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We are delighted to announce that the Library is the proud recipient of this year’s Business Archives Council Cataloguing Grant for business archives.

Readers of this blog may have seen some of our recent posts about the stories being revealed through the Guardian Archive’s Foreign Correspondence, the subject of a cataloguing project funded by the John Rylands Research Institute. Correspondence and dispatches like this make up a large part of the archive. However, there is also a comprehensive set of records relating to the Guardian as a business concern, and these records form the primary focus of our BAC-funded project.

Delivering the Manchester Guardian, from the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd

Delivering the Manchester Guardian, from the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

The Guardian archive is a rich source of information for a huge range of topics. As well as its obvious value for documenting the newspaper’s coverage of specific events and issues, the archive can also tell us about the people behind the headlines – whether that’s the editors, contributors, illustrators, journalists, compositors, cleaners, cooks or others. Our project aims to unlock this information about people by enhancing the descriptions of business records in the archive. There are a range of records which relate to people associated with the Guardian and its sister paper, the Manchester Evening News. These include bulky ledgers recording payments to contributors (sometimes the only source for identifying the writers of anonymously-published articles), staff lists, wage books, photographs and more. These records aren’t uniform, and can vary considerably in the usefulness of their content. It can therefore be a time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating, process to try and track down information about any particular individual.

One of the project’s outputs will be a handy online guide outlining how to use the archive to trace individuals associated with the Manchester Guardian (as it then was) and the Manchester Evening News. This will focus largely on the period from 1880 to the 1940s, which are the decades covered by the bulk of the records.

The Manchester Guardian and Evening News Advertisement Office on Cross Street in Manchester. Dated to 1948 based on the teams playing in the FA Cup Final! From the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

The Manchester Guardian and Evening News Advertisement Office on Cross Street in Manchester. Dated to 1948 based on the teams playing in the FA Cup Final! From the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

We also plan to digitise in its entirety the rather wonderful centenary photograph album featured in a previous blog post. This album was presented to the Guardian’s famous editor C.P. Scott in 1921, to mark both the 100th anniversary of the newspaper and the 50th anniversary of his editorship. It depicts almost 500 people who made up the Guardian workforce of the day, and every one of them is named. We will make the digitised album available via our image library LUNA, and it will be searchable by the name of each staff member represented in it.

Our new project will be running for six weeks from Monday 28 September, so watch this space for updates!

The Manchester Guardian newsroom, c. 1950s, from the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

The Manchester Guardian newsroom, c. 1950s, from the Guardian Archive. Image reproduced courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.