Posts tagged ‘Project Volunteers’

December 31, 2018

Interactive Antique Dealer Map at 6,000+ dealers

We’ve finished 2018 on a high point for the interactive antique dealer map – and now have more than 6,000 dealers in the map!

Antique Dealers Map screen capture. December 2018.

We still need to upload 1,000s more dealers of course, but we are making progress.  During the last week we’ve added 100s of dealers to Devon and Cornwall, mainly dealers from the 1920s and 1930s.  We are still looking for volunteers to help with adding more dealers to the Map website – if you are interested in helping out, do email us – we have an information sheet and it’s very simple to add data once you have read the ‘data adding’ information sheet – if you are in Leeds there is also training available!

Here’s a link to the Map website CLICK HERE

And if you do volunteer help, you get your name of the Roll Call of Honour on the ‘Get Involved’ tab on the Antique Dealer Project Website – see HERE

We are aiming to have 10,000 dealers added in the next few months, so do let us know if you think you might be able to help.

In the meantime….we wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!




November 29, 2016

Even More Student Volunteers!

The benefits of having an increasing number of students interested in the Art Market are clearly reflected in the recent growth in the number of student volunteers on the Antique Dealer research project.  The ‘Art Market’ modules we run in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds are providing a steady steam of fantastic, and fantastically able, students, all willing to be involved in adding data to the Interactive Map website.  Our latest recruits, Layla Hillsden, Kenza Gray, Charlotte Ford and Marie-Louise Hanson, all level 2 undergraduate students on the ‘Art Market: Moments, Methodologies and Meanings’ module – shown here in the latest student volunteer photograph – have all started work uploading the mass of data we still need to add to the website.


Layla, Charlotte, Kenza and Marie-Louise – student volunteers 2016.

Without such enthusiastic help and support it would take much, much longer to increase the amount of data in the Interactive Map, and  to begin the number-crunching that will allow new research questions to emerge!…so thank you again to all of our volunteers…and do keep you eye of the Project Interactive Map 

If anyone else is interested in volunteering, do drop me a line – there is training available.


November 19, 2016

More student volunteer researchers…

Thanks to our enthusiastic students at the University of Leeds we have another 4 student volunteers working on adding data to the Antique Dealer project Interactive Map. Students from the undergraduate module ‘The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies and Meanings’, in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, have signed up as volunteer data entry researchers – Katie Bone, Olivia Dobson and Hannah Buckingham are all now official researchers for the project – and another of our Art Market PhD students has also signed up – Simon Spier, who is currently researching the formation of the collections at The Bowes Museum as one of our PhD Collaborative Doctoral Award students (University of Leeds & The Bowes Museum, and supervised by me…)


Our latest student volunteers – Simon, Hannah, Olivia and Katie.

Here are our latest recruits!

Thank you to our 4 latest volunteers, and thank you too to the continuing work that our other volunteers are doing – I’ve been noticing that the interactive map has been increasing in data the last few weeks…it’s great to see the map grow!


August 29, 2016

New Volunteer Researcher – Harriet Beadnell PhD student

We have a new student volunteer, working on adding data to the Antique Dealer Project Interactive Map website – see the Map here

Harriet Beadnell, is a PhD student from University of York, researching the role and representation of World War Two Veterans, Post 1945 – Harriet is an AHRC White Rose PhD student – i.e. her PhD is funded through the White Rose Consortium (Leeds, Sheffield & York universities) – and we are so pleased that she has joined the Antique Dealer project as a project volunteer.

Harriet Beadnell photo 4

Harriet Beadnell – PhD student, University of York, and project volunteer.

Harriet also has antique dealer DNA in her blood – her maternal grandfather, Jim Phillips, had a number of antique shops in and around Saltburn and Middlesborough after WWII; and her paternal grandfather was an antiques  collector and later worked as a stamp & coin dealer post WWII – so Harriet comes with a great antique dealing pedigree!

We are currently seeking more project volunteers to add data to the Project Interactive Website, so if you think you might be able to help do email the project – – we offer short training sessions on adding data to the website, and once you are set up, you can add data from anywhere!…all you need is basic computer skills….so nothing too complicated!

Thank you to Harriet for her enthusiastic help on the project – we could not deal with the masses of data still to add into the Interactive Map website without such help and support!



August 28, 2016

Final Day in ‘Action Week’ on Phillips of Hitchin archives

‘Action Week’ at the Brotherton Library Special Collections came to a close on Friday – it was an exhausting, but very productive week of cleaning and cataloguing – and thank you again to everyone that helped out with the Phillips of Hitchin archives – to the team at Brotherton Special Collections – Sharon, Francis, Tim and Joanne, (and everyone else!); and to the volunteers in the archives Helen, Matt and Riza, and our Antique Dealer project volunteers, Heather, Pauline, Sue and Yiwen – it was such a great team effort!…. here’s four of the happy volunteers (see also pictures of the volunteers in previous blog posts) –

archive action week

Action Week volunteers – L-R, Yiwen, Pauline, Heather & Sue.

There’s still an awful lot of cleaning and cataloguing to do, but we made great progress on the Phillips of Hitchin archives – and made some new discoveries…the archive is certainly beginning to reveal the rich potential that we always knew it had. And from the huge variety of materials (sales ledgers, day-books, photograph albums, correspondence files, etc etc) some fascinating stories are emerging.

One of  the tasks we undertook was the cleaning and cataloguing of some of the scores of small (6 inch high) ‘photograph albums’; they appear to date from the early 20th century, and contain a huge variety of black & white photographs of antiques – the condition of the albums is mostly fair, but many of them need a little bit of care and attention; see below for an image of the cover of one of the albums –

photo album c1910

Photograph Album, c.1900, Phillips of Hitchin archives MS/1999/4/1. Photograph courtesy of The Brotherton Library Special Collections, University of Leeds.

They contain fascinating images of the type of stock that Phillips of Hitchin traded in during  the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and there are some interesting objects – such as this late 17th century armchair, seemingly still with it’s original upholstery, but with a fascinating repair-job to the feet, which appears to have been added in the late 18th or early 19th century?

PoH MS1999.4.1.15

Photo Album, Phillips of Hitchin archives, MS1999/4/1/15. Photograph courtesy of The Brotherton Library Special Collections.

The pencil annotation below the photograph states ‘Sold’, but I wonder how long the chair retained it’s subsequent, practical, additions…and how long before it had a much more historically ‘sympathetic’ repair – if I’m honest, I quite like the old repair, it is, after all, a testimony to the history of the object.

Within the Phillips of Hitchin archives, as one would expect, there are thousands of transactions with hundreds of other antique dealers – including the most high-profile dealers at the time – as well as all the major collectors and museums one could think of……..the archive also contains a wide range of photographs of the interior displays at Phillips of Hitchin. The especially interesting images are those taken during the late 19th and early 20th centuries – including this amazing image of the ‘Corner of the English China Room’ (c.1900), showing a wide range of antique ceramics, including some (now) seemingly exceptionally rare things!

PoH English Ceramics room MS1999.4.1.17

Phillips of Hitchin archives, photo of ‘Corner of English China Room’. MS1999/4/1/17. Photograph courtesy of The Brotherton Library Special Collections.

As I say, there is an exceptionally rich potential for further research into the Phillips of Hitchin archives – and, as followers to the Antique Dealer Research Project will know, we also have an oral history interview with Jerome Phillips, the 3rd generation of the family business, and donator of the archive to the Brotherton Library Special Collections; if you would like to hear about the history of the firm from the person that really knows about it do have a listen to the interview Here’s a link to the interview –

Interview with Jerome Phillips

We are continuing to clean and catalogue the Phillips of Hitchin archives in the coming months, and will post information on any interesting discoveries, so do keep your eye on the Research Blog.




August 25, 2016

More ‘Action Week ‘ work on the Phillips of Hitchin archives

We are making steady progress this week on the enormous task of cleaning and cataloguing the Phillips of Hitchin archives at the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds. The Brotherton Library drafted in their Special Collections team, and extra volunteers, for the rest of the ‘Action Week’ project on the archive – special thanks to the hard work of Francis (conservator at the Brotherton Library), together with Sharon, (head conservator) and our team of volunteers, Sue, Pauline, Heather, Matt, Helen and Riza – we are getting through the masses of material now. Here’s the team in the Special Collections archive room at the Library, busy cleaning, all masked-up – it’s dangerous work!

action week volunteers new

Cleaning the Phillips of Hitchin Archives. L-to-R, Helen, Pauline, Heather and Matt (left-hand table) and Riza, Sue and Francis (right-hand table).

Considering that the archive had been stored in a garage in Hitchin for most of it’s life, (it dates from c.1880s-to present) the archive arrived at the Brotherton in generally good condition, although parts of the archive had been subject to damp and mould and pest – hence the need for masks and gloves for the cleaning.  The process of cleaning and cataloguing is a huge task though, and at present we are only able to undertake brief cataloguing – we’re hoping for some funding to extend and complete the task!

As one would expect, given the significance of the history of the business of Phillips of Hitchin, the archive is absolutely packed with fascinating information on high profile transactions – all yet to be discovered!…but we thought we’d give you a flavour of the kinds of material that is buried in the archive –

The client lists of Phillips of Hitchin is a veritable ‘who’s-who’ of major collectors of antiques, and hundreds of sales of museums world-wide.

The archive of Phillips of Hitchin covers over 120 years of antique dealing, and we are so grateful to Jerome Phillips, the last surviving member of this famous antique-dealing dynasty, for generously donating the archive to the Brotherton Library Special Collections, and the Centre for the Study of the Art & Antiques Market at the University of Leeds. It will, once we’ve finished cleaning and cataloguing it, be an astonishingly valuable resource for future researchers and scholars.


August 22, 2016

Phillips of Hitchin archives – action week at the Brotherton

At long last, we have started to catalogue and clean the Phillips of Hitchin archives – the archives, as you know, have been very generously donated to the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds by Jerome Phillips, the last owner of the world-famous antique dealers ‘Phillips of Hitchin’.  The business was established in the early 1880s, and remained at the Manor House, Hitchin since that time.

The archives will be a tremendous resource for scholars and researchers, but we have to get them catalogued and cleaned before we make them accessible – and that all takes time and funds!…We are making a start though, and this week The Brotherton Special Collections have devoted a whole week, and significant resources, to begin to clean and catalogue the extensive archives – there are at least 50 archive boxes to clean and catalogue…with thousands of individual items.

We have a team of archive specialists (including Sharon and Karen, the conservation and cataloguing experts) and a few eager volunteers working on the project – here are the volunteers (Yiwen, Pauline, Heather & Sue), working away, cleaning the materials –

archive action week 4

Archives Volunteers – L-R, Yiwen, Pauline, Heather and Sue.

As you can see, this is dangerous work!…the archives had been stored in a garage at The Manor House for decades, and require delicate cleaning and conservation – once this task is done, they are passed over to the cataloguers for basic level cataloguing – we are hoping for some funding for item level (i.e. individual letter/invoice/item) cataloguing…but at least we are making a start!

Even on this first day of cleaning and cataloguing the sheer quality of the Phillips of Hitchin archive is being revealed…and from these brown paper packages, treasures are emerging!

box 19 complete

Phillips of Hitchin Archive


packet corr 1960

A parcel of letters from the Phillips of Hitchin archive







We’ll update on progress and discoveries during this exciting ‘Archive Action Week’



December 2, 2015

More Student Volunteers

Four more of our undergraduate students, studying on the Art Market module, have signed up as volunteers to add data to the interactive map website – great news, as the map website is now picking up speed on the number of dealer entries etc!

Here are our new volunteers, Angharad-Lambourne-Wade, Lydia Haines, Miranda Carins and Oliver Getley, all in my office at the University of Leeds after an intensive induction session on how to add data to the website – it’s actually a bit easier than one thinks, after getting used to the sequences of data input!

oliver g etc

Angharad, Lydia, Miranda and Oliver – new student volunteers on the Antique Dealer research project.

Thank you again to all our volunteers on the Antique Dealer research project – all the help you offer is invaluable to the project!


November 23, 2015

New student volunteers for the interactive map

We are very lucky to have some new volunteers for the Antique Dealer project – 5 of our year 2 undergraduates at the University of Leeds have stepped forward to offer help on inputting data into the Interactive Map website for the project.

Leeds Uni UG volunteers

University of Leeds student volunteers – left to right – Henry, Konstantinos, Matilda, Wing, and Minty.

All of the students are taking the undergraduate module ‘The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies and Meanings’ as part of their BA (Hons) programmes in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds – so they have specific expertise in the history of the art market!

It’s great to welcome Henry Dowson, Konstantinos Michailidis, Matlida Humphreys, Wing Li, and Araminta Martin to to the project – they will be adding new dealerships and locations into the interactive website, as well as editing existing locations and correcting incorrect locations of dealerships – so really, really important work!

Thank you to the extraordinary generosity of our UG students at Leeds…they join a growing band of volunteers on the AHRC Antique Dealers project!


July 11, 2015

New Project Volunteer Researchers

We’ve had a great response to our renewed call for project volunteer researchers – thank you again to the Antique Trade Gazette and the Press Team at the University of Leeds for their help in promoting the project. Our latest volunteer researcher is Patricia Walsh, who is helping to gather information on Antique Dealers from the historic trade directories in the North West of England. These research activities are invaluable to the project and will help to contribute to the massive amount of data we need for the interactive project website….so thank you Patricia!

As well as helping with the research on the project Patricia is also a multi-media artist, working with audio, video and photography. She creates atmospheric and reflective art-works, that feature music, voice, found sounds, texts or composite imagery, all of which attempt to bridge the shifts of time. Her works often suggest the possibility of other dimensions, unseen presences and immeasurable distances, and have resonance too with unruly, fractured or discordant recollections. Most recently she contributed to and curated a Circuit Bridges/Vox Novus sound-event in Preston, which brought together new works from selected audio artists based in the USA, UK and Europe. The culminating creative exchange concert will also be presented at MC Gallery, New York, in September 2015.

patricia walsh

Patricia is also a graduate of the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, and has a BA in Fine Art. She is currently studying on the MA Antiques course, at UCLan, where her fascination with the world of antiques, dealers and collectors finds connections with her interest in archives and the documenting and recording of history.

Thank you again to Patricia…we could not make progress on the project without this very generous help.


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