The New Jerusalems: post-war New Town archives in Britain and Ireland


  • Durham County Record Office, United Kingdom

  • West Sussex County Council, United Kingdom

  • Hertfordshire County Council, United Kingdom

  • Berkshire Record Office, United Kingdom

  • Cheshire Archives and Local Studies, United Kingdom

  • Essex Record Office, United Kingdom

  • Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, United Kingdom

  • Gwent Archives, United Kingdom

  • University of Limerick, Ireland

Project summary

The project will make accessible for research eleven archives from post-war new towns in England, Wales and Ireland.  Eight of these archives will be catalogued and all will be safeguarded through conservation and preservation work.  The new towns included are: Basildon, Bracknell, Crawley, Cwmbran, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Redditch, Runcorn, Shannon, Stevenage and Warrington.

The archives are held by nine partner organisations brought together through the Association of New Towns Archives and Museums.  The Association builds on existing academic partnerships, and this project will develop those further.  Key outcomes include not only itemised catalogues and protected collections, but also a collaborative dissemination programme.

This project will provide a substantial increase in the evidence base available for researchers seeking to interrogate the new towns’ legacy. The project is particularly timely in the context of the current public health emergency.  New towns have much to contribute to current policy making in urban planning and public health including: new homes to reduce overcrowding; generous public green space; amenities within 15 minutes of the home; and supporting walking and cycling. There is renewed interest in many aspects of new town design as plans are made for social recovery in the aftermath of Covid-19.