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Industrial Mission Association Archive

Date range: 1942–2003

Medium: Archive

The Industrial Mission Association of Great Britain was founded in 1959 to provide ministry in the workplace and to revitalise the Church of England in its relations with the industrial working classes.

Sheffield was the birthplace of industrial mission in Britain; the Bishop of Sheffield appointed Ted Wickham (1911-94) as the country’s first industrial chaplain in 1944. At the movement’s height in the 1970s there were 115 full-time and 175 part-time clergy engaged in industrial chaplaincy work, but the decline of traditional industries and increasing secularism inevitably had an adverse impact on the IMA in recent decades.

This substantial archive documents the history of the Industrial Mission Association and the work of industrial mission teams in more than twenty areas in Britain and, to a lesser extent, industrial missions overseas. There is particularly good coverage of Coventry, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Northumberland and North Durham, Sheffield and Teeside.

Papers include minutes, reports and papers, correspondence, press cuttings and ephemera of the Association and other Christian organizations such as the World Council of Churches and the British Council of Churches.

The collection is significant for studies of the lay ministries, industrial missions and the ecumenical movement,and for wider social studies of unemployment, the impact of industrial decline and economic change on the labour-force and communities, the Church’s response to these problems, and Church-State relations.

In 2006 the Library received a small quantity of papers from the widow of Rev. Ian Mackay (1931–2003) concerning Sheffield Industrial Mission, 1963–95, including papers relating to the virtual break up of the Mission in 1965/6, and to mission work in the steel industry.

More recently Rev. Michael Atkinson, secretary of the IMA from 1969 to 1975, transferred his papers to the Library, dating from 1958 to 2003. There have also been several smaller accessions of related material in more recent years.

See also:

Further information:

  • Catalogues available via Special Collections Reading Rooms; some parts of the archive are uncatalogued.
  • J. W. Rogerson (ed.), Industrial Mission in a Changing World: Papers from the Jubilee Conference of the Sheffield Industrial Mission (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1996).
  • Emma Bell, ‘Whose Side Are They on? Patterns of Religious Resource Mobilization in British Industrial Mission’, Management & Organizational History, vol. 1 (2006), pp. 331–47.


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