The Vintage Glider Club Archive is currently stored in a secure room at Bicester airfield, in Oxfordshire, UK. The Archive is under the control of the VGC Archivist who is assisted by a small number of VGC Members.
The Archive consists of Drawings, Design Documentation and Design Records including Flight Test reports and Manuals for mostly UK designed and manufactured Gliders produced by companies such as Elliots of Newbury, Slingsby etc. It is the largest collection of manufacturer's design and production information for British Gliders in the world.
Additionally the Archive houses various personal collections of Gliding memorabilia and photographs
The Archive also holds a huge photographic archive which consists of in excess of 5000 photographs, movie film CDs and DVDs from various sources.
The Vintage Glider Club Archive here in the UK is looking in very good form at the moment. As you may, or not know, we have many important documents, plans and photographs, in addition to many aircraft and pilots logbooks stored there. The Archive process as a whole is now progressing through six stages, cleaning, scanning, cataloguing, indexing, cross-referencing, conservation and then storage. All of these tasks are in various stages of completion, with the many artefacts in the Archive. It is however moving on slowly, but surely.
Most of the Slingsby and Elliott’s plans are available for research. Many of the Slingsby aircraft flight tests and pilot’s notes make very interesting reading if you are lucky enough to own one of these aircraft.
The photographic collection is slowly being catalogued and scanned. This operation takes the most amount of time as one photograph has to be carefully cleaned, scanned, annotated and then returned to storage where it can be found again. Now multiply this by several thousand. Also to be mentioned are the large number of slides which go through the same process as the photographs.
The aircraft plans are mostly stored in flat plan chests. We have a large number already digitised and the rest if needed can be scanned one by one, this will take time however. The ideal situation is to eventually have every one transferred to digital format in case we lose the paper copy, now multiply this by several hundred!
The Archive is growing slowly and we are always looking to add further artefacts to the collection. This will ensure that our gliding past is kept safe and is available to anyone interested in historical research or technical information that is needed to keep a Vintage Glider flying.
I estimate that we get an enquiry at least once a week, which is normally answered as quickly as possible. We cannot answer all the questions, but we try. We of course all have our own private collections that we have put together over many years.
I myself have a large stock of information and photographs on the Slingsby Eagle aircraft, which I have an interest in as I own one of these aircraft and is being refurbished at the moment. Which begs the question, what if someone needs some information on this type of aircraft and they go to the Vintage Glider Club? They will look in the Archive and find some information, but not all of it. So the answer remains unanswered until they ask around to see if anyone else can help.
Yes I know that I am the UK Archivist and may have the answers at my fingertips, but if in a few years I choose to move on, then I could take my collection with me and people will have to find me to ask the question. So what I am going to do this year is place my Eagle collection into the UK Vintage Glider Club Archive where it will be more easily accessible and make the information more contained in one place.
This will also cheer my wife up as it was taking up quite a lot of space and how often did I look at it anyway? One of the reasons for bringing this up is that there is an increasing number of people asking for information on the social networks.
This sometimes means asking one question and getting ten different answers. May I gently suggest that you try the Archives first, we may have the official answer you require.
One of my aims this year is to set up a contact network between the other Archives that exist all over the globe, so that any questions or requests can have a wider net to cast. If you are an Archivist and would like to be part of this, then do not hesitate to contact me.
The other reason is to ask, if at some point in the future you would like to downsize your collection, you can ask the Archives direct if you can donate it to their collection. You will almost be assured of a positive reply. If advertised on the social network, it will be passed on and possibly lost forever, this way your collection will stay complete and available to all.
I hope this has given you an insight to the workings of the Archives and Archivists that do all their work behind the scenes, who are often looking out of the window wishing they were flying!
HD Copies of Photographs From Archive
|£2.00 per item||£3.00 per item|
|Post||£2.00 + cost of media + Postage (min £1.50)||£3.00 + cost of media + Postage (min £1.50)|
|£3.50 per Item + Postage (minimum £1.50)||£4.00 per Item + Postage (minimum £1.50)|
Copy of Drawings
|A0||£12.50 per sheet on paper £8.50 Digital Copy P&P at cost Minimum £3.00||£16.00 per sheet on paper £12.50 Digital Copy P&P at cost Minimum £3.00|
|A1 & A2||£8.50 per sheet on paper £6.00 Digital Copy P&P Cost Minimum £3.00||£12.50 per sheet on paper £8.50 Digital Copy P&P Cost Minimum £3.00|
|A3 & A4||£4.50 per sheet on paper £3.00 digital copy P&P cost Minimum £3.00||£6.50 per sheet on paper £5.50 digital copy P&P Cost Minimum £3.00|
For other work
Archive search Members £30.00 (This is for up-to 2 hours in the archive £15.00 per hour thereafter)
Non Members £35.00 (This is for up-to 2 hours in the archive £20.00 per hour thereafter)
Chris Wills Collection
This is a collection of Photographs collected by Chris Wills over his lifetime.