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Online resource library of the history of working people to come from £175,000 grant


The University of North London has been awarded a £175,000 grant from the New Opportunities Fund to create an online library of resources, which illustrate the history of working people and the Trade Union movement. The project is a University/Trade Union Congress (TUC) Partnership Initiative entitled TUC History On-line and will be based on documents and images from the TUC Library Collections held at the University.

The project will create a web resource to improve access to heritage material in the TUC collections. This will involve the digitisation of documents and images and creation of text links. The content will result in a timeline from 1860-2000 illustrated by images, short video clips and metadata using four key resources:

  • The TUC Congress Reports,
  • General Strike Collection,
  • the manuscript of "Ragged Trousered Philanthropist" by Robert Tressell, and
  • the 1888 Matchgirls' Strike Register.

The University and the TUC will publicise the online library through publications, courses, study programmes and their web-sites, with the aim of attracting:

  • lifelong learners
  • schoolteachers
  • professional trainers
  • the media
  • union members
  • students
  • academics
  • the general public

Vice Chancellor Brian Roper said: "The documents held in the TUC Library Collections, form a significant part of the national heritage. This grant will allow universal access to these materials through the World Wide Web."

TUC General Secretary, John Monks said: "This grant presents us with a marvellous opportunity to do justice at long last to this amazing collection. Trade unions have played, and will continue to play, a decisive role in shaping economic and social developments in Britain – yet much of their history is at present unknown and inaccessible to the public. This welcome New Opportunities Fund grant can change all that."

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