National Campaigns

Access to the countryside and the 'freedom to roam' movement
The papers of Howard Hill, a Sheffield-born electrician and trade unionist, include material relating to his part in the ‘freedom to roam’ movement. By the mid-1930s he was an active Communist, later becoming secretary of the Sheffield branch of the Party and a town councillor. He was a keen rambler from the early 1930s, when he joined the Pack Rambling Club, and was a participant in the mass trespasses organised on Kinder Scout and elsewhere in 1932, which he later described in his book Freedom to roam: the struggle for access to Britain's moors and mountains (1980). On his retirement in 1975 he became active in the Ramblers' Association.

There are 38 files and bundles of research papers and drafts of Freedom to roam, as well as original or photocopied material from the period, including photographs of rambling groups and mass trespasses, correspondence, membership cards, newsletters and programmes of rambling clubs based in Sheffield, the Peak District and the North East, especially the Spartacus Ramblers, and articles by and about the Sheffield rambler GHB Ward, founder of the Clarion Ramblers in 1900. [U DHH]

Anglican Evangelical Group Movement
The AEGM started in 1906 as a small, informal grouping of discontented evangelicals within the Church of England. The Group Movement, as it was initially called, began in Liverpool, with FS Guy Warman, then vicar of Birkenhead, as secretary. Regional groups were quickly set up and a series of pamphlets produced under the title, English Church Manuals. The Group's heyday was during the 1920s and 1930s, when its message focused on freedom of religion and thought, and on the conversion power of the Gospel (known as 'Liberal evangelism'). In 1923 the Group Movement was renamed the AEGM and it began to hold a yearly meeting called the Cromer Convention. Bible readings at these conventions were often given by Canon Storr, who emerged as effective leader until his death in 1940. The organisation dissolved itself at its last annual conference in 1967 on the grounds that the job it originally set out to do had largely been achieved.

The surviving collection of 100 or so items includes minutes of annual general meetings (1930-1967), and of the Central Committee (1926-1967), as well as minute books of other committees, including the Liverpool Six (1907-1911). There are subject files, plus indexes and lists of members with related correspondence, and miscellaneous financial records. [U DEM]

Association of British Counties
The Association of British Counties exists to promote awareness of the 86 historic (or traditional) counties of Britain and their role in the history, geography and cultural life of the country. The Association monitors and scrutinises the impact of government policies and legislation on the historic counties, especially local government reorganisation, and campaigns in favour of using the historic counties in postal addresses, guide books, boundary signs and maps.

The archives held cover the late 1960s through to the 1990s and are not yet catalogued. They include correspondence and files relating to local campaigns, other pressure groups and related local or national organisations. [U DAB]

Association for the Protection of Sea-Birds
During the 1860s the Victorian obsession with egg collecting and shooting wild animals, particularly birds, reached a peak. A noted black spot for the slaughter of sea birds for 'sport' was the area around Bempton and Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast. Concern amongst ornithologists led Rev. Henry Frederick Barnes - Lawrence, who was then vicar of the Priory Church of Bridlington, to call a meeting of local clergy and naturalists in 1868 to consider ways of stopping the practice. This led to the formation of the Association for the Protection of Sea-Birds. Leading members and supporters included local landowners, the Archbishop of York, and several local Members of Parliament. One of these, Christopher Sykes MP, of Brantingham Thorpe, introduced a parliamentary bill which had the support of many scientific organisations. In June 1869 this reached the Statute Book as the Sea Birds Preservation Act, providing protection for 35 species by introducing a closed season running annually from 1 April to 1 August. After its early success the Association for the Protection of Sea-Birds was quickly wound up.

This small collection of 216 items comprises mainly letters to Rev. HF Barnes-Lawrence, between 1868 and 1874, including from Rev. FO Morris, Professor Alfred Newton, John Cordeaux, Frank Buckland and Christopher Sykes MP. There is also some contemporary publicity material, including,unusually, five poems by Richard Wilton, appealing on behalf of sea birds. [U DSB]

The Watch Ashore
The Watch Ashore was formed in 1933 so that the wives and mothers of the Officers in the Merchant Navy could assist in the work to improve conditions at a time of intense depression within the British shipping industry. Various branches throughout Britain provided a useful social service where members were able to meet others who shared the loneliness and special responsibilities that resulted in having husbands, fathers and sons away for long periods. There are currently 6 branches who still take part in charity fund raising, outings and activities and representatives on various Merchant Navy Welfare Boards and are involved in the Seafarers Link, a phone service for retired seafarers.

The archives held cover 1933 to 2010. They mainly include minutes, correspondence, photographs and papers relating to the national level of the organisation with some local branches also represented. [U DWA]