Students in the History Department have been making use of the Modern Records Centre in their research for long essays and dissertations on the history of Britain in the 1970s. Here is a sample of what they have been doing:

HISTORY OF PUNK, Anastasia Schulze

Last year, I wrote my assessed essay in the module Britain in the Twentieth Century about the history of punk and how it defined itself as a subculture. To illustrate some of the central aspects of the punk ideology – especially their anti-mainstream, DIY ethic – I wanted to use some primary material created by punks at the time. The MRC has an impressive array of material on punk and was my first port of call as it is local. Perusing the archives, I found a variety of fanzines (individually made and distributed magazines that dealt with things like music reviews, political issues and fashion trends) which, as the mouthpiece of contemporary punks, were an invaluable insight into 1970s punk culture. One of them, an issue of Not the Woman’s Own, was an excellent example of how punks used references to mainstream culture to distance themselves from it, the most visually striking of which was an image of Marilyn Monroe with a spiky punk haircut! I feel these sources enriched my essay because they provided a visually exciting example of original punk culture, making my analysis more lively.


The Modern Records Centre has proved a valuable resource for the initial stages of my dissertation research. The MRC‘s copies of 70s radical publications, including Spare Rib and Zero were actually what initially sparked my interest in the wider implications of the women’s movement, particularly male consciousness-raising. This has led me to undertake further research into a ‘crisis of masculinity’ in the 70s, which various articles taken from magazines available in the MRC helped to shape. Having narrowed my focus to two main streams of the intellectualised men’s movement/liberation, and working class male working culture, I hope to look further into the MRC‘s collection of Trade Union documents in order to corroborate patterns theorised in my secondary readings.

For more information on using the MRC please see here.

Click here to search our catalogue. 

We also offer individual guidance sessions, where one of our experienced archivists will help you to find material relevant to your topic. For more information or to book a short session please see here.


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