Today we are launching a public history initiative: a collective web archives project – newruskinarchives. To date there are over 50 entries on former students plus the beginnings of an ephemera section.
A year ago an international petition containing thousands of signatures – including those of many public historians internationally – condemning the destruction of the vast bulk of student records dating from 1899 onwards was presented to the governors of Ruskin college, Oxford.
We realise that it will never be possible to ‘recreate’ the material that was so needlessly destroyed. But we think it important to acknowledge the life experiences of people whose memory has been treated so disdainfully. We also want to ensure that the destruction of the archives is not forgotten.
Some material already exists in other publications such as the Oxford DNB or Dictionary of Labour Biography. However material has never previously been gathered together online in one, searchable, place. Contributors to date include professors and university lecturers, trade union and labour movement activists and people writing about family members and their own lives.
Data entry contributions, additional information, visual material and comments are welcome on the website.
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