The event celebrated six significant cultural archives joining the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.
The Minister and Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO, Matthew Lodge, announced six significant archives that will join the wealth of national material on the prestigious UK Memory of the World Register. These include a Tudor choir book, the original ‘public library’ and records of Antarctic exploration.
Documentary heritage is crucial to our knowledge and understanding of the past, and to informing our identity and our future. Anne Barrett College Archivist & Corporate Records Manager
The UK Register recognises documentary heritage deemed by a panel of experts, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, to be of outstanding significance to the UK.
In order to showcase Imperial’s research at the event, researchers whose work has a particular relevance to the award-winning items were invited.
These researchers were Marco Comunitá from the Dyson School for Design Engineering who is working on a cultural heritage smartphone app called PLUGGY; Professor Mary Ryan and Mohamed Koronfel of the Department of Materials for conservation work on the Mary Rose; Professor Maria Charalambides and Dr Joe Wood from the Department of Mechanical Engineering for their work on paint degradation and restoration of paintings; Professor Martin Siegert from the Grantham Institute for work on Antarctica and Gavin Reed from Imperial Innovations for his work on commercial development of research.
Informing our identity and our future
Anne Barrett, College Archivist and Corporate Records Manager said: “The present and future are built on the past; documentary heritage is crucial to our knowledge and understanding of the past, and to informing our identity and our future.
“Documentary heritage forms an integral part of global societies. The UNESCO Memory of the World (MOW) awards for documentary heritage supports and celebrates this. My interest in working as a UNESCO UK MOW Committee member (a voluntary role) stems from the need to disseminate awareness of the importance of documentary heritage, which is part of my role at Imperial as College Archivist & Corporate Records Manager.
“The College Archives & Corporate Records Unit (ACRU) preserves the documentary heritage of Imperial as a basis of its identity, to inform its present and its future. However, the documentary heritage of today is not always in print format, and ACRU takes cognisance of the born digital record, retaining it in long term digital preservation systems.”
Six UK inscriptions added to the International Memory of the World Register were also celebrated at the event. These include the Scientific and Mathematical Papers of Sir Isaac Newton, the personal archive of George Orwell and the ‘Shakespeare Documents’, the key archival sources for understanding William Shakespeare’s life.
Find out more about the new archives joining the UK register
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Archive, consisting of over 300,000 documents, records the details and commemoration location of each casualty the Commission is responsible for commemorating – this is around 1.7 million individuals in total from both world wars.
The original ‘public library’, Sir Robert Cotton’s Collection of Manuscripts, was the first library to pass into national ownership in 1702 in Britain. It contains some of the most famous literary treasures in the country including the Magna Carta.
The Eton Choir book, a volume of manuscript music created between 150 and 1504, is still used in religious services at Eton College Chapel. It is one of only three Tudor choir books to survive the Reformation.
The Base and Field Reports of the British Antarctic Survey illustrates the UK’s leading role in the modern era of Antarctic exploration. Data underpinning globally significant discoveries, such as the hole in the ozone layer, as well as personal accounts of living and working in this extreme environment is included.
The Chronicle of Elis Gruffudd, a Welsh soldier’s bid to write a history of the world from the Creation to 1152, while serving in the English garrison in Calais in the 1550s. It is the most ambitious narrative chronicle to have ever been written in the Welsh language.
Early Gaelic Manuscripts of the Scottish Advocates Library, a group of 14th-17th century Gaelic manuscripts covering Gaelic traditional medicine, theology, tales and poetry, plus linguistics, history and genealogy.
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