On 7 June, I went to a seminar at Leeds University where archives, libraries, museums, academic staff and students from all over Yorkshire shared details of their First World War materials and interests. The event was organised by the Centre for Heritage Research; the papers can be seen on their website.
Our most significant Great War collections relate to J.B. Priestley’s wartime service: letters, photographs, possessions. I have written and spoken about these elsewhere, particularly in my chapter on Priestley in the book published by the Bradford Mechanics’ Library, Bradford in the Great War. The war had a huge influence on Priestley’s life and career although he wrote little about it directly. Most of our archives date from the 1930s onwards, but writing my piece for this seminar made me reflect on how the two world wars, plus the Cold War, shaped the lives of those creating the archives. I’ll write in more detail about this sometime.