Thomas Cook’s 178-year history could be digitally preserved after the company’s archive was granted a new home in the county where the operator was launched.
The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland has been selected as the new permanent site of Cook’s artefact collection, following the iconic travel firm’s collapse in September.
Thousands of individual items – from staff records to posters, travel guides and timetables – feature in the archive.
It also includes 60,000 photographs and souvenirs such as glass and china, uniforms through the ages and a Nile steamer model.
The record office was awarded the collection following a bidding process by the Business Archives Council and the Official Receiver.
It took three weeks for the archive to be moved 40 miles from Cook’s former Peterborough headquarters.
Senior archivist Jenny Moran told TTG the office had applied for a grant to fund the digitisation of the collection into an online catalogue in order to “share it with the world”.
“I’ve been an archivist for 25 years and have never seen anything like [the archive]. It’s wonderful and still so relatable to us now as it’s about holidays and travelling the world,” she said.
Members of the public can make appointments to view the collection, while a summer exhibition is being organised in conjunction with Leicester City Council.
Moran believed keeping Cook’s artefacts local to their “natural home” of Leicestershire appealed to decision- makers overseeing the bidding process.
Thomas Cook launched in 1841 when its founder and namesake organised a trip for the temperance supporters of Leicester to visit nearby Loughborough, with 500 passengers paying one shilling each.