About the Project & Archives

About the project

Manufacturing Pasts has been a JISC-funded project undertaken jointly by the University of Leicester Library, the Centre for Urban History, the Beyond Distance Research Alliance, and the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The time frame of the project has been November 2011 through January 2013.


Taking Leicester as an example of how British manufacturing has changed over the last fifty years, Manufacturing Pasts provides you with online access to previously  hidden historical sources about the City’s industrial history, and a range of imaginative digital learning resources which can be easily used in teaching, research, and personal study.

All the historical sources are copyright-cleared, easy to access, and free to reuse as you wish.  They include photographs of factory buildings and workers, maps through the decades which show how the urban landscape changed, company records detailing the highs and lows of businesses and interviews with factory workers.  The learning resources are based on these primary sources and are also copyright cleared and free for you to re-use and adapt.

Subject experts from the University’s Centre for Urban History selected the historical sources from archives at the University of Leicester and the Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office, with the needs of lecturers and researchers in urban and industrial history in mind. However, we expect learners of all kinds will be fascinated by the personal stories and never-before-seen images of 20th century industrial Britain.

Learning resources have been arranged by theme and link through to the collection of primary sources to search them using various options such as keyword, factory name, place name or format.
The multimedia learning resources are available in a variety of formats, such as prezi, mobi, pdf, mp3, mp4 and ePub, and most are optimised for use on mobile devices.

The MyLeicestershire History website holds all of the individual primary sources digitised as part of the Manufacturing Pasts project.

About the archives

The materials which form the basis of the Manufacturing Pasts collections come from two sources:

The Skinner Archive

The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland




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The Manufacturing Pasts project is funded by JISC.

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