A few Questions about archives…..
When someone mentions the word ‘Archive’, what first springs to mind?
- Musty papers in dusty boxes stacked in the back of a cupboard?
- Then take comfort that you are not the only one.
Why should anyone become excited over archives?
- Legibility is often poor
- The language might be awkward, or at least stilted
- The juicy plum of information lies buried deep in the heap
- Worse still: you might overlook the gem, or it might not be there in the first place.
Why then, does the Alvis Archive Trust exist?
- Because Alvis Ltd has had a far reaching effect for more than a century
- To provide a single location or search facility for all documentation related to Alvis
- Owners of an Alvis vehicle often want to know its history
- Technical solutions devised years ago are too easily forgotten
- Original documents need secure storage, and minimal wear & tear
- Original documents need protection from pest damage and environmental degradation
How does the Alvis Archive Trust make my life better?
- By assisting interested parties in obtaining information easily
- By furthering historical research
- It provides a very wide forum for discussion of all Alvis related matters
Why bother digitising documents?
- Originals that are almost illegible can be converted into easily read formats
- Information can be sent or accessed electronically: safely, cheaply, worldwide
- Files can be searched much more readily
- Information can be indexed, if not already done so
- Once digitised, regular perusal of original material becomes unnecessary
Why does it cost?
- The Trust is run entirely by volunteers, so their efforts cost nothing.
- Some digitisation requires specialist professional knowledge and equipment
- Archive storage requires secure accommodation, free from pests such as insects, birds and rodents.
- To avoid long term damage, archives need an environment that includes control of temperature, humidity and UV light.
- Visitors reasonably expect heating and lighting, desk space and chairs, toilet and refreshment facilities
How are costs to be contained?
AAT is working with several other car clubs etc, with the aim of a central, shared facility. Secure storage can be easily separated, whilst sharing a common environmentally controlled building. Kitchen and toilet facilities, working space and meeting rooms can be shared amongst participants from the different organisations. The FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs) is coordinating this activity, and establishing best practice, with the AAT closely involved.
The 1920s neon showroom sign held in the archive
What do you want from me?
The AAT is an independent charity, so it relies on donations for its existence, regular commitments made by members and patrons. A decent lump sum would give you life membership.
Additionally we value others who choose small or irregular donations, perhaps on an annual basis, or when they use services provided by the Trust.
So, Yes, we do want your financial support.
Even a bequest in your will of money or other Alvis related items.
Just as important as income, is the need for volunteers. Much of this can be done in your own home, at times to suit each individual. It includes a wide range of activities, such as collating material, interpreting and typing difficult script and translation; catching your specialist knowledge to identify sites, cars, etc. Some activity must be done within the archive, and so we encourage regular meetings that also make it a social occasion.
The bottom line is that if you are interested in Alvis, then sooner or later you will want some information. Without the Alvis Archive Trust it may well be difficult or impossible to obtain, and perhaps lost forever. At that point, you will not consider it to be a dull entity, but an important facility. Please don’t ignore us.
If you are reading this on www.alvisarchive.com you can see what has been digitised.
We welcome donations of archive material including photo collections and documentation of Alvis products. We have scanning equipment, film projectors, video recorders, cd/dvd players and microfiche readers to cater for all media. We also welcome donations to help fund the storage and display of the physical archives which are kept at: Hycilla, Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, near Wetherby LS23 6LP and is open to visitors by appointment
But doesn’t the Alvis Owner Club pay for everything?
When the AOC was incorporated, the Articles of Association provided that the Company should conserve archive material and make it available to the public. The initial trust controlled by the AOC conserved the material at negligible cost to the Club until 2017 when they agreed to fund the storage of material at Bowcliffe Hall costing £5,000 per year for the first three years then reducing to £1,000 per year from 2020 for five years in anticipation of the trust becoming self funding from voluntary contributions and grants.
They also agreed to update the Trust to charitable status and although the trustees had produced the necessary documentation to achieve this the Board decided to seek legal advice and assistance which culminated in the establishment of a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) at a cost of some £6,300 to the Club. The Trust became independent in September 2018 and regulated by the Charities Commission.
It is the Trust’s well-known view that a contribution towards the Trust’s costs should form part of the annual AOC membership fee (perhaps on an opt-out basis) and the Trustees have discussed this possibility with the Directors. Such an arrangement would underline the close links existing between the two organisations and help preserve the Trust’s archival material as a resource available to AOC members. To date no agreement has been finalised.
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