Archivist Liza Giffen gave delegates an overview of the University of Leeds’ Designated Cookery Collection at the Brotherton Library. The Collection now comprises printed cookery books from the 15thC to 1975, with some manuscripts. A donation in 2011 has brought the Collection up to date with a large number of recent publications (awaiting cataloguing). The Collection gives insights into the close links between health and food, publishing history – particularly women writing in a professional capacity, trade links and circulation routes of ingredients among others. The introduction was followed by a handling session, and some of the treasures brought out for the group included the first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and the pocket-sized Widowes Treasure from 1585. Librarian Nicola Feggetter gave a paper about Mrs Beeton, the brand.
Company archivist Katharine Carter traced the history of the M&S Company Archive from its beginnings in 1982, with the opening of the new Archive facility in March 2012. The Archive contains material on “every aspect of the company as a working organisation” including
- reports and corporate records
- advertising material
- oral history recordings (including oral histories from food & textile technology R&D staff)
- food packaging
- World War II material
An online collections catalogue gives access to the 70,000 items in the Archive.
Delegates were then given a tour of the permanent exhibition, Marks in Time, and a chance to find out more about the design concepts of the exhibition. The day ended with PhD student Josie Freear discussing her own work with the M&S Archive, and the challenges of using such a rich collection.