Document Reference NumberJS
Acc No2017/25
TitleThe Joan Skinner Archive
DescriptionDr 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.
Date19th-20th century
Extent10 linear metres
AdminHistoryDr 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.
AccessConditionsRegistered members of the Library may consult items within the Joan Skinner Archive. Members of the public can obtain a reference only membership free of charge.
AccessStatusAvailable for general access
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