LOTTERY money is to fund the public purchase of the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive, it has been announced today, Tuesday.
Warwickshire County Council has been successful in its bid for £51,300 to help buy the collection and also create a new archive featuring an oral history collection of memories from former employees and those with family connections to the company.
In addition, ten schools will help Heritage and Culture Warwickshire pilot STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) workshops engaging children with the engineering and technological know-how behind the Healey brand.
The lottery money was the final piece needed to purchase the collection which included funding from the PRISM fund (Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material), Friends of National Libraries, King Henry VIII Trust Warwick, Head 4 Healeys Ltd, Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office, Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society and a number of generous private donations.
The fundraising campaign was also promoted in the January-February edition of the Austin-Healey magazine, a magazine produced by the Austin Healey Club USA (AHCUS), which has members is 29 countries and almost every state in America.
It will now take pride of place amongst Warwickshire’s valued archive collections at Warwickshire County Record Office.
Once the project is complete the collection will be available to anyone wishing to use it for research and will stand as a permanent legacy to the achievement and ingenuity of the Healey family in Warwick, the birthplace of the company.
The Healey Motor Company was founded in 1945 by Donald Healey, a successful car designer and rally driver. It was based in an old aircraft components factory off Millers Road in Warwick.
It produced two-seater sports cars until 1953 when Mr Healey began a partnership with the British Motor Corporation to produce cars under the Austin-Healey marque and then West Bromwich-based Jensen.
The company archives consists of 20 large boxes of material, including unique, early R&D designs, business records, printed material and correspondence of the company’s involvement in motor racing and test results for land speed records. There are also numerous photographs of various Healey models including action shots and celebrities.
It was put up for sale at a cost of £120,000 by the grandchildren of the car company’s founder, Donald Healey.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio holder for Heritage and Environment, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“The project reminds us all of Warwickshire’s proud manufacturing and motoring heritage and that Warwickshire is a great place to do business.
“I am confident the project will support young people to develop new skills and an interest in their local heritage.’
Cllr Philip Johnson, chairman of the council’s Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee, added: ” How fitting that the Healey archive should find a home in the town where the early models were conceived and built. The company made an important contribution to the identity of post-war Warwick with its Cape Road works and showrooms in Coten End”
There will be some Healey cars on display at a Vintage Fair at St John’s House, Warwick, on Sunday, 10th April, from 11am to 4pm.
Entry is free, with stalls, a vintage hair stylist as well as archivists from Warwickshire County Record Office and a glimpse of some treasures from the Warwick Healey Motor Company Archive.