Kemmis collection is a small collection of film reels ranging from the mid to
late 1930’s. The reels, stored in an old suitcase came from Moyaliffe House, which
was home to the Armstrong family from the seventeenth century to its sale in 1999.
Winona (Jess) Armstrong inherited Moyaliffe following the death of her only
brother, William in France in 1917. Jess married Captain William Kemmis of
Ballinacor, Co. Wexford in 1927..
suitcase was given to a local family some years ago and brought in to Tipperary
Studies in 2018. While the films could
not be viewed locally, a brief index on some of the boxes suggested the
contents might be of social and cultural interest.
16mm film was converted to digital format by the DVD Centre, Dublin and with
the kind permission of family descendants relevant material was placed online
in our digital archive.
the years 1952 and 1953, the English artist Nevill Johnson, supported by a small Arts
Council grant and using a second hand Leica camera, shot a series of
photographs depicting the people and places of the ‘real’ Dublin of that time.
As an outsider looking in, he captured a valuable social record of the city
before it changed irrevocably.
in 1981 by Academy Press Nevill Johnson’s book ‘Dublin : The People’s
City’, a collection of these photographs, won an award at the Leipzig
International Book Art Fair.
purchased the full collection of over 1,500 negatives from Nevill Johnson in
1979. Since then RTÉ Archives has
digitised the collection on two occasions, firstly in the mid 1990s, and again
in the mid 2000s. The images were originally scanned as 18 MB JPEG files using
the once cutting edge, but now defunct Photo-CD technology.
RTÉ Archives is currently rescanning the Johnson Collection with the assistance of Grants Advanced PhotoLab and Digital Bureau. This time the resulting scans are 300MB TIFF files. Whereas previous digitisation attempts saw the collection reproduced with a certain gloom and dullness, great care is being taken to select an appropriate tonal range for each frame.
date approximately one third of the collection has been rescanned and the
results show a collection completely enlivened by the digitisation process.
This is most apparent in the faces of the Dubliners captured on film over 60
Johnson Collection can be viewed online as JPEG images, and we
expect the entire rescanned collection to be fully available by the end of 2019.
Discover 19th Century Childhood through
Loreto Boarding Schools
be taught everything necessary …..’; these were the instructions of the
parents of Ellen Hart, 28 Watling Street, Dublin, when she enrolled as a
boarding pupil in Loreto convent Navan in 1838.
What curriculum included ‘everything necessary’? What was Ellen’s
experience of boarding school in 1838? Explore the world of 19th
century childhood through a unique collection of boarding school records and
memorabilia, held in IBVM (Loreto), Institute & Irish Province Archives.
Discover a world of childhood illnesses and
remedies exemplified in the letter of M. Frances Teresa Ball IBVM to Mrs Irwin,
Rathmile House, Tulsk, Co. Roscommon, on New Year’s Eve 1829, describing her
daughter Margaret’s recovery from scarlet fever. Look out for the prescription
for wine! Explore school dress codes in an age before school uniforms, captured
in the Loreto Kilkenny class photograph of 1897; lace collars and cuffs proudly
on display vie with prominent ‘Children of Mary’ medals for those in senior
classes with unblemished records! Uncover the transition from standard
classrooms to laboratories and kitchens as students began to study science and
home economics, conduct experiments, study catering and dressmaking skills. Rediscover
19th entertainments through hand painted lantern slides with moving
parts, providing entertainment in a world before radio, television or Wi Fi. View
the world through the eyes of a young woman captured in her diary, jottings and
autograph books such as this from Loreto Wexford.
“City and College
should stand, shoulder to shoulder, facing the problems of life together”
These words were written by a member of the Cardiff University Settlement in 1906. The settlement was a radical experiment in education and friendship between the University and its immediate neighbours. 113 years later, these words still sum up why we are committed to working with audiences beyond our walls.
Over the last year, Cardiff University Libraries and Archives has been researching how to make our services and collections more appealing, accessible and useful to audiences outside academia.
To test some of our ideas, we’ve been running a number of pilot
projects over the summer, aimed at creating opportunities to:
Enjoy our libraries and archives
Encourage responses to our collections
Link people and resources
Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to:
Bringing Edward Thomas’ Archive to the Senedd
As an academic establishment, it’s so important for us to
show how archives and libraries can spark creativity and reflection, as well as
research and education.
As part of Literature Wales’ Holy Glimmers festival, we were joined by literary critic Jafar Iqbal and pupils from Fitzalan High School. Together, we explored letters and poems from Edward Thomas’ archive – discussing Mental Health, Family and Conflict in the poet’s work and creating original works, including poetry and literary criticism.
We presented this work to a welcoming crowd at the Senedd
some weeks later. The class were given a special tour of the Siambr, and also
took the chance to have their say on the Welsh Youth Parliament’s wall (pupils
wanted less homework, and for us to be kinder to refugees).
This programme of work was a small example of how libraries
and archives can be catalysts for new creative work – and that we can share
that new work with wider audiences when we can collaborate with institutions
like Literature Wales.
Library Escape Room
One of our aims for our Civic Engagement programme is to
create opportunities for people to enjoy using our libraries – to encourage
them to feel comfortable and confident when using our services and spaces. It’s
also key that our staff get a chance to try something new, beyond the ‘business
as usual’ of working with students and researchers.
The Escape Room was developed to encourage young people to
take up space in our libraries, to enjoy exploring them and to build their
confidence in using our services.
Cardiff University First
Campus joined us to trial the activity – solving a series of locked puzzles
to get their hands on a prize. First Campus holds summer schools for your
people with Autism Spectrum conditions, and young people with experiences of
the Care Sector, and the Escape Room activity was designed to be adapted
according to the needs of each group.
It was a fun and successful trial – we will be adapting and
refining the working model, with the aim of offering the Escape Room to
secondary schools on a regular basis in the future.
Fake News with JOMEC and Media Wales
One of our biggest strengths as libraries and archives is
our ability to match people with resources. We developed our Fake News project
to enhance our Libraries’ role as a space for connection – by answering a
genuine demand from our community by enabling access to expertise, equipment and
We worked with English and Media Studies students from
Fitzalan High School to create a project to take us out of the classroom and
into newsrooms, broadcast studios, and to Cardiff University’s brand new
journalism campus. Staff at JOMEC – Cardiff University’s School of Journalism,
Media and Culture – and Media Wales were very generous with us, as we landed in
their workspaces full of energy and questions!
In preparation for their own field interviews, the class
worked with Media Wales on their interview techniques, and learned how
journalists collect and verify information before it is printed. At JOMEC, we
looked at research skills – how to find good quality information, and how to
come up with canny questions that get to the heart of a topic.
On our last day together, we ventured out into the ‘real
world’, using our new skills to create videos interviews with the general
public – asking them about their attitudes towards fake news and the media in
general. Due to a slight minibus crisis, we also got a last-minute trip to
Glamorgan Archives in the bargain – thank you to the staff, who welcomed us all
at very short notice!
Next term, we’ll be meeting again to co-create a digital
resource, using the interviews we collected and what we learned from the
experts at Media Wales and JOMEC. Our hope is that every school in Wales will
be able to learn from our experiences, as we share our resource through the
Welsh Government’s HWB platform.
Plans for the Future
It’s been a very busy summer, and this is only part of the
picture – schools are only one of many audiences we work with, so we’ll
continue to develop our programmes over the years to come, finding new ways to
open up our collections to people across Wales and beyond.
We’ll be publishing our Civic Engagement strategy for
Cardiff University Libraries and Archives in the new year – in the meantime, if
you’d like to find out more about our programmes, and how we work, get in
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official archive for Northern Ireland and holds over 3 million historical records, including church registers, emigrant letters, workhouse records, and files created by government departments and courts of law. Most relate to the North of Ireland and dated from the 17th century onwards, offering a wealth of information on society, economy and governance. PRONI’s oldest document is a bull of Pope Honorius III, dated 1219.
PRONI delivers a programme of events, talks, conferences, exhibitions and book launches over the course of the year. Many of the events relate to the marking of significant centenaries and other notable anniversaries. Details can be found on the PRONI website. These cover a wide range of subjects including amongst other: family and local history, marking centenaries, culture, wars and conflicts, migration and the Ulster Plantation.