The History of our Digitisation Grant
On 27th June 2016 a new and exciting announcement went out to TWA’s mailing list. Together Paul Sugden, Managing Director at TWA, John Chambers, Chief Executive of the Archives and Records Association and Claire Adler, Heritage Fund Appointed Mentor and Independent Heritage Consultant had identified a real financial need in relation to the accessibility of archive collections. A new TWA Digitisation Grant was in the making.
The 2016 grant totalled £5000 and was divided between a primary grant of £4000 and a secondary grant of £1,000, available to those archives, libraries, museums and galleries looking to digitise cultural heritage collections.
£1000 Secondary Grant winner – Blackpool Culture & CommunitiesHigh Flying Stars: Digitising the Tower Circus Posters
This project focused on the digitisation of the ‘High Flying Stars’ Circus collection within the Blackpool Tower archive, consisting of posters, photographs and programmes dating back to 1894. This provided access opportunities for schools and the public and research opportunities and support for the Blackpool Museum project. This project also provided resources for the 250th anniversary of the circus, engaging the circus community and capturing their experiences and stories.Visit the Heritage Blackpool
£4000 Primary Grant winner – Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regimental MuseumRegimental Museum Redevelopment
This project was a critical step in perpetuating the memory of the Regiment and saw the digitisation of photographs, diaries, regimental magazines, and personal papers, as well as a substantial collection of military artefacts. The aim of this project was to provide central documentation and global availability of the collection in order to engage consultancy. The project included scanning, online publishing, transcription of metadata and metadata capture via OCR.Visit The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
Our 2016 Judges:
The year 2017 saw the return of two main grants, supporting cultural heritage through digitisation, but this time the total was raised to £7000 with a Secondary award of £2000 and a Primary award of £5000. In addition, match funding of £500 was offered to all shortlisted applicants.
£2000 Secondary Grant winner – Birmingham Museums TrustBirmingham Historic Trade Document Digitisation project
This project focused on the digitisation and data capture of archives relating to Birmingham’s history of trade and manufacturing, and saw the digitisation of a selection of archival material, to include trade catalogues, advertisements, correspondence and other documents offering a unique insight into the city’s history. The aim of the project was to protect this content from deteriorating further and it formed part of a wider Arts Council England project.Visit Birmingham Museums Trust
£5000 Primary Grant winner – Dorset History CentreSaving the Graham Herbert Collection
This project saw the digitisation of the Dorset History Centre’s Herbert Collection consisting of over 7,000 packets of photographic negatives documenting the social history of Weymouth between 1953 and 1983. The collection was deteriorating due to vinegar syndrome and without intervention it was at risk of being lost. The institution had ambitious plans to make this collection both accessible and discoverable to the local community, making it a clear winner for our judges.Visit Dorset History Centre
We are delighted to have been awarded the funding from TWA to save the Herbert collection from being lost due to the irreversible deterioration of the negatives. We look forward to continuing to share the fantastic images of our recent past in outreach activities with a wide range of people
In 2018, for the third year running, the TWA digitisation grant returned with two main grants totalling £7000, divided into a Secondary award of £2000 and a Primary award of £5000. Again, match funding of £500 was offered to all shortlisted applicants.
£2000 Secondary Grant winner – The Royal Mint MuseumDigitising the Waterloo Medal Roll
The Royal Mint Museum project saw the digitisation of the bound handwritten medal roll, listing the names of all those who were awarded the campaign medal for taking part in the Battle of Waterloo and which formed a significant part of their collection. Their intention was to transcribe each of the 41,920 entries to create an interactive and searchable digital version of the roll to be added to the Royal Mint Museum website and their Royal Mint Experience exhibition.Visit The Royal Mint Museum
£5000 Primary Grant winner – Bexley Archive and Local Studies CentreKentish Times negatives digitisation
This project sought to digitise a large proportion of photographic negatives from Bexley Archive’s Kentish Times Newspapers collection. It focused on the digitisation of 15,000 unique negatives, featuring photographs taken between 1964-98. The intention was to eventually make the collection digitally accessible via interactive terminals located in the Local Studies and Archive Centre.Visit Bexley Archive and Local Studies Centre
The 2019 TWA digitisation grant brought an increase in the total sum awarded to £9000, divided into a Secondary award of £3000 and a Primary award of £6000. Again, match funding of £500 was offered to all shortlisted applicants.
Top Tips from our Judges
To support the writing of those all-important grant applications, our three judges, Claire Adler, John Chambers and Paul Sugden, offer their advice on how to demonstrate heritage need, social/community impact, and research impact.Learn More
£3000 Secondary Grant winner – Alpine Club LibraryDigitising Alpine Club Library Official Papers
For this winning project, the Alpine Club Library were looking to enhance their catalogue entries relating to official club papers. Their collection involved entirely unique material, offering a rare insight into early mountaineering and the developments throughout the twentieth century. They were keen to digitise this aspect of the collection in order to make it available online to help support research into this fascinating area.Visit Alpine Club
£6000 Primary Grant winner – National Brewery Heritage TrustDigitising Brewing Industry Related Archives and Artefacts
The National Brewery Heritage Trust applied for the TWA grant in respect of their brewing industry related archives and artefacts, consisting of around 500,000 items and spanning over 250 years. The Trust were seeking to digitise this content in order to protect and preserve their unique archives for the benefit of future generations, making this material visible and accessible to the public through an online digital catalogue.Visit National Brewery Heritage Trust
On 23rd March 2019 the UK Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, announced the first in what was to become a series of lockdowns throughout the proceeding twenty-eight months. Doors closed on any ‘non-essential’ businesses, putting a stop to the ordinary day-to-day workings that the UK population had become accustomed to. This had devastating effects on UK industry. Remotely, TWA set about considering what measures could be taken to best support the heritage sector.
2020 saw a number of COVID-19 related adjustments to the TWA grant as a result of the significant impact the pandemic was having on the heritage industry. The grant was opened early to give people plenty of time to apply and the total fund available was divided into three equal awards of £3000 each. Again, all shortlisted applicants were offered £500 of match funding.
Introducing Jo Blyghton
After four years of dedicated service to the TWA Digitisation Grant , to include valuable time and attention and professional insight and opinion, Claire Adler stepped down to pursue other commitments. We welcomed Jo Blyghton, Archive Consultant, onto the panel where she quickly became a familiar and valuable member, using her industry experience to impart practical advice for the completion of the grant application, collaborating in the identification of our winning organisations.
Corinthian Casuals F.C.
This project concerned the digitisation of Corinthian-Casuals Football Club’s unique 19th Century collection of matchday programmes and newsletters, documenting the club’s football history. The intention was to protect and celebrate developments in football. Digitising the collection was an important step towards getting this archive online for the benefit of historians, journalists, club committee members and the wider public.
As the largest cathedral in the UK, and one of the largest in the world, Liverpool Cathedral holds over 1,000 of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s work, the designer of the magnificent structure, consisting of A1 and A0 loose drawings and blueprints dating back to 1901. Digitisation would not only preserve this historical material but make it available to view online and also to the visiting public, whilst opening up wider opportunities for formal partnerships.
Merton Heritage & Local Studies Centre
Merton Heritage & Local Studies Centre hold a wonderful photographic collection depicting post war through to the 20th Century. Consisting of approximately 5000 prints, ranging from small Box Brownie snaps to card mounted photos and wide class photos, as well as around 2000 colour slides and negatives, digitisation would not only protect this archive but also make it available for the first time via the Merton Memories website, eventually forming a variety of resources and educational packs.
We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded one of the three Townsweb Grants for 2020. Gaining this grant means that we are able to digitise Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original and priceless drawings showing his designs for Liverpool Cathedral. This will enable us to keep them safe for future generations… we are incredibly excited to start work with Townsweb and we look forward to seeing our important collection online for all to enjoy.
As the UK dared to see a glimmer of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, there was much reflection to be considered on how best to move forward. This resulted in the decision to put the TWA Digitisation Grant on hold in order to take stock and, once again, evolve in ways that would see an even greater impact for our future winners. While the specifics are yet to be announced, there is every intention for the grant to return in the Spring/Summer of 2022; bigger and better than it has ever been before.
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