The Trust looks after a wide range of collections associated with the activities of C & J Clark Ltd and its subsidiaries, both in the UK and internationally. As well as library items (including the shoe catalogues), extensive ranges of shoes, tools, machinery and lasts, photographs, Point of Sale and maps and plans combine to tell in full the story of Clarks since its establishment in 1825 across six and more generations of the Clark family.
Some of these collections are available to the public for research on a variety of topics, such as local history, family history, business history, philanthropy and social welfare and fashion and shoe history. The vastness and breadth of the collections provide a rich source of information and inspiration about the business, its origins and its development into the 21st century.
The business archive collections cover core business functions such as finance, personnel, retail, property and estates, (including maps and plans), manufacturing, laboratory and technical, brand and marketing. Items relating to exhibitions, congresses and conferences, travellers and agents are also available. Collections relating to major subsidiaries and predecessor companies such as Avalon Leatherboard (Street), Clark, Son & Morland (Glastonbury), John Halliday and Sons (Dundalk) and K Shoes (Kendal) are also extant. Many of the personal collections of directors are available. For example, a collection overview of the Number One Office (NoOne) collection, the office of William Clark and his son Roger Clark, gives further details for those interested in finding out more. The papers of company archivist and curator Laurence H Barber (LHB) also include much of relevance to the history of the company.
The recently digitised audio-visual collection contains a range of films and videos relating to the history of the company and dating back to the 1950s. This collection is currently being catalogued and contains a wealth of TV advertising films as well as items on shoemaking and the history of the company.
Unexpectedly, the business archive collections sometimes pre-date the foundation of the company, with some items showing how the Clark family were active in their local community as far back as the 18th century. In addition, the archive collection of Street Urban District Council (SUDC) also shows how closely involved the Clark family were in the local government of Street from the late 19th century.
A list of company histories is available.