Leicester

History of Thomas Cook to be preserved in Leicestershire

Nile holiday poster Image copyright Leicestershire County Council
Image caption The Thomas Cook collection is to be housed at the Leicester Record Office in Wigston

Thomas Cook spent 178 years taking us on holiday but when the firm collapsed last year it left behind more than just fond memories.

The travel company had a huge collection of souvenirs including posters, travel guides, staff uniforms and board games.

This entire archive - described as "internationally significant" - is now "coming home" to Leicestershire, where it will be the single largest collection at the county's record office.

The collection - made up of thousands of individual items including early advertising posters, board games and 60,000 photographs - will be catalogued before being made available to the public.

Thomas Cook games Image copyright Leicestershire County Council

The record office, which is run by Leicestershire County Council in Wigston, was awarded the role of housing the collection following a bidding process.

Among the exotic old travel guides and posters are souvenirs from around the globe as well as the more mundane but equally important staff records, minute books and timetables.

Thomas Cook travel advertisement Image copyright Leicestershire County Council

Thomas Cook founded his travel company in Leicester and ran his first excursion from there to Loughborough in 1841.

Over the years it became one of the world's best known holiday brands and took millions of holidaymakers around the world.

Thomas Cook brochure Image copyright Leicestershire County Council

Robin Jenkins, senior archivist at Leicestershire County Council, said: "This is an internationally significant archive relating to a company which began in Leicester.

"They were very careful in what they collected and kept as a representative of the work of the company.

"We see the collection as 'coming home' to Leicestershire and we will be delighted to look after it here and promote its use."

Nile Steamer cruises photos and book Image copyright Leicestershire County Council

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Jenny Moran, a senior archivist at the Leicestershire Record Office, said they now have a "massive" task on their hands to catalogue each item.

"There are thousands and thousands of individual items in the collection and each one will need to have a unique number and described so the public can access it," she said.

Thomas Cook winter sport brochure Image copyright Leicestershire County Council
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