Manufacturing Pasts, a project led by the University of Leicester and funded by Jisc, today releases over 1,700 historical sources for learning and teaching. The resources tell the story of what life was like and how quickly it changed in British industrial cities during the second half of the twentieth century.
Taking Leicester as a powerful example of these changes, the historical sources include photographs, maps, architectural drawings, oral history interviews, company publications and newspaper articles.
The related learning resources include videos, visual guides and selected historical sources.
All the resources have been released under a Creative Commons open licence (CC BY-NC). This means that they can be re-used and adapted by anyone, providing the creator of the work is acknowledged and the use is for non-commercial purposes.
Four major themes are used to illustrate the changing industrial city:
- Conservation and Regeneration
- Social Life of the Factory
- The Factory and the Community
Simon Gunn, professor of urban history at the University of Leicester, comments:
“Go into any major library and you will find lots of books on British industrial cities during the nineteenth century. But you will be hard pressed to find much on the 1930s onwards. Manufacturing Pasts fills that gap. Having these materials online has all sorts of other benefits as well, such as seeing connections between different kinds of historical sources that you might not otherwise notice – between maps and photographs, for example. Manufacturing Pasts is relevant to higher education students at all levels – supporting both dissertations and projects exploring one of the historical themes.”
Paola Marchionni, programme manager of digitisation at Jisc says:
“Manufacturing Pasts is a great example of partnership work that has brought together knowledge and expertise from historians, librarians, archivists and learning technologists in the creation of versatile digital resources. The team has done an excellent job in providing easy access to both primary historical material as well as contextual background through imaginative resources such as virtual tours, timelines, videos, and cleverly used PowerPoint presentations. This project has opened up material to a variety of users, from undergraduate and postgraduate students to colleges, local groups and historians, and has already attracted a good degree of public interest.”
As well as being used in teaching, these resources are also intended to appeal to historians generally.
Manufacturing Pasts featured at a conference on Leicester’s industrial past, present and future on 27 April organised by the University of Leicester and the Leicestershire Industrial History Society. It will be presented at the Transformation of Urban Britain conference which takes place at the University of Leicester from 9 – 10 July.
Selected resources from Manufacturing Pasts can also be viewed on the University of Leicester’s new iTunes U site.