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FAQs

FAQs

What collections do you hold?

The archive of the Labour Party, from its inception in 1900 to the 2000s, is held alongside that of the Communist Party of Great Britain from 1943 with microfilmed copies of material prior to that period.  The LHASC also holds the records of other political organisations as well as labour and socialist newspapers, an extensive collection of Labour Party photographs and collections of individuals’ personal papers such as Michael Foot, James and Lucy Middleton and Douglas Houghton.  For further details on the collections, have a look at the Collection Catalogues & Descriptions page.

Are all of your collections catalogued and are all catalogues online?

Not all of our collections are catalogued.  Some collections have been sorted and listed but these descriptions are not available online.  If you are interested in a subject that is mentioned in the catalogues online, please fill in the online enquiry form and ask us if we have what you’re looking for.  We can hopefully get back to you with good news.

Where can I find out more about other archives in the UK?

Have a look at the National Register of Archives, hosted by The National Archives.  This will tell you where collections of people, families, places and organisations are held throughout the UK.  If you are interested in trade union records, the first place to look would be the Modern Records Centre in the University of Warwick.   For records relating to the Liberal Party and LGBT collections, have a look at the collections held at the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol.  Papers of local branches of the Communist Party of Great Britain can be found in the Working Class Movement Library, just down the road from us.  For papers of local political parties, have a look at the National Register of Archives as they will most likely be held at local record offices.

I’ve not used an archive before.  What do I do?

Not to worry, it’s really quite simple.  Firstly, have a look at our online catalogues and try to find something you want to look at when you’re here.  Our catalogues can be found here and some are also here.  When you’ve seen something you want to look at, make a note of its reference number and title. Then, fill in the online enquiry form and include the reference numbers and title, as well as any dates you would like to come and visit.  We will then get back to you as soon as possible about arranging a visit to the archives.  If what you are interested in isn’t listed in the catalogues, fill in the online enquiry form and tell us what you’re looking for.  We can hopefully get back to you with good news.  Paper versions of our catalogues are available in the reading room, as is a small library on political history.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask the archive staff, we’re here to help.

Do I need to make an appointment?

Yes, please.  We are only a very small staff and can get very busy.  To give yourself the best possible chance of getting a space at the archive, let us know at least a week in advance so we can reserve a space for you.  Visitors without an appointment may be turned away.

How do I make an appointment?

Fill in the online enquiry form and let us know what you’d like to look at and when you’d like to visit.  We will then get back to you about arranging a visit to the archives.  You can also call the museum on 0161 838 9190 and ask for the archive.

What do I bring to a visit?

In the reading room you are allowed pencils and paper, your laptop or notebook, your digital camera.  Bags, coats, food and drink are not allowed in the archive and can be stored securely in the lockers just outside of the reading room.  A £1 coin is required to operate the locks which can be retrieved at the end of the locker’s use.

Can I take photographs of archive material?

As long as copyright is not an issue then you are welcome to take as many photographs as you wish upon completion of a form and payment of a fee.  The fee for camera use is £6 a day, or if you are visiting more than four days in a month then the fee is set at £20.  You may not use flash in the archive as this damages the records and disturbs the other researchers.

Can I photocopy archive material?

Permission to photocopy material is at the discretion of the Archivist to ensure copyright and preservation requirements are being met.  Please ask if you would like material photocopied.  The fee is 30p per A4 sheet and 50p per A3 sheet.  Printouts of microfilm are at a fee of 70p per sheet of A4.

Can you post copies of documents to me?

We can post photocopies of documents to you, at the discretion of the Archivist to ensure copyright and preservation requirements are being met.  The fee is 30p per A4 sheet and 50p per A3 sheet, printouts of microfilm are at a fee of 70p per sheet of A4, plus postage and packaging.

I am unable to visit the archive to use the collections.  Can you carry out research on my behalf?

As we are only a small staff, we can only offer a maximum of 30 minutes of research time free.  We can, however, carry out a maximum of three hours of research time for £25 per hour.  If you would like to use this research service, fill in the online enquiry form.

Are any of your collections going to be digitised?

Our collections have not as yet been digitised.  We have plans to digitise collections according to a prioritised list.  In the meantime, please be patient with us.

I have some records which I think the archive would be interested in taking.  What do I do?

First of all, thanks so much for thinking of the archive.  Please read our notes on what we do and don’t collect.  If you think you have archive material which you would like to give to the museum, please fill in the online enquiry form with details of who and where you are, what the records are and how many records there are.  The Archivist will then get back in touch with you.  All new acquisitions are brought before the Acquisitions Panel to be approved by the Collections Team; the panel meet every three weeks.  If the panel agrees to accept your kind offer, the Archivist will be in touch regarding the donation.  If the panel cannot accept your offer, the Archivist will be in touch with advice such as the details of other archives you can offer the collection to.

I am part of a group/society/club and would like to arrange for a group visit to the archive.  What do I do?

You’re most welcome to book an Introduction to Archives session through the museum’s Learning Team.  For these sessions we can offer a guide to the collections and a tour of the archive itself.  For more information and to arrange a session, please use the Learning Team’s online enquiry form or call the museum on 0161 838 9190 and ask for the Learning Team.