Boaters & Bright Sparks exhibition at Rugby

The Boaters & Bright Sparks project at Warwickshire County Record Office (WRCO) to catalogue and conserve the engineering and power generation records of the Willans Works site in Rugby has officially finished and following a publicity event at the Record Office in June a similar event was held on 4 August at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum (RAGM).

One of the banners about the Boaters & Bright Sparks project on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum in August 2015

One of the banners about the Boaters & Bright Sparks project on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum in August 2015

Speakers talked about the project and people at the event were able to look at archive material on display. This includes records held by RAGM and duplicate items transferred from the Record Office to the Museum. The temporary display lasts until Friday 21 August but other material already in RAGM’s permanent exhibitions will continue to be on view.

Some of the temporary Willans Works exhibits on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum until 21 August 2015

Some of the temporary Willans Works exhibits on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum until 21 August 2015

Project Archivist Gary Collins talked about Boaters & Bright Sparks in general and the records that covered Willans & Robinson, English Electric, GEC and Alstom. Project volunteer Alain Foote talked about the history of the Willans Works and British Thomson-Houston sites in Rugby, and Jan Shearsmith from the Museum of Science & Industry helped put things in context by talking about archives of some the above companies relating to the Trafford Park site in Manchester.

Some of the Willans Works items on permanent display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum

Some of the Willans Works items on permanent display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum

The event was opened by Cllr Richard Dodd the Mayor of Rugby and included current Alstom staff and former staff who worked at the Willans site. The Friends of RAGM is planning an oral history project to interview people connected with the Willans Works and would like from hear from those who would be willing to take part in this initiative.