YHA’s Historical Archive is now publicly available at the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham.
Members of the public can access YHA’s historical records. The Archive includes national and regional records, reports, minute books, handbooks, publications, photographs, personal memories, Local Groups materials, and ephemera representing its 80-year span. The materials have come from internal sources, former employees of YHA and the public in general.
Work started in 2006 to collate, protect and catalogue the YHA’s rich heritage of historical items with a view to its eventual deposit in a publicly-accessible Special Collections library. The Archive was transferred in stages to the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, in 2010-11. There has already been considerable repackaging to archival standards. The stock of historical YHA films has been moved to the safe keeping of the Yorkshire Film Archive.
Archive acquisitions will continue to be collected and catalogued by YHA at Matlock, and transferred at intervals to the Cadbury Research Library. An interim catalogue, to be augmented in stages, is already online at http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/Record.aspx?src=DServe.Catalog&id=XYHA while a fully itemised catalogue of some 8,000 items or lots will be specially available. Some study guides have been included and more will be prepared.
The Archive will be of particular interest to those researching :
– The history of youth hostelling and outdoor leisure
– The YHA’s network and properties
– British social history from the time of the Great Depression and the Kinder Trespass
– The exigencies of the war years, requisition and evacuation
– The post-war mass British youth adventure culture, school journeys, and other special provision for youth
– Provision for family and group hostelling
– Walking, cycling and activity holidays
– The marked connection between the early YHA and philanthropic socially-pioneering groups such as the Quakers, Toc H, the National Trust, the National Parks, various Countryside bodies and other holiday providers such as HF and CHA.