The Warwickshire County Record Office bid to save the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive, making it publicly available for future generations, has gathered speed with the support of the Austin Healey Club USA (AHCUS).
The AHCUS produced Austin-Healey Magazine delivers international exposure to Healey enthusiasts invested in the heritage of the brand. A full page article will feature in the upcoming January-February 2016 magazine. Boasting members from 29 countries and almost every US state, the AHCUS’s promotion of the bid highlights the global significance of both the Warwickshire birthplace of this iconic car manufacturer synonymous with celebrities and speed, and the interest in securing public access to the archive.
The company archive, known as the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive, has been offered for purchase to Warwickshire County Record Office for permanent preservation. This would mean that the collection would remain in the county town, available for public research with the potential to be used by Heritage Education and local schools to develop the next generation of engineers. If sufficient funding is secured, digitisation from the archive would deepen the opportunities for international exposure.
Founder Donald Healey’s granddaughter, Kate Healey, said “It was a big decision for us to find the best home for this collection which our father saved. We are sure this is the best place for it as it can be viewed by everyone equally for free in perpetuity. It goes without saying that it was also the birthplace of the cars.”
So far, Warwickshire County Record Office have raised £17,750 thanks to the Friends of the National Libraries, King Henry VIII Trust, Warwick and other sources and have planned bids for £72,500 to PRISM and the Heritage Lottery Fund. However a further £30,000 is needed from public donations to secure the future of the collection. The Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office are leading this campaign and have raised £4000 so far. Funding will be used to purchase the collection, preventing its dispersal into private hands at auction and will also enable access meeting the considerable costs of cataloguing, conservation and promotion.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “Warwickshire’s industrial heritage is something to shout about. The Healey brand is known throughout the world and deserves celebration here too. This project has already attracted international attention. We need to build on that to secure Warwickshire’s reputation as a great place for business.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of Warwickshire County Council’s Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee, said: “The Healey Motor Company is rooted deep within the heritage of this county and is something that should be celebrated proudly. The world renowned brand is a symbol for Warwickshire industrial innovation, and we must capitalise on this recent recognition to secure its future.”
If you would like to help ensure the Healey Archive is saved for posterity and made available for public research and use by Warwickshire schools, please donate today. Make your cheque payable to ‘Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office’ and send it c/o WCRO, Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS.