The Joan Skinner Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Joan Skinner was writing a book on Leicester's nineteenth century industrial heritage when she died and the core of the collection consists of a series of folders on Leicester factories, containing typed and handwritten notes, press cuttings and articles, photographs, correspondence, booklets and plans. There is a further series of folders, containing similar material on other Leicester buildings and landmarks, and a third series, relating to Dr Skinner's background research and methodology. The archive also contains a large collection of slides and photographs of buildings primarily in Leicester, but also some in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff. The archive incorporates a selection of rolled plans and elevations of Leicester factories. The contents of the archive demonstrate Joan Skinner's extensive knowledge of the industrial and commercial history of Leicester and its buildings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr Joan S. Skinner (1923-2006) was a highly respected industrial historian, author and campaigner to preserve Leicester's Victorian and Edwardian heritage. She married in 1948 and moved to Leicester in 1950, as a result of her husband's work. When her marriage broke up in 1964, she worked as a dressmaker, following in her mother's footsteps, and brought up her three sons and a niece. She found work in the new Biochemistry department of the University of Leicester, founded in 1960, and became personal assistant to Professor Sir Hans L. Kornberg from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. During the 1960s she decided to complete her education and studied for her 'A' levels at Alderman Newton's School and then, encouraged by Professor Kornberg, for a B.A. in History at the Open University, which she was awarded in 1975 at the age of 52. She left the Biochemistry department to study for a second degree in History of Art and Design in the Modern Period at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University). During this period she researched the Leicester firm Dryad and worked on building up the historical archive of Dunlop. She was awarded a doctorate in architectural history from Liverpool University in 1990, and in 1997 her thesis was published as: 'Form and Fancy: Factories and Factory Buildings by Wallis Gilbert & Partners, 1916-1939'. She was one of the founder members of the Leicester Group of the Victorian Society and remained a committee member and energetic defender of Leicester's industrial heritage, until her death in 2006.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to bona fide researchers. The Special Collections is open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Access by appointment only. Contact specialcollections@le.ac.uk to make an appointment.

Acquisition Information

Deposited with the University of Leicester Library by the Leicester Group of the Victorian Society in April 2011.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Margaret Maclean on 15 July 2011.

Conditions Governing Use

Much of the material in the archive may remain in copyright. Copyright of Joan Skinner's own papers is held by her estate. Copyright of the residual material, such as letters written to her and works by other authors, remains with individual authors. Photocopies of material can be supplied for private research purposes only. However, it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian before reproductions can be made. It is also the researcher's responsibility to obtain the relevant copyright holder's permission to publish or cite papers from the archive. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian prior to publication. The Library will not be responsible for any failure on the part of authors and publishers to seek such permission to publish. Readers are required to sign a form accepting these conditions.

Personal Names