BAC cataloguing grant winners announced

The Business Archives Council is delighted to announce the winning applicants of the BAC cataloguing grant for business archives. Launched in April 2010, the scheme is in support of the National Strategy for Business Archives. The Business Archives Council intends to make the grant available annually during strategy implementation, 2010-2015.

An impressive set of applications were received by the June 2010 deadline, representing a good cross section of repositories, collections and localities in the United Kingdom. Normally only one grant of £2000 is to be made available per year. However the judging panel felt the standard was so high it was therefore decided to award two grants this year. The winners, each receiving £2000, are Dorset History Centre (Dorset County Council) for cataloguing of the archives of Cosens of Weymouth, Paddle Steamer Company (ref: D/COS), and the National Railway Museum for cataloguing of small railway engineering and business collections.

Operating out of Weymouth, Dorset for nearly 150 years, Cosens fleet of pleasure paddle steamers were once a familiar sight serving numerous towns along the south coast, the Channel Islands and France. Cosens were also coal and ice merchants, yacht builders, mast makers, smiths, millwrights, iron and brass founders. The Cosens collection consists of 26 boxes. The panel was impressed by the potential benefits this collection will make to the wider community by supporting Dorset History Centres Family Learning project based around seaside holidays, and its relevance in giving historical background to the 2012 Olympics, in which Weymouth will host the sailing elements of the event.

The National Railway Museums collections covered by the grant comprise 60 small archives ranging from a few files or volumes up to two boxes. The panel was impressed by the national importance of these items and their benefit to researchers in helping them better understand the birth and growth of railways. The famous names of 19th century engineering business feature, including reports, accounts and letters by George and Robert Stephenson, I.K. Brunel, and John Rennie, and a unique commonplace book by Daniel Gooch, containing significant accounts of lines and locomotives they built.

The winners are due to complete their projects by 31 March 2011. An update on the results will be reported in 2011 in the Business Archives Council newsletter and the catalogues will be made available by the repositories and also submitted to the National Register of Archives (published by The National Archives).

More information about the grant is available here.