St John Archive

The Archive receives an Archives Revealed cataloguing grant!

Museum of the Order of St John Sophie Denman, Archivist

The Museum of the Order of St John is delighted to announce that it has been awarded an Archives Revealed cataloguing grant of £35,000!

Archives Revealed is a funding partnership between The National Archives, Pilgrim Trust, and The Wolfson Foundation, which supports the cataloguing of significant collections representing the lives and perspectives of all people across the UK and making them publicly accessible for research and enjoyment.

The grant will allow the Museum to fund a Project Cataloguer for 14 months from October 2023 to catalogue the early records of St John Ambulance from c.1870-1939. This project will transform public access to the early records of the international first aid charity, St John Ambulance which was founded in the 19th century as a response to healthcare challenges faced by communities in industrial Britain. Volunteers learnt first aid skills that they could apply at home, in the workplace, and in public spaces, decades before the founding of the National Health Service and the welfare state. The collection is relevant to communities across England, particularly in the heartlands of Victorian Britain where industries such as mining and manufacturing flourished and injuries at work were all too common. The project will produce the first comprehensive catalogue of these records, which offer huge untapped research potential across the humanities and social sciences, linking to medical history, voluntarism, emergency and disaster planning, gender studies and global and colonial history.

“The Museum of the Order of St John is thrilled to have been awarded an Archives Revealed Cataloguing Grant, which will enable us to make the early archives of St John Ambulance accessible and searchable for the very first time. Covering more than half a century, the archives document the organisation’s origins and early history, from c.1870 to the eve of the Second World War, and are an invaluable resource for researchers, students, and all those with an interest in the history of one of the world’s best-known healthcare charities. With the 150th anniversary of St John Ambulance’s foundation on the horizon in 2027, this transformational cataloguing project could hardly be more timely and we are extremely grateful to The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and The Wolfson Foundation for their generous support”

(Professor William Purkis, Professor of Medieval History (University of Birmingham) and Priory Librarian at St John).

The Museum will be running an inclusive and accessible programme of events throughout the duration of the project to share new discoveries and invite new perspectives. It is a huge achievement to receive this grant, and we cannot wait to get the project started and share progress updates and treasures from the collection!

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