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News: Archive for 2015

Scotland and Japan make whisky history

A fusion of malt whiskies, the first commercial product to combine spirits from Scotland and Japan, has just been launched simultaneously in Aberdeen and Tokyo. The Glover is named after and inspired by the Scottish industrialist Thomas Blake Glover (1838-1911). Glover played a huge role in Japans economic development, introducing shipyards, coal mines and brewing. His legacy survives today in the form of the Mitsubishi Corporation and Kirin beer. So, even as they make history, the blenders of The Glover are acknowledging history as the source of their inspiration. For more information, follow the link below.

Posted on: Sunday, 15th November 2015
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Short film about Peckham Rye tailors

Peckham Rye, the London tailors have produced a short film about their history. The family owned business started in 1795 has carried on through six generations. Take a look at the film:

Posted on: Tuesday, 3rd November 2015
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Family business celebrates 500th anniversary

Britains oldest family business has just celebrated the anniversary of its foundation in 1515. The Bridport butchers RJ Balson & Son Ltd began trading in the reign of Henry VIII. Trading conditions and customer demands have changed, of course, but the business continues to thrive based on the quality of its service and the personal relationship with its customers. Follow the link below for the full story.

Posted on: Tuesday, 6th October 2015
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Nestlé UK & Ireland Archive Reminiscence Pack

The Nestlé UK & Ireland Archive have put together a reminiscence pack that uses some of the most beautiful items from the archive to create a versatile, varied sensory experience. This initiative was in response to a large number of enquiries from carers and reminiscence groups who wanted historical packaging to help prompt happy memories among patients diagnosed with dementia, or memory problems.

The history pack can be downloaded and printed from the archive's website - Find out more.

Posted on: Thursday, 27th August 2015
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Creating the best business archive: conference papers

The International Council on Archives, Section on Business Archives recently held its annual conference in Milan on the theme of creating the best business archive. The presentations from the conference are now available on the ICA website. Follow the link below

Posted on: Thursday, 23rd July 2015
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Anatomy of a Merger: The Archives of GEC Traction

Anatomy of a Merger: The Archives of GEC Traction is a new archive project at the National Railway Museum in York. It has been funded by The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme.

The GEC Traction Archive is the largest collection at the National Railway Museum consisting of 1571 boxes of records and four filing cabinets of glass slides and microfilm. The project began in February this year and will continue until September 2016.

For updates on the project take a look at the NRM blog:

Posted on: Tuesday, 14th July 2015
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Mad Men features classic Coca-Cola commercial

For the final episode of the American television series Mad Men, which recently aired in the UK, the writers used one of the most celebrated adverts of all time. The fictional Don Draper could not possibly have bettered the impact of Coca-Colas Hilltop commercial, so it was a great idea just to borrow it. Hilltop quickly became a legend and the story behind it is recounted by Coca-Cola archivist Ted Ryan in the following blog

Posted on: Tuesday, 30th June 2015
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M&S Company Archives shortlisted

The M&S Company Archive has been shortlisted for the public vote as part of Museums at Night.

The natonwide competition will provide the winner with the opportunity to work with artist Alinah Azadeh at an event in October 2015.

Find out more about the competition.

Posted on: Saturday, 23rd May 2015
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Westland Centenary

Throughout 2015 AgustaWestland will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of aircraft production. The Westland Aircraft Works of engine manufacturers Petters Ltd came into being in response to the demands of the First World War. In 1935 the works gave its name to Westland Aircraft Ltd, which became a celebrated name in aircraft manufacture. While the business has changed over time and continues to evolve, it remains based at the Yeovil site where it was established in 1915.

Follow the link to learn more about Westland100.

Posted on: Friday, 8th May 2015
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Cunard celebrates 175 years

This year the iconic ships of Cunard will have been sailing the oceans of the world for 175 years, making it one of the longest serving names in shipping history. Celebrations will be held on every cruise during 2015. Take a look at the website:

The anniversary is also being marked by the University of Liverpool Special Collections and Archives which holds the Cunard Archives. This includes a learning resource and an exhibition. Find out more on their website:

Posted on: Thursday, 7th May 2015
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400 years of Grolsch

The origins of the famous Dutch beer go back to 1615 when it was first brewed in Grolle (now Groenlo), and from which its name was derived. Today, Grolsch is brewed in Enschede and the brand is part of the SABMiller Group. To mark its 400th anniversary Grolsch has commissioned 400 original artworks, inspired by their distinctive swingtop bottle. For more on this initiative, visit the Canvas by Grolsch website.

Posted on: Saturday, 2nd May 2015
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Public talk on Roche factory in Welwyn

When the Swiss pharmaceutical company F Hoffmann-La Roche moved its British operations from London to Welwyn Garden City in the nineteen-thirties, they commissioned the architect Otto Salvisberg to design the new building. It remains the only example of Salvisbergs architecture in the UK. Now Alexander Bieri, Curator of the Roche Historical Collection and Archive in Basel, has been invited to speak in Welwyn about the building and its architect, drawing on the resources of the companys archives. For further details follow the link below.

Posted on: Friday, 1st May 2015
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ICA Section for Business Archives 2015 conference - book now

The International Council for Archives, Section for Business Archives will be holding its 2015 conference in Milan at the location of the 2015 Expo from 15-16 June. Creating the Best Business Archives: Achieving a Good Return on Investment will cover a range of topics from advocacy with senior management, to business archive community involvement and digital curation.

Visit the ICA website to find out more including how to book.

Posted on: Wednesday, 29th April 2015
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Minton Archive saved

One of the great archives of industrial Britain has been saved with help from the Arts Fund. The ceramics company, Minton's Ltd was founded in 1793 by Thomas Minton and operated into the 1990s. The Archive includes thousands of items including original designs, drawings and pattern books. As well as the records of Minton, the collection also includes items from Royal Doulton and other companies taken over by Royal Doulton over the course of the 20th century.

The Archive will be managed and made publicly accessible by Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council Joint Archives Service.

Follow the link for more information:

Posted on: Thursday, 9th April 2015
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100 years of the Coca-Cola bottle

Although Coca-Cola had its origins in an Atlanta pharmacy in 1886, it was not until 1915 that the classic glass bottle was introduced. By that time, the success of the soft drink had generated many imitators. The specially commissioned design was an attempt to differentiate the product from copycats and to reinforce the brand. In which task Coca-Cola have undoubtedly been successful.

Follow this link to see how the company is celebrating the centenary and for more about Coca-Colas history and heritage.

Posted on: Thursday, 9th April 2015
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Unilever Archives launches online catalogue

Based at Unilevers premises in Port Sunlight, Unilever Archives preserve and provide access to the companys rich historical records. Unilever was formed in 1930 by the merger of Lever Brothers Ltd and the Dutch-based Margarine Union. Among the collections there is material for businesses such as the United Africa Company, Colmans, Walls and Lipton, and brands such as Persil, Pears, Lux, PG Tips and Marmite.

Now, for the first time, external researchers will have access to over 71,000 online descriptions of the records in the collection. Work continues to expand the available descriptions. To begin exploring Unilevers archives, please click on the link below.

Posted on: Wednesday, 18th March 2015
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Barclays history goes online

Barclays Group Archives have launched a new resource, making thousands of items from the archives freely available online. These include branch photographs, advertising material, annual reports and a selection of other weird and wonderful items amassed over the years. The website also includes a wealth of information on Barclays history around the world, and will be of interest to serious scholars, casual browsers and Barclays employees alike.

Based in Manchester, the Barclays archive has been accessible to visitors, by appointment, for the last 25 years. This initiative brings the collection to a worldwide audience for the first time, opening up a treasure trove of history.

The Barclays Group Archive website can be seen at

Posted on: Friday, 6th March 2015
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Conserving canal records

The National Archives is richly endowed with transport records, especially for railways and canals. However, like many of the other records in their care, these sometimes require conservation. A recent blog on The National Archives website offers a behind the scenes look at how work was carried out on minute books of the Regents Canal & Dock Co. For fuller details and photographs take a look at the blog.

Posted on: Thursday, 26th February 2015
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Fifty years of KFC in the UK

Although the first British diners to enjoy Kentucky Fried Chicken were in Preston in 1965, the business had its origins in Depression-era America 35 years earlier.

Harlan Sanders began selling fried chicken from a roadside restaurant in Kentucky and from these humble beginnings emerged a fast food giant. Two things helped to power the development of the brand, one being the canny re-invention of Sanders himself as Colonel Sanders. The second was the mystique surrounding the secret recipes that gave KFC its competitive edge. KFC plans to celebrate its first fifty year in the UK throughout 2015, for fuller details follow this link.

Posted on: Wednesday, 25th February 2015
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Human Stories and the East India Company

Human Stories and the East India Company is a unique project by the Brick Lane Circle. The project will launch on Thursday 19th March 2015 at Lab 1A Idea Store, Whitechapel, London, 6.30-8.30pm. The project will recruit 12 volunteer researchers to explore the records and objects of the East India Company and write short fictional stories based on facts. This London based company had a major impact on Asian and British lives for more than two centuries. Take a look at the programme.

Posted on: Tuesday, 24th February 2015
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Capturing the Energy

Hosted by the University of Aberdeen Capturing the Energy works to preserve important records relating to the UK offshore oil and gas industry. The website has been revamped to include more details about the project, information about existing collections and outlines how companies, organisations and individuals across the industry can contribute to the project. Visit the website to find out more:

Posted on: Friday, 23rd January 2015
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Butlin's online catalogue project with HAT

The History of Advertising Trust has teamed up with Butlin's to catalogue their brand archive and to make selected items available online. The archive has been maintained and used by Butlins to promote their leisure resorts, most notably in a 75th anniversary brochure in 2011. However, the project will allow a whole new level of public access to this fascinating heritage collection. Follow the link for the full story.

Posted on: Tuesday, 6th January 2015
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Tommy's Tin

Businesses are featuring prominently in the commemoration of the First World War. It is not widely known how the old-established Piccadilly store of Fortnum & Mason played a significant role in the war effort. In an era when officers had to provide themselves with uniforms and equipment, the store had a war department dedicated to the task. They also supported British servicemen in the field with food parcels containing Fortnums particular specialities.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and Harewood House, the store has now produced Tommys Tin, a replica of a brass tin containing chocolate, sweets and tobacco sent to troops for Christmas 1914 at the suggestion of Princess Mary. The modern version, containing luxury chocolate and a special set of playing cards, was sent out to British servicemen and women on active service at Christmas 2014 in commemoration of their predecessors.

Follow the link below to read a fuller account of this initiative and the history behind it.

Posted on: Monday, 5th January 2015
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60 Years of Jet

Jet petrol filling stations are so much a part of our urban landscape that it is hard to remember a time when they were not around. With over 300 outlets in the UK, and with its highly recognisable logo, they remain a very visible brand. Follow the link below to learn more about their first 60 years in the UK.

Jet is the brand name used by the UK company Phillips 66 Ltd. If you think that is a strange name for a company, there is an explanation and it all has to do with earlier events in the USA. Follow the link to read more.

Posted on: Saturday, 3rd January 2015
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