The work of the NDS obliged it to maintain a filing system, to collect and store data, and to gather directories and other reference books. By the time the NDS was closed down in 1964 all three elements – archives, databank and library – were occupying considerable space. Parts of all three were taken over by the Catholic Education Council in March, 1964. The remainder went with Spencer to Cavendish Square Graduate College, and were the foundation of the PRC archives, databank and library.

Very large additions were made between 1964 and 1969, particularly those connected with the PRC’s element in the ‘ISS-FERES Project’, a research programme funded by the Ford Foundation. By 1970, when the PRC moved to Belfast, there were – in addition to the collection inherited from the NDS – four new sub-collections, each having library, archival and databank elements: the main PRC sub-collection, the Third World Collection, the New Zealand Collection, and the Scottish.

While the PRC was in Northern Ireland additions were made to all three elements of the Newman Collection, and a completely new sub-collection was accumulated, on the development of integrated education in N. Ireland.

With the Newman Collection back in England in 2000, and the Trust established in 2007, the Trustees gave much attention to providing for its future use by socio-religious researchers. Negotiations led by one of the Trustees, Dr Clive Field, led in 2011 to the signature of an agreement with Durham University, the home of the Centre for Catholic Studies, providing for the transfer of most of the core collection to Durham University on the death or earlier incapacity of Spencer.

Agreement in principle was long ago reached with the Curator of the Alexander Turnbull Collection, associated with the New Zealand National Archives, for the New Zealand sub-collection (on the organisation of Catholic education in New Zealand) to be sent eventually to Wellington. A similar agreement has been made with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland for the deposit of the integrated education sub-collection. Due to the reorganisation of the Scottish Catholic Archives the Scottish sub-collection will eventually go with the main Newman Collection to Durham University.

The one remaining sub-collection, on the education, health and social action work of Christian church-related agencies in the Third World, has still to be found a permanent home. Failing that it will be destroyed on Spencer’s death.

Arrangements have yet to be made to dispose of monographs, journal runs and reference books  which will duplicate Durham University Library holdings. In principle, these will either be sold or given to universities, colleges and publicly owned libraries.

Anthony Spencer