The FARNE - Folk Archive Resource North East was an exciting and innovative project tasked with bringing Northumbrian music to people's homes across the world. Supported by the New Opportunities Fund in 2001-2003, FARNE gathered unique material from a range of museums, libraries and archives across North East England to create a folk music archive on the Internet. Material including song lyrics, tunes, sound recordings and photographs are all available online from the Archive at FARNE Archive
From Atkinson's tunebook of 1694 to twentieth century sound recordings the FARNE archive illustrates how life and times have changed in the North East, with songs about industry, conflicts, leisure and entertainment. FARNE shows how music has developed in the region, allowing us to celebrate our rich cultural heritage today.
Content for the Archive came from a range of organisations who were all partners in the project. These are:
The Black Gate, Newcastle provided printed material from the Society of Antiquaries
Beamish Museum provided tunes, sound recordings and photos
Chantry Bagpipe Museum, Morpeth provided a number of rare tunebooks
Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections (ASC) provided a number of 19th song sheets
Gateshead Council's Libraries Service managed the project
Hexham Border Library provided sound recordings
Newcastle City Library provided many items including songs, letters and images from Thomas Allan, a local printer and publisher, and a range of other unique songs
Northumberland Record Office provided a lot of key resources, including our oldest item, Henry Atkinson's tunebook from 1694.
The Sage Gateshead were a key partner and provided advice and guidance throughout the project via regular Steering Group meetings.
South Shields Library provided items including a selection of rare Ned Corvan song sheets from the mid 19th century.
Sunderland Local Studies Library provided a number of items, in particular an eighteenth century book of poems by local comedian J Cawdell.
Tyne and Wear Archives Service provided a range of material, a particularly exciting find being a rare copy of an original George Ridley song book from the mid 19th century.
University of Newcastle upon Tyne contributed much material from its Special Collections and also a home for our digitisation work.
The FARNE Project was funded for a two year period. It became clear from an early stage that digitisation could proceed long beyond these two years. So the FARNE team set about drawing up a Content Selection Policy to help to prioritise material. This policy drove the decisions we made regarding inclusion of material on the FARNE site.
We bore the following points in mind:
Is the item particularly indicative of a development in Northumbrian music, or unique in some way?
Are we presenting a good range of material by date, to give an indication of the development of music over time? We decided that music of the folk revival period should not be included, since it was another project in itself.
Is the item in urgent need of preservation? Is the original extremely fragile?
How accessible to the public is the item already? Has a reprint of the original been published?
Ease of digitisation
How will the item copy? Is it a photocopy or an original?
How useful will the item be to our end users? Is it still of practical interest as a musical work?
Are we presenting a wide geographic spread of material?
Overlap of content
Is material very similar to that which has already been selected?
The Archive is still maintained by Gateshead Libraries. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries about the archive or re-use of items.