All this week, Seven Stories is celebrating our amazing archive as part of the campaign run by The National Archives - 'Explore Your Archive'. Each day will see a new theme and hashtag encouraging archives to open up online, and everyone should look forward to finding out new and exciting gems that don't often get shown off!

Today's theme is celebrating what archives have achieved in the past year. We have had a fantastic time over the past 12 months, so we are delighted to share this with you all.

We have been:


  • Hosting 27 researchers from all around the world for nearly 150 sessions
  • Taking receipt of 25 donations and purchases of new archive and books
  • Receiving 14 loans in from museums, authors and illustrators
  • Organising 2 loans out of Collection material, to Berwick and Hartlepool
  • Touring 7 major exhibitions of Collection and loaned material to Bradford, London (twice!), Belfast, Kilmarnock, Canterbury and Plymouth. These were seen by nearly 400'000 visitors
  • Blogging more than 30 posts on everything from animals to archives
  • AND...
November 2014 - Seven Stories was awarded £341,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund's Collecting Cultures programme. This enables the acquisition and transport of new material, broadening and deepening the overall Collection, and also supports cataloguing and making this material accessible to the public. Find out more here
          ©Damien Wootten for Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books. 
November 2014 - Donation of the Clive King Collection. It includes manuscripts of published and unpublished works, letters from publishers and agents, selection of fan mail, copies of published books, scripts of films and plays, draft electronic typescripts stored on floppy disks. Photograph taken by Damien Wootten for Seven Stories. 
December 2014 - Awards won by our volunteers and staff in the North East Museum Volunteers Awards 2014Ann Bayliss [left] won for ‘Contribution to Collection Care Award’, and Paula Wride [right] was Highly Commended in the ‘Contribution to Supporting Volunteers’ category. These two have been working and volunteering for Seven Stories for many many years, and it was wonderful to see them celebrated.
January 2015 - Donation of the David Fickling Collection. This comprises material relating to the career of David Fickling and the establishment and operations of David Fickling Books. It includes edited manuscripts by many of the authors David has worked with as well as correspondence.
           ©Damien Wootten for Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
February 2015 - Donation of the Beverley Naidoo Collection. The archive includes material relating to her published novels, short stories and anthologies, draft material and correspondence, as well as her non fiction titles and research into equality, diversity and multiculturalism in children's literature.  The collection also includes educational resources, fan mail and responses to Beverley's work. Photograph taken by Damien Wootten for Seven Stories. 
February 2015 - Arrival of the Paul Stickland Collection. A fantastic new collection of artwork for Paul's well known book Dinosaur Roar, arrived at Seven Stories in February. We are delighted to have this artwork in the Collection, and it complemented Paul's fantastic residency in the Seven Stories visitor centre in Summer 2014. Paul built this fantastic dinosaur head to be used in the visitor centre, and it was certainly well loved! The photo shown here is from Paul's website, have a look at what he is up to by clicking here.
February 2015 - Donation of Bernard Ashley Collection. Papers relating to Ashley's career as a writer for children, including manuscripts, correspondence and other papers. This is an accrual to our existing Ashley holdings, he also donated the annotated typescript for The Trouble with Donovan Croft in 2005.
          ©Damien Wootten for Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
February 2015 - As part of the Heritage Lottery Funding for Collecting Cultures, a new post was created. This is Danielle McAloon, our Collections and Exhibitions Assistant. She works extensively on the archive and book collections, and her name will probably be familiar to habitual blog readers!
                      ©Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
April 2015 - Donation of the Elisabeth Beresford Collection. Affectionately known in the office as being divided between 'Wombles' and 'Not Wombles' (our favourite archival category!). This substantial collection includes extensive material relating to Beresford's best-known creation 'The Wombles', including manuscripts, merchandise, correspondence relating to publications and adaptations, books, and various ephemera. The collection also includes material relating to Beresford's numerous other titles for children, her titles for adults, and her early career.
                     ©Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
April 2015 - Donation of the Michael Morpurgo Collection. Several months before donation of the material was made public, our Collections and Exhibtions Director, Archivist, Marketing Assistant and Chief Executive made the long journey down to Devon to pick up the archive. The photo shows Morpurgo signing the paperwork to hand over his papers.
April 2015 - Purchase of Barbara Firth Collection. This wonderful acquisition consists of original published artwork comprising a complete suite of cover and internal illustrations for the award winning Can't You Sleep Little Bear, plus front and back cover illustrations for the paperback version and one single sheet of original lettering (by Liz Wood of Walker Books). There is also preliminary work retained by Barbara Firth, including pencil drawings and sketches, a copy of the manuscript, photos and postcards of bears and supplementary archive material from Walker Books.



May - June 2015 - Some very lucky year 8 students from Shotten Hall in Durham worked on our new Beverley Naidoo archive, creating a new drama based on her book Journey to Jo'burg, and even got to present the play to the author herself!



April - June 2015 - For many years, the Collections office has hosted a placement student from the Heritage, Museums and Galleries Studies course at Newcastle University. This year we had the very wonderful Jennifer Patterson working with us for two months. She worked incredibly hard on all the many tasks we gave her in the store, and even got stuck in with exhibition de installation and installation over at the visitor centre. We were very sad to see her leave! 
June 2015 - One of our biggest achievements this year was installing three new exhibitions in to the newly refurbished visitor centre. Three new exhibitions opened at once, which involved a LOT of behind the scenes work from all the Collections and Exhibitions team - cataloguing, documenting, curating, not to mention the mounting and framing of around 250 works! While the visitor centre was closed, we also were happy to have a few members of staff that usually work there spending time getting to know more about the collection, and helping develop the new exhibitions. 
                       ©Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
August 2015 - Seven Stories turns 10! During August we celebrated being open to the public for 10 years. Our newly refurbished visitor centre was a brilliant way to celebrate!
June 2015 - To coincide with the newly launch Festival of Illustration in Hartlepool, we loaned several illustrations to Hartlepool Art Gallery to join their display. As part of the festival, one of our outreach facilitators, Lynn Telford, worked with 730 participants over 10 days on an associated learning project. Well done Lynn! This photo shows some of the children's drawings inspired by our Polly Dunbar artwork.
August - September 2015 - We hosted another student, the very wonderful Paula Pintos [third from left], who joined us from the University of Leon, Spain, on an Erasmus placement for 2 months. She worked extensively on both our book and archive collections, including a lot of work on the children's literature reference books, as well as our extensive David Wood archive. Paula is another face that will be greatly missed! Click here to read Paula's post on David Wood.
September 2015 - This months saw another new face in our office, Jessica Sage, who has started work as the first EVER literature Knowledge Transfer Partnership in the 40 years the programme has been running. Working hard on our Michael Morpurgo archive at the moment, Jess will be with us for 15 months.
September 2015 - The first book to be written on the Seven Stories Collection arrived in advance copy. Here is the author, Sarah Lawrance (Collections and Exhibitions Director) holding it, possibly just a bit nervous to check the final print! Sarah worked on this book for a long time, pulling together the stories behind many of the collections of illustrations in the archive. Together with her editor, the superb Deirdre McDermott of Walker Books, and help from the team here, it was released to the public in October 2015, and is available to purchase on the Seven Stories website!
September 2015 - Seven Stories and Newcastle University welcomed Karen Sands-O’Connor  as Leverhulme Visiting Fellow for 2015/2016. Karen is Professor of English at Buffalo State College, New York, and specialises in children's literature, twentieth-century British literature, literature about and from the Caribbean, and literary criticism. She is working on a major research project on publishing for a Black British child audience, working extensively with the Seven Stories Collection, and will be giving a series of lectures focusing on this topic.
            ©Damien Wootten for Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books
October 2015 - We announced the donation of the Michael Morpurgo Collection in a special event held at Seven Stories visitor centre, just after the AGM. Michael and his wife Clare Morpurgo spoke in conversation with Sarah Lawrance to an enthusiastic and delighted audience. The archive contains manuscripts, typescripts and other papers covering the entire literary career of Morpurgo to date, and will be on public display from July 2016 at Seven Stories, before going on a national tour. Photograph taken by Damien Wootten for Seven Stories. 
Phew! What a busy 12 months! 

To find out more about all the other awesome archives that are being explored this week, search for the following hashtags all over social media:


And of course, don't forget to follow Seven Stories on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @7stories, or on Facebook by searching for 'Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books'.

Seven Stories was able to support the acquisition of the Barbara Firth, Clive King, Paul Stickland, Beverley Naidoo, Michael Morpurgo, Elisabeth Beresford and David Fickling archives through support from a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Collecting Cultures’ grant. This has been awarded to Seven Stories in recognition of the museum’s national role in telling a comprehensive story of modern British children’s literature. For more information on our HLF Collecting Cultures project see: