News from the National Jazz Archive
The extensive resources of the National Jazz Archive have been opened up by a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The successful three-year project ‘The Story of British Jazz’ has significantly improved public access to the National Jazz Archive’s rich and diverse holdings and reinforced its position as the principal national resource for jazz heritage in the UK.
The key achievements have been:
• storing and conserving more than 40,000 archive items (journals, photos, posters and programmes) • cataloguing more than 4300 books • cataloguing more than 600 journals to series level along with 36 personal and seven photo collections • scanning and digitising numerous journals, photos, posters and programmes for direct access via the redesigned website, which includes a timeline of British jazz, over 360 interviews, and cross-curricular learning resources • organising more than 30 talks, open days, exhibitions, concerts, community events and family activities • training volunteers in storage, preservation and cataloguing skills.
The principal funding for the project was a grant of £311,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, coupled with a match-funding contribution from the Archive of approximately £12,000, including donations, a non-cash contribution from Essex County Council of £15,527, and volunteer time contribution of £6850.
Lesley Walker, Project Monitor for the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Over the past three years I have watched the National Jazz Archive develop into an active and lively organisation with properly catalogued and managed collections, reaching out to a much wider audience including their local communities. There is now a greater awareness within and beyond the jazz community of the Archive and its activities and ‘The Story of British Jazz’ makes the collection accessible to people everywhere.”
Project manager Angela Davies said: “The Story of British Jazz project team successfully delivered a dynamic programme of activity, which has significantly raised the profile of the Archive, created an infrastructure for the sustained management and preservation of its unique collection and encouraged greater interaction with the Archive. This could not have been achieved without the enthusiastic support from the trustees, volunteers and partner organisations.”
Partnerships and collaborations were arranged throughout the project with nearly 30 organisations, including the British Music Experience, Chelmsford Museum Service, Essex Heritage Education Group, Essex on Tour, Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra, Group for Education in Museums, Guildhall Music Library, Horniman Museum, Jazz FM, Loughton Festival, Loughton Library, Loughton Youth Project, Love Loughton, Restore Community Church, and West Dean College.
The project team were: Angela Davies (project manager), Fiona Cormack (project archivist till 2013), Jo Blyghton (project archivist from 2013), and Sam Fieldhouse (learning and outreach officer).
To support and manage the project, trustees with expertise in archives, conservation, finance, marketing, legal, and audience development were recruited. A series of seven fundraising concerts was organised in 2014, featuring the Gresty-White Ragtimers, Kenny Ball Jazzmen led by Keith Ball, Paul Jones, Liane Carroll, John Altman, Digby Fairweather and Val Wiseman.
The work of the Archive is continuing, and significant collections of material have been donated during the course of the project, including hundreds of photos of musicians taken by Denis Williams, personal papers from Ottilie Patterson, Don Lusher, Lew Stone and Nat Gonella.
Further details of the Archive are available at www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk, 020 8502 4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• The National Jazz Archive is a registered charity based in Loughton Library in Essex. It holds the UK’s finest collection of written, printed and visual material on jazz, blues and related music, from the 1919 to the present day. The Archive holds more than 4000 reference books, specialist periodicals and bulletins spanning over 600 titles, archival material, artwork, ephemera and photographs. It is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 1pm.
• The Archive’s vision is to ensure that significant jazz material is safeguarded for future generations of enthusiasts, professionals and researchers.
• The Archive is supported by Essex County Council, which provides rent-free accommodation and a part-time Research Archivist, whose role involves helping visitors, providing an enquiry service, responding to research requests from students, writers, enthusiasts and journalists, and organising the NJA celebrity fundraising events.
• Technical support partners for ‘The Story of British Jazz’ project were: Inclusive Digital – website designers; Townsweb Archiving – scanning and digitisation; PastView – web-based search engine; and CALM – archival cataloguing software.
• The Archive works in partnership with organisations around the UK to disseminate its resources, including the Essex Record Office and higher education institutions.
Nick Clarke, Trustee, National Jazz Archive Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton IG10 1HD www.nationaljazzarchive.org.uk, 020 8502 4701 or email@example.com