Our work with the local community on the project began in earnest on Thursday 26th April with a ‘Meet The Team’ induction & training event at the Treasure House, Beverley, which saw our volunteers come together and meet each other for the first time.
Everyone gathered to learn more about the project and how the challenge ahead fits in with what we do as a service here at East Riding Archives.
“…it became clear that we have gained a high calibre team of individuals, creating a group with a diverse range of skills and knowledge…”
At first, I assumed that the group may have been daunted about the task ahead; a target of 600 technical ships drawings catalogued, and 130 plans digitised by this time next year. However, on telling everyone what we were about to do, people only seemed even more enthused about getting to work, and discovering more about what we have in the Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive, and the vessels that were built by the company.
As each of the volunteers took their turn to introduce themselves and tell the rest of the group a little bit about their background and experience, it became clear that we have gained a high calibre team of individuals, creating a group with a diverse range of skills and knowledge, including people with vast experience of working in the maritime sector, skilled administrators, academics, and students, together forming an intergenerational partnership from the local community.
Each volunteer is going to bring their own set of skills to the challenge of cataloguing and digitising technical drawings from the collection of ships plans, and I’m hopeful that the experience will also allow them to develop new ones and gain a sense of ownership in this common goal of safeguarding local heritage.
“…we collectively have a group with the knowledge and abilities to understand, interpret, organise, describe, and digitise these highly technical plans…”
It’ s very exciting to be able to say that among our team we have former workers from C D Holmes of Hull (who used to fit the ships built at Grovehill, Beverley), ex-Royal Navy personnel also with experience of serving onboard trawlers built by Cook, Welton & Gemmell, and someone with a long family history connection to the company (his father and grandfather having both worked at Grovehill shipyard, and who himself has a background in aeronautical engineering and is no stranger to technical drawings). We’ve even been fortunate enough to have someone come forward who has held a high-ranking role at Cook, Welton & Gemmell itself, working as buyer for the company.
When you also consider that we have a number of academics working on PhDs and degrees in History and/or Maritime History, people with significant experience of administration and file management, and students who have degrees in technology-based subjects; it’s clear that we collectively have a group with the knowledge and abilities to understand, interpret, organise, describe, and digitise these highly technical plans, and my hope that is that this will lead to a better understanding of our local maritime heritage through improved preservation and access.
It’s now full steam ahead as we embark on our ‘trawl through time’!
Sam Bartle: Digital Archivist & Project Co-ordinator
(East Riding Archives)