1 March 2014 -
In late 2009 the High Wycombe Furniture Archive at Bucks new University was made public through its website http://hwfurniturearchive.bucks.ac.uk with 5,727 digital assets being available to browse. The collection comprises a wide range of furniture related material representing furniture companies from this furniture-manufacturing town. An AHRC major award funded the project, where over 16,000 borne digital assets were created from the primary archival material. Apart from an extensive record of two major furniture brands, Ercol and G-Plan (E.Gomme Ltd) the collection holds material on trade union activities (1920s to 1980s), which includes discourse on WW2 activities, Utility scheme, labour conditions, collective bargaining and factory conditions. The comprehensive database holds information and drawings on design heritage such as the work of Lesley Dandy, Lucian Ercolani, Donald Gomme, Ib Kofod-Larsen, Don Peddle and Vic Wilkins (amongst others). The archive has been cited and images used for many applications, books, PhD theses, TV documentary and research into fashion, set design and advertising. The business records illustrate correspondence between retailers and the manufacturers discussing matters such as advertising through film footage and newspaper copy.
The HWFA has been very successful achieving over 5 million hits in the last four years. To access more digital assets users can register then log in free of charge where they will have access to over 10,000 assets. The research team at the Furniture Research Group is currently working on further digitisation of the William Birch Archive that supplied 'art furniture' for Heals, Harrods and Liberty's of London at the early part of the twentieth century. The major British manufacture Stag has donated its archive to the HWFA, which includes some exceptional designs by John and Sylvia Reid.
Prof Jake Kaner
School of Design, Craft and Visual Art
Bucks new University