Trawling through archives: volunteer research team gets busy

The past few months have been busy at the TRANSITion Project as the project team and research volunteers trawled through local archives, libraries and online resources. We have been looking for information and audio-visual material to help tell the history of the former Ford site in a pop-up museum due in Spring 2018.

A behind-the-scenes visit to the archives of the National Motor Museum Beaulieu introduced the group to their vast collection of photographs, films, publications and ephemera.
Curator, Sarah Wyatt, explained the workings of the archive and showed examples of items relating to the motor industry in general, and Ford Motor Company history in particular. She demonstrated the different equipment required to play the older analogue formats of film and sound.
Visits to Eastleigh Museum and Hampshire Record Office produced some fascinating insights into the site's earlier history of aviation during the Second World War.
Settling down in the cinema at Wessex Film and Sound Archive we watched some great archival footage of the hangars and aircraft at Cunliffe-Owen. A 1980s documentary gave an interesting glimpse into industrial relations at Ford at the time.
The last of the research trips saw the group assembled at Southampton Solent Sky Museum for a guided tour by Museum Manager Steve Alcock. After marvelling at the range of aircraft, including the iconic Spitfire, in the main hall, we looked around the new gallery on Southampton during the Second World War.
Particularly poignant was the display and memorial plaque commemorating the 52 men killed during the bombing of Cunliffe-Owen in 1940.

These research trips were a great opportunity for us to visit and delve into a range of local archival collections. Varying in size and scope they offered material to help piece together the jigsaw of the site's history of manufacturing and helped identify relevant content for our pop-up museum.

It was also a privilege to have guided tours by and exclusive access to many of the collections. Our thanks to staff and volunteers at National Motor Museum Beaulieu, Hampshire Record Office, Eastleigh Museum and Solent Sky Museum.


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