Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick

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The Modern Records Centre and the new extension of the library

The Modern Records Centre (MRC) is the specialist archive service of the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, located adjacent to the Central Campus Library. It was established in October 1973 and holds the world's largest archive collection on British industrial relations, as well as archives relating to many other aspects of British social, political and economic history.

The BP corporate archive is located next to the MRC, but has separate staff and facilities.


Trade unions[edit]

The Modern Records Centre holds by far the largest collection of archives of British trade unions in the country. The largest collection held in the centre is the archive of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Other significant collections of archives relating to British trade unions include:

Significant collections relating to trade union federations include the Confederation of Employee Organisations, the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, the Council of Civil Service Unions, the Federation of Post Office Supervising Officers, the General Federation of Trade Unions, the National Federation of Construction Unions (formerly the National Federation of Building Trade Operatives), the National Federation of Professional Workers, the National Joint Committee of Postal and Telegraph Associations, the Post Office Engineering Federation, and the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation.

International trade union federations are represented by major collections of the International Transport Workers' Federation and the World Federation of Scientific Workers.

Collections relating to joint trade union committees include those of the Alcan Foils Wembley Factory trade union committees, the British Leyland Trade Union Committee, Coventry Chain Shop Stewards' Committee, Coventry Trades Council, the GCHQ Trade Union Campaign Committee, and the London Transport Aldenham Bus Overhaul Works trade union committees.

The centre also holds significant collections relating to leaders of trade unions, including:

  • Ernest Bevin, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union, Minister of Labour and Foreign Secretary
  • Rodney Bickerstaffe, general secretary of NUPE and Unison
  • Frank Chapple, Baron Chapple of Hoxton, general secretary of the Electrical Trades Union and Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and Plumbing Union
  • Percy Collick, assistant general secretary of ASLEF and Labour MP
  • Frank Cousins, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union and Minister of Technology
  • Frank Crump, general secretary of the National Amalgamated Union of Life Assurance Workers
  • Brenda Dean, Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, general secretary of SOGAT '82
  • R. A. W. Emerick, general secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Lithographic Printers
  • Alan Fisher, general secretary of NUPE
  • Sir Joseph Hallsworth, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Employees, National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers, and Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
  • Clive Jenkins, general secretary of ASSET, ASTMS and the MSF
  • Jack Jones, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
  • Bill Morris, Baron Morris of Handsworth, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
  • Ron Todd, general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union
  • Paul Tofahrn, assistant general secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation and general secretary of Public Services International
  • Bob Willis, general secretary of the London Society of Compositors, London Typographical Society, and National Graphical Association
  • George Woodcock, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress

Large collections of papers of more junior trade unionists include:

  • Jon Appleton, of NALGO and Unison
  • Alfred Best, of the National Amalgamated Union of Life Assurance Workers
  • Cyril Collard, of the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions
  • John Dore, of the Association of Scientific Workers, ASTMS and the MSF
  • David and Tamar Edwards, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the Transport and General Workers' Union respectively
  • Dick Etheridge, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union
  • R. Leonard Fagg, of the Post Office Engineering Union
  • Monty Hughes, of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation
  • Norman Jacobs, of the Civil and Public Services Association
  • J. C. McLauchlan, of the Institution of Professional Civil Servants
  • David Michaelson, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union
  • Peter Morgan, of NALGO
  • Peter Nicholas, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union
  • Aaron Rapoport Rollin, of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers
  • William Henry Stokes, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union
  • Alan Thornett, of the Transport and General Workers' Union
  • Arthur Willitt, of the Post Office Engineering Union, Society of Post Office Engineering Inspectors, Society of the Post-Office Engineering Inspectorate, Society of Telecommunication Engineers, Association of Post Office Executives, and Society of Post Office Executives
  • Amicia Young, of the Association of Scientific Workers

Industrial relations[edit]

The Modern Records Centre holds some collections of archives relating to joint employer/employee industrial relations negotiating committees. Significant among these are the Inland Revenue Departmental Whitley Council, the Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry, the Local Authorities' Conditions of Service Advisory Board (LACSAB), the National Joint Council for the Engineering Construction Industry, the National Maritime Board, and the National Whitley Council for the Civil Service.

Papers of various academics and/or conciliators concerned with industrial relations include those of Sir George Bain, William Brown, Colleen Chesterman, Hugh Clegg, Bob Fryer, Geoffrey Goodman, Richard Hyman, Grigor McClelland, Arthur Marsh, Sir Jack Scamp, and Bert Turner.

Archives of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, Incomes Data Services and Industrial Relations Research Unit are also held.

Employers' and trade associations[edit]

The Modern Records Centre also collects archives of employers' associations and trade associations. The largest of these are the archives of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and its predecessor, the Federation of British Industries (FBI).

Other major association employers' and trade association collections include:

Archives of related organisations include those of the Dollar Exports Council, India, Pakistan and Burma Association, Iron and Steel Board and Trade Board (Employers') Consultative Council, as well as those of Richard Wood, an official of the Construction Industry Training Board and the National Federation of Building Trades Employers.

Pressure and campaigning groups[edit]

A second part of the Modern Records Centre's collecting base is the archives of pressure and campaigning groups. Significant among these are the archives of the:

Papers of individuals associated with campaigning and pressure groups include those of Marjory Allen, Lady Allen of Hurtwood, landscape architect, campaigner for pre-school education and child welfare, Sir Ernest Benn, publisher, libertarian and individualist, Mary Brennan, peace activist and prominent member of CND, William Driscoll, chief training officer of the Economic League, Sir Victor Gollancz, publisher and activist, Sir Leslie Scott, Conservative MP, judge and prominent member of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, and Dame Eileen Younghusband, social worker.


The Modern Records Centre holds some archives relating to business, especially the motor industry.

Archives relating to the motor industry include Jensen Motors, the Rover Company, Rubery Owen, the Standard Motor Company, and the Triumph Engineering Company.

Archives relating to other firms include Birmingham Small Arms, the British Steel Corporation, Victor Gollancz Ltd, Wallpaper Manufacturers Ltd, and J. Parnell & Son Ltd, builders, of Rugby.

The centre also holds the archives of the Transport Development Group and of Arthur Primrose Young, manager of the Rugby works of the British Thomson-Houston Company.

Professional associations[edit]

The Modern Records Centre holds a growing collection of the archives of professional associations, especially those associated with social work. Major collections in the latter area include the Association of Child Care Officers, the Association of Social Workers, the British Association of Social Workers, the Institute of Medical Social Workers, the National Association of Social Workers in Education, and the National Institute for Social Work.

Other professional associations with significant representation are the Association of Teachers of Domestic Science, the British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education, the British Institute of Management, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, the Institute of Administrative Management, the Institute of Management Services, and the Institute of Personnel Management.


One of the collecting specialities of the Modern Records Centre is Trotskyist politics. Significant collections of papers relating to Trotskyist organisations include Bookmarks Publications, the International Marxist Group, the International Socialism Group, the Militant tendency, the Revolutionary Socialist League, the Socialist Party, Socialist Reproduction, the Socialist Vanguard Group, and the Spartacist League.

Papers of individuals associated with Trotskyist organisations include those of Chris Bambery, Colin Barker, Alan Clinton, Jimmy Deane, Reg Groves, Alistair Mutch, Geoff Pugh, Bob Purdie, Tony Whelan, and Harry Wicks.

The centre also holds the papers of several Labour Members of Parliament: Richard Crossman, Maurice Edelman, Terry Fields, William Hamling, Pat Wall, and William Wilson.

Other political holdings include the papers of former general secretary of the Labour Party Jim Mortimer, Conservative MP Derek Coombs, National Front activist Wayne Ashcroft, and the Warwick and Leamington Constituency Labour Party.


A further specialisation of the Modern Records Centre is in archives concerned with education. As well as the archives of the teachers' trade unions, the Centre holds significant archive collections of the Association of Technical Institutions, the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, the Council for National Academic Awards, the Joint University Council for Social Studies, the National Council for Diplomas in Art and Design, the National Council for Technological Awards, REPLAN, the Society for Research into Higher Education, and the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning.


The Modern Records Centre holds the National Cycle Archive, the principal archive covering all aspects of cycling history in the United Kingdom. This includes the archives of the Auto-Cycle Union, the Cyclists' Touring Club, and the National Cyclists' Union, as well as archives of many other cycling organisations and clubs, manufacturers of bicycles and accessories, and individuals connected with cycling, such as Eric Claxton, Tony Hadland, Alex Josey, Derek Roberts and Frank Rowland Whitt.

Operational research[edit]

A significant collection of material relating to operational research includes the archives of the Operational Research Branches of British Coal and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, the Department of Operational Research of the British Steel Corporation, the Institute for Operational Research, the International Federation of Operational Research Societies, the Local Government Operational Research Unit, and the Operational Research Society, as well as the papers of prominent operational researchers Ken Bowen and Stephen Cook.

University of Warwick[edit]

The Centre holds the organisational archives of the University of Warwick itself and also Coventry College of Education, which amalgamated with it in 1971. It also holds the papers of some individuals connected with the university, notably the sociologists Gillian Rose and Meg Stacey, and Sir Arthur Vick, who was the university's chairman of council and pro-chancellor.


Other significant collections include the Bristol Unity Players' Club, the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, the Commercial Vehicle and Road Transport Club, the Low Pay Commission, the Royal Commission on Legal Services, the Royal Commission on the National Health Service, the Social Workers' Benevolent Trust, the Social Workers' Educational Trust, the Society for the Study of Labour History, and the Young Women's Christian Association. Papers of individuals include those of management consultant John Goddard, Catherine Hoskyns, an expert on gender politics and the European Union, and Sir George Pope, general manager of The Times.

External links[edit]