Records of the Red Rose Guild from the period 1921-1962 (from the foundation of the Guild up to the foundation of the Northern Crafts Centre), a few records of Guild activities after 1963, and the file of the last secretary, recording the Guild's demise in the mid-1980s.
The Record Books contain comprehensive records of the initial exhibition and the Annual Exhibitions 1921-1956, as well as other records including some programmes of Guild events, and there are posters from the 1930s and a visitors book, 1956-1962.
Other records from that period include signed minutes of annual general meetings and committee meetings, 1923-1949, annual reports, 1922-1930 and 1936-1942, accounts for the years 1921-1929 and 1938, lists of members, histories of the Guild, and newspaper cuttings. Three files of correspondence survive from the period of the Second World War, on the subjects of the Central Institute of Art and Design scheme for training disabled people in craft workshops, the Exhibition of Modern British Crafts which toured the USA and the attempt to form a Master Craftsman Group within the Red Rose Guild.
Apart from a stray copy of the minutes of a 1954 committee meeting (now filed in RRG/5/3/5/8), minutes later than 1949 have not been found.
No records from 1963-1974, when the Red Rose Guild was part of the Northern Crafts Centre, have been found, apart from a 'Photograph file', which appears to date from the 1960s, probably related to applications to exhibit at Guild exhibitions, a file 'Correspondence L' containing some routine correspondence and a copy of the catalogue of the 1967 exhibition of Leach pottery, and catalogue, poster etc., for the 50th anniversary exhibition in 1971.
Records after 1974 comprise: a file which appears to be the secretary's file, containing lists of members , press releases , instructions about exhibitions, 1977 and 1980, and newspaper cuttings; a file which appears to be a publicity officer's file, containing copies of minutes and accounts, 1980-1982, a publicity leaflet, 1977, newsletters, 1979-1984, instructions and correspondence about exhibitions, 1980 and 1982, and correspondence with the Guild of Yorkshire Craftsmen 1980; and catalogues and posters for Guild exhibitions, 1976-1982.
Dr Alex McErlain, who was the Guild's treasurer c.1980, wrote in 2003 of the Guild's records 'I remember with horror now the condition it was in and the decisions to throw away great chunks of it that seemed to be duplicated!'
It appears that some Red Rose Guild records have gone astray. A manuscript list in the file, headed 'Penny Thompson' with an address in Manchester, includes items such as '1921 minute book of the Cttee' and '1921 record of Guild meetings' and annual reports for the years 1932, 1939, 1950, 1956, 1959-60 and 1961-3. None of these survive in the archive. Another letter, dated October 1984, was to accompany a copy of a dissertation by Penny Thompson 'about the Red Rose Guild', so it is assumed that the records were loaned to her for her studies. It seems possible that the main archive came to the Crafts Study Centre when the loaned items were still with the researcher – the record of the transfer to the Crafts Study Centre is date 27 July 1983. It is possible that the items which returned to the secretary after Penny Thompson had finished with them were among the things which went to the Whitworth Gallery in 1991.
The file kept by the last secretary (RRG/13/8) illustrates the decline of the Guild in the 1980s, its contents including correspondence about the search for exhibition venues, attempts at publicity, and the lack of candidates for offices.
Good-quality photographs survive of exhibitions and objects, in the Record Books 1920-1956 (RRG/2), in the Catalogues of work available for sale [1920s] (RRG/7), in the 'Photograph file' [1960s] (RRG/13/2), and in section RRG/14.