We are proud to announce Morley Community Archives (MCA) as a partner on Pararchive. Comprising a small group of volunteers who have undertaken to preserve archive material relating to Morley for future generations and to make it available for public use, MCA is non-profit making and is based in the David Atkinson Archive Room in Morley Public Library. Although MCA volunteers have spent a lot of time working with and cataloguing the archive of the late David Atkinson, a prominent local historian, their scope is much broader in the sense that they welcome contributions from other sources as well. MCA volunteers arrange collections of photographs and reminiscences, invite local residents to contribute, and publicly display material by various themes in which there is an apparent interest.
There are various reasons for preserving archive material for public use and for future generations. Many MCA volunteers note that they have large boxes of photographs, postcards, diaries and other items of local historical interest tucked away in cupboards, often inherited from parents and grandparents. They believe that much of this material can be and should be valued by future generations. Some of the questions MCA volunteers ask themselves are: will anyone be able to identify the people in the photographs, or know the story behind them? Will the photographs all end up in a black bin bag and be lost for ever? How will their great-grandchildren know what life in Morley was really like for their ancestors? These questions spur on MCA volunteers to try and preserve such items and reminiscences in a computer archive which is published on the Internet and is available for anyone interested in the history of Morley and its inhabitants, or tracing their family tree.
MCA volunteers run sessions to which they invite anyone wishing to contribute or simply willing to offer help to
see and hear about MCA’s work. Residents are encouraged to bring any items of local interest showing life in all its facets – ordinary people and activities with a Morley area connection are as welcome as more significant events. MCA volunteers operate on the premise that the more is known about an item, the more valuable it is to the archive. MCA volunteers urge local residents to identify people if known, when and where photographs were taken, and to bring these details along. For group photographs, a numbered diagram identifying people is useful and saves time. Any use or exchange of photographs evokes issues associated with ownership and copyright, and MCA volunteers take these issues seriously. MCA volunteers remind contributors that any material they provide for the archive should belong to them and not be copied from other
publications, or have been taken by a professional photographer. In some circumstances, printed material, such as old postcards, are accepted and can be checked by MCA volunteers. What happens when contributors bring their items to MCA? MCA volunteers run “out and about” sessions arranged at two – three weeks’ notice at which contributors can bring along their items. Contributors are then asked to sign a copyright release form and then a member of the MCA volunteer team talks to the contributor about their memories and photographs and notes down the details. The next step is to get the items scanned into the computer and given back to their owners. Sometimes contributors’ reminiscences may be recorded on tape and included in the archive as sound rather than photographs.
If you are interested in joining and/or supporting MCA with a view to helping encourage others to preserve Morley`s heritage – both its buildings and the people within the Morley community, you are welcome to become a member. The membership fee is £5.00 per person payable annually, and entitles you to occasional newsletters and invites to MCA events as well as getting a discount on items put on sale. A major event that MCA is keen for people to attend is the World War One Remembrance Weekend, 2nd – 4th August 2014, in Morley Town Centre. This weekend will feature a programme of commemorative events marking the WW1 Centenary including Ancestry Workshops, Model Railway, WW1 Artefacts, and a Remembrance Service among other things. You can get in touch with Dr Clive McManus on 0113 252 1392 for more details about MCA’s work.