recognisable form. Though we know nothing of the map’s history before the late eighteenth century, it clearly became internationally influential in cartographic depictions of Britain in the early modern period, informing among others Sebastian Münster’s edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia (Basle, 1540) and Mercator’s Angliae, Scotiae & Hiberniae Nova Descriptio (Duisburg, 1540). The concept of marking such distances on a map was not to be repeated until Thomas Jenner’s 1671 map of Britain. In effect, once created, the Gough Map did not require updating for around 250 years.

 

Bank of Scotland Archives, 1695-2001

Bank of Scotland Archives, 1695-2001

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Lloyds Banking Group Archives

Further Info: Lloyds Banking Group website

The Bank of Scotland archive documents the changing fortunes of this unique Scottish institution, which for more than 300 years helped shape the fortunes of a nation. Founded by an Act of the old Scots Parliament, it was Scotland's very first bank.  Its early history was difficult, reflecting the turbulent economic conditions of the period.  But its business and influence grew, and 'the old Bank' went on to become the pre-eminent institution of its kind in Scotland, a position it retained right up until the early years of the 21st century.  From the very beginning, it had the support of many of Scotland's most influential figures.  John Hay, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale and Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, was the Bank's very first subscriber in 1695.  Henry Dundas, the 'Uncrowned King of Scotland', served as Governor of the Bank from 1790-1811.

Bank of Scotland also pioneered some of the key banking services we take for granted today.  In 1696, it issued its first banknotes and was the first bank in Europe to successfully issue a paper currency.  In the 1950s, the Bank was the first UK bank to develop computerised accounting systems.  And in the 1970s, it was at the forefront of financing the development of North Sea Oil.

 

Wakefield Court Rolls

Wakefield Court Rolls

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Yorkshire Archaeological Society

Further Info: Yorkshire Archaeological Society

Wakefield Court Rolls – The Wakefield court rolls are an almost complete series of manorial rolls documenting the business of the manor of Wakefield from 1274 to the abolition of manorial jurisdiction in 1925. The manor was one of the largest in England and covered not just Wakefield, but a huge area of the West Riding from Holmfirth to Halifax, Heptonstall, Dewsbury and Normanton. The court rolls are probably the longest and most complete set of English court rolls to survive.

The court rolls are an important source for local history and for legal, social and economic history in general. They touch on many themes including: law-keeping, commerce, taxation, debt, customs, the English legal system, agriculture, textile industry, food-production, climate change, social structure, industry, crime, poverty, landscape, inheritance, record-keeping, vernacular architecture, women's rights and population. The rolls' importance lies in the near-unique way in which they portray the activities of a strictly localised society over a very long and continuous period of time. In doing this they illustrate the changes in that society, in particular its transformation from a rural agricultural society into an industrial one.

 

Death Warrant of King Charles I, 1649

Death Warrant of King Charles I

Type of heritage: Document
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Parliamentary Archives

Further Info: The Parliamentary Archives website

The warrant for the execution of King Charles I is the most significant constitutional document held by the Parliamentary Archives and is perhaps the most dramatic of all records relating to English history. While some previous monarchs had met with premature and bloody deaths, none had been tried by a court set up by Parliament.

The Death Warrant contains the signatures and seals of 59 of the commissioners who tried Charles I, including that of Oliver Cromwell. The sentence was carried out on 30 January 1649 outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. This evocative document  therefore directly led to the execution of the King, the abolition of the monarchy, and the consequent establishment of a Republic to govern England for the only time in its history, between 1649-1660.

 

The Bill of Rights, 1689

The Bill of Rights

Type of heritage: Document
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Parliamentary Archives

Further InfoThe Parliamentary Archives website

The Bill of Rights 1689 is the closest document that the UK has to a written constitution. An Act of Parliament passed in December 1689, it is a watershed document in the history of the relationship between monarchy and Parliament. It firmly established the principles of frequent parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech within Parliament.  Its conditions include no right of taxation without Parliament's agreement, freedom from government interference, the right of petition and just treatment of people by courts. The original document is a handwritten parchment roll, stored in the historic archives of Parliament from its passage in 1689.

All the main principles of the Bill of Rights are still in force today, and the Bill of Rights continues to be cited in legal cases in the UK and in Commonwealth countries.  It has a primary place in a wider national historical narrative of documents which established the rights of Parliament and set out universal civil liberties, starting with Magna Carta in 1215. It also has international significance, as it was a model for the US Bill of Rights 1789, and its influence can be seen in other documents which establish rights of human beings, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

John Murray Archive

John Murray Archive

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: National Library of Scotland

Further Info: National Library of Scotland website

Over seven generations the London based John Murray publishing house maintained an unprecedented independence and built a reputation for publishing some of the greatest authors and most culturally significant works. From 1768 until the early twenty-first century the Murrays published almost every genre and format of literature.

This collection contains the business, literary and personal papers of the John Murray Publishing house, the eighteenth century Edinburgh publisher and bookseller Charles Elliot and the London publishing house of Smith, Elder and Company.  Within the collection are the papers of the poet Lord Byron, which include the majority of his manuscripts, correspondence, legal, financial and personal papers. Taken together these elements of the John Murray Archive represent an outstanding collection of rich and diverse literary, cultural and publishing documentary heritage.

Jersey Occupation Archive

Jersey Occupation Records

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Jersey Heritage

Further Info: Jersey Heritage website

The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied by Hitler’s German forces during the Second World War. The Jersey Occupation archive includes the Occupation Registration Cards, which form a pictorial census of the Islanders who were occupied.  Within the faces of the individuals who have been registered we see those who became local heroes such as Albert Bedane who hid a Jersey Jewish woman from the German Authorities and was honoured by the State of Israel as ‘Righteous Amongst the Nations’.

 

The customer account ledgers of Edward Backwell, 1663-1672

The customer account ledgers of Edward Backwell, 1663-1672

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Royal Bank of Scotland

Further Info: The Royal Bank of Scotland archives website

The ledgers of the goldsmith-banker Edward Backwell are uniquely significant in documenting the finances of Restoration England and the birth of modern banking. They provide the earliest detailed evidence of the scale and sophistication of England’s emerging banking system, and the role of the City of London as the leading centre for international trade and finance. Their pages also offer insights into the lives of thousands of individual clients, many of whom have their own historical significance.

Edward Backwell was one of a score of men who in the middle years of the seventeenth century laid the foundations of the modern banking system.  In common with most of the first generation of bankers, Backwell’s business life began with an apprenticeship to a goldsmith, but Backwell was one of the first to transfer his business focus almost entirely to banking. His ledgers are the earliest systematic set of banking records to survive in the United Kingdom, and are all the more important for being the records of one of the financial giants of his age. They predate the foundation of the Bank of England by over thirty years, yet show that banking was already fundamental to the City and the country’s economic life.

 

Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS Collections, 1983-2010

Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS Collections, 1983-2010

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Lothian Health Services Archive

Further Info: Lothian Health Services Archive

Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS Collections (1983-2010) chart the unprecedented rise of HIV and AIDS in Edinburgh and Lothian. They document the medical and social responses to the disease at a local level combining the records of NHS Lothian, local government, charities and campaign groups. The collections contain management, operational, administrative and policy papers; publicity, educational and promotional material (including papers of the ground‐breaking, and at times controversial, ‘Take Care’ campaign); and grey literature.

Edinburgh was at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS.  In 1988, compared with the rest of the UK, levels of HIV infection in Lothian were over four times the national average.  Local policy response in Edinburgh went on to influence national policy decisions.  For example, the Tayler Report, commissioned by the Scottish Home and Health Department and published in May 1987, made around 50 recommendations covering a wide range of aspects relating to HIV/AIDS.  It drew much of its evidence from Edinburgh’s experience and initiatives with respect to the care and treatment of AIDS sufferers.

 

The narrative created through Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s photography and Amber’s films

The narrative created through Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s photography and Amber’s films

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Amber Collective

Further Info: The Amber Collective website

The Amber film & photography collective has been based in the North East of England since 1969, with a self-determined remit to record working-class and marginalised lives in its region. Forty years of photography by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s and of films by the collective capture the epic locations of shipbuilding and coal and the life of communities – from the terraced streets of Byker to the flawed and visionary Byker Wall Estate and across the North East. Between 1969 and 2009, a period of immense social change in the North East of England, Konttinen and Amber Films created a series of works of remarkable quality and depth exploring a huge shift in popular culture. A heartland in the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the region has had to adjust rapidly to a post-industrial reality. Konttinen and Amber’s work captures the experience from the epic locations of shipbuilding and coal to the forgotten drift mines and brickworks. Crucially the work captures it in the communities – from the terraced streets of Byker to the flawed and visionary Byker Wall Estate that replaced it; Travelling communities, fishing communities, mining communities; the texture of people’s lives; particular experiences that speak to the wider world.

 

Winchester Pipe Rolls

Winchester Pipe Rolls

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Hampshire Record Office, run by Hampshire County Council

Further Info: Hampshire Record Office website

The Winchester Pipe Rolls are the most complete set of manorial accounts still surviving.  Starting in 1208-9 they continue almost unbroken to 1710-11 and record income and expenditure across the Bishop of Winchester’s estates in the most minute detail. Spanning 502 years of English history from King John to Queen Anne, representing around 15,000 separate manorial accounts they are a source not only for the economic, social and agrarian history of southern England, but also for political and building history.

In late Saxon times Winchester was the ecclesiastical centre of the kingdom of Wessex and the bishopric became the wealthiest in England. The bishops of Winchester ranked among the most senior bishops in England during the medieval period and beyond, and possessed vast landed wealth on a princely scale. Their widespread estates reached through seven counties in the south of England from Surrey to Somerset, and from the Isle of Wight to Oxfordshire, and included over 60 manors, just half of these in Hampshire. The income from these estates made the diocese the wealthiest in England in the medieval period.

 

The medieval records of St Giles’s Hospital, Norwich

The medieval records of St Giles’s Hospital, Norwich

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: Norfolk Record Office

Further Info: Norfolk Record Office webpage

The medieval records of St Giles’s Hospital at Norwich (known the ‘Great Hospital’), founded c. 1249, have no rival anywhere in the country.  They are the fullest and by far the most important set of British medieval hospital records to survive the English Reformation.

There were over 1,300 hospitals in medieval England, almost all of which were destroyed, with their records, at the Reformation. The Great Hospital was one of very few which survived. On Henry VIII’s death in 1547, it was surrendered to the new Protestant monarch, Edward VI. The Norwich city fathers, however, were sufficiently astute in recognizing the important role which the Hospital might play in caring for the city's poor (who now posed a serious social problem). Edward VI succumbed to local pressure and returned the ownership of the Hospital and all its possessions, land and property to the corporation, which then used it to priorities charitable work in the community.

The hospital’s records provide evidence for a wide range of subjects. They fully document the acquisition and management of the extensive estates which belonged to the Hospital, the management of the Hospital itself, even down to the level of purveyance of daily supplies of food and drink, as well as the physical and spiritual care of the poor and sick. They cover a wide spectrum of society over many centuries, including the very rich (as patrons), people of more modest means (as smaller donors), and the clients, both resident and non-resident, who were mainly the poor and infirm, including the disabled, the homeless and the elderly. They are essential for the study of medieval attitudes towards piety, and the spiritual needs and wellbeing of an urban population in the middle ages.

 

Peter Worden Collection of Mitchell and Kenyon films


Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: British Film Institute National Archive

Further Info: British Film Institute National Archive

The Mitchell and Kenyon collection is generally recognised as the most exciting film discovery of recent times in Britain. This extraordinary actuality footage is a vivid and unparalleled social record of early 20th-century British life - ordinary people in everyday situations. The geographical spread of the material encompasses Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Scotland, Ireland, the North East, Bristol and North Wales. It is a unique composite document relating to a single, regional company and in many senses is of comparable significance to the Lumiere and Gaumont archives in France and the Edison material in the USA.

The films of Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon were commissioned by travelling exhibitors at the dawn of the twentieth century for screening in fairgrounds, town halls and other local venues. Advertised as 'local films for local people': audiences paid to see their neighbours, children, family and themselves on the screen, glimpsed at local football matches, leaving work, marching in civic processions or enjoying the annual works holidays.

Abandoned for many decades in two large barrels following the winding-up of the firm, 826 camera original negatives were discovered in Blackburn in the early 1990s and acquired and restored by the BFI to provide a unique visual insight into lives at the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

GPO Film Unit collection, 1933-1940

GPO Film Unit collection

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: British Postal Museum & Archive, BT Heritage and British Film Institute (BFI)

Further Info: The British Postal Museum & Archive website, BFI website and BT Heritage website

The pioneering GPO Film Unit represents the start of what is now widely regarded as the beginnings of the British Documentary Movement and the first self-conscious attempt to create a British national cinema. The unit lasted for just seven years yet its films set the trend for generations that followed and its impact spread the world over. Its iconic films have proved to have an ever-lasting popularity and appeal that hasn't dwindled in over 75 years. The operation and uniqueness of the unit itself has become legendary for providing opportunity and apprenticeships for some of the twentieth century’s most distinctive technicians, artists, designers, poets, musicians and writers.

Headed first by John Grierson (1898-1972) and then by Alberto Cavalcanti (1897-1982), the GPO Film Unit produced one of the finest British collections of documentary, public information, animation and industrial film ever to come from a single UK source. The most well known and lauded film of the GPO Film Unit is Night Mail (1936) but the sheer breadth and style of films created in this short period of time is what makes the collection important as a whole. Covering subjects ranging across transport and communications in Britain and abroad; the home front during the Second World War, British industries, from fishing to mining, the nation's health, and developments in the General Post Office service itself – providing us with a fascinating insight into 1930s Britain. The Unit remained in existence throughout the 1930s and survived into the early years of the Second World War, when it became the Crown Film Unit.

 

The Wedgwood Museum archive

The Wedgwood Museum archive

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Wedgwood Museum

Further Info: The Wedgwood Museum website

The Wedgwood Museum Archive Collection is one of the most complete ceramic manufacturing archives in existence. The collection also embraces all aspects of industry, marketing, productions, fashion, taste, topical political and social contexts including celebrated people from the Darwin family, artists and writers, through to contemporary politicians and industrialists, including members of the Lunar Society and other influential scientists as well as analysis of a broader range of topics. Unparalleled in its diversity and breadth the 80,000 plus documents embrace every imaginable subject from pot to people, transport to trade, society and social conditions.

 

Documentary Heritage of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain, 1865-1928

Documentary Heritage of the Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain 1865-1928

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Women's Library and The Parliamentary Archive

Further Info: The Women's Library website and The Parliamentary Archives website

This selection of eight items tell the story of the women’s suffrage movement from the 1860s to the achievement of suffrage in 1928. The documents begin with the 1866 Petition which enabled John Stuart Mills to be the first person in Parliament to call for women’s suffrage; and ends with the success of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act of 1928 and a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister to the leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, Millicent Fawcett.

This sample of documents represents the extensive women’s suffrage movement in Britain, and Parliament’s response to this, and seeks to epitomise a movement that continues to excite the public imagination and generate academic debate among historians of suffrage, feminism and British political life. This select group of items has been chosen to create a narrative of this movement, an inheritance that ‘keeps alive the history of [women’s] long march to equality, which is so often forgotten or ignored’ (Mary Stott).

BT Research Centre collection, 1878-1995

BT Research Centre collection

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: BT Heritage

Further Info: BT Heritage website

The Post Office / BT research reports and memoranda document over a century of the achievements of British telecommunications engineers and scientists in pushing the boundaries of communications technology. Advances in thermionic valves, transistors, radio communications, television broadcasting and transmission, satellite technology, digital transmission, optical fibres, lasers, integrated circuits, videoconferencing, videophones, research into early wideband/broadband technologies such as radio waveguide are only some of the subjects covered by the research reports and memoranda.

 

The Children’s Society Archive

The Children’s Society Archive

Type of heritage: Collection
Date of inscription: 2011
Nominating institution: The Children’s Society

Further Info: The Children's Society website; Hidden Lives Archive

The Children’s Society Archive charts the development of child care practice and policy from the Victorian period onwards. The estimated 140,000 case files for individual children assisted by the organization contain unique information about the history and practice of childcare, behavioural and mental health issues, the diseases of poverty, nutrition, and children’s mental and physical development in Victorian and Edwardian times, as well as long-term growth and change in our country’s and our charity’s response, covering the pre-Welfare State philanthropic and medical responses to poverty, disease and disability. The Archive also gives a unique perspective on Victorian and Edwardian childhood and contributes to the history of childhood.

The Children’s Society is a UK national children’s charity that has been providing childcare, medical and pastoral care for children, young people and families since 1881 through residential children’s homes, therapeutic interventions specifically to help diabetic, tubercular and other disabled children, as well as fostering and adoption.



Back to top

Regional and accessibility