Newly accredited archive services announced

Newly accredited archive services announced

Following a recent Archive Service Accreditation Panel, the UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee is pleased to announce that the following archive service has been awarded accredited status for the first time:

  • St Helens Archive Service

All accredited archive services must apply again for accreditation six years after their initial award to retain their accredited status. At the same panel, the following archive services were awarded accreditation for the second time:

  • Lincolnshire Archives
  • Norfolk Record Office
  • Warwickshire County Record Office
  • UCL Special Collections

By attaining accreditation, archive services demonstrate that they meet the UK standard for collections management and access to collections, showing resilience and the ability to manage changing circumstances successfully. This has been vital to granting awards during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has presented exceptional challenges to archive services across the UK.

View the full list of accredited archive services.

Find out more about Archive Service Accreditation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

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Seeking new delegates for our User Advisory Group

Would you like to represent the views of archive users and help to improve our services? If you are a regular archive user who would like to get involved at a more strategic level we’d love to hear from you, as we are seeking new voluntary delegates to join our User Advisory Group (UAG).

The User Advisory Group aims to give everyone who use our services the opportunity to participate in our planning and decision-making processes.

Delegates represent the collective voice of different sections of our user community, not only their own interests. As well as attending meetings, each delegate has a responsibility to engage with members of their respective user communities, sharing information and gathering feedback.

We would particularly like to hear from users who feel they could effectively represent one or more of the following user groups:

  • Student users: current under/post-graduate students in subjects that make use of archives
  • County/external archive users: staff or users of other archives
  • Online users: users who rely on digital resources and tools to undertake their archive research and to interact with other researchers.

Representatives will also need to demonstrate they have the qualities to actively participate in the group, including:

  • Willingness to express the views of their communities in the setting of a large meeting
  • Time to prepare for meetings, including reading papers and networking
  • Ability to think strategically and consider ‘the bigger picture’.

Meetings are usually held at The National Archives in Kew four times a year but are currently being held virtually by video conference. The meetings are usually scheduled on Tuesdays during working hours. Dates and times are published well in advance and delegates are expected to make every effort to attend. Delegates may claim travel expenses.

We ask prospective delegates to commit to a minimum term of one year’s service. Find out more about the groups already represented and our current delegates on the UAG pages.

How to submit an expression of interest

If you would like to express interest in representing one of the groups listed above, please email us at the address below with the following information:

  • Indicate in the subject line of your email that it is an expression of interest
  • Indicate which sections(s) of the user community you would like to represent; if you list more than one, please rank them in order of preference
  • Check the list of the sections of the user community which are already represented; if you feel that there is a group that we have not listed, and that you would like to represent, please specify this
  • Tell us about your experience as an archive user and why you feel that you would be suitable as a delegate (please write no more than 150 words)
  • Give examples to show that you have the personal qualities required as a delegate of UAG (please write no more than 150 words)
  • Indicate your ideas and suggestions for how you would disseminate details of the group to the user community or communities that you would be representing, and how you would gather feedback (please write no more than 150 words)

Delegates will be selected based upon the information provided.

It is important to us that our organisation is more diverse, so we encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and identities. We’re especially keen to hear from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates who are currently under-represented.

Please email your expression of interest to [email protected] by 17:00 on Friday 13 August 2021.

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More Prime Minister’s files from 1997 released

More Prime Minister’s files from 1997 released

Today we have released files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office, covering the early months of Tony Blair’s government in 1997.

The newly released Cabinet Office files (PREM 49) shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under Blair’s leadership.

Some examples of files being released include:

PREM 49/2: Details of how the government was dealing with the BSE agriculture crisis.

PREM 49/18: Discussions about devolution for Wales and Scotland.

PREM 49/98: Plans for data protection and a Freedom of Information Act.

PREM 49/108, PREM 49/109: Correspondence relating to Northern Ireland.

PREM 49/157: Regional policy and proposals for a Mayor of London.

Also included are files covering UK relations with other countries such as France, the United States, Japan, and Russia.

The files can be searched using our catalogue, Discovery, with almost 200 available to view online.

You can also find out more about our previous file releases.

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£1million funding for archives sector

£1million funding for archives sector

We are delighted to announce that the Archives Revealed funding programme will award £1million to archive services over the next three years. Archives Revealed is a partnership programme between the Wolfson Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust and The National Archives, and is the only funding stream in the UK dedicated to cataloguing and unlocking archives. Launched in 2017, the programme provides grants of up to £45,000 for archives to create catalogues of important collections, as well as smaller scoping grants that fund expert advice on collections management and development.

The purpose of Archives Revealed is to open up significant archive collections to the public for research and enjoyment. These collections represent the lives and perspectives of people all across the UK, and are invaluable sources of information about our past and present. Since its inception, Archives Revealed has funded an incredibly wide range of archive-holding organisations, from Glamorgan Archives and Lapworth Museum of Geology to Seven Stories and Writing on the Wall. These cataloguing projects have all uncovered incredible stories that are engaging the public in new and different ways.

Jeff James, CEO and Keeper of The National Archives said:

“At a time when the archive sector, like many other sectors, is going through a challenging time and looking for innovative ways to open up collections to a new and diverse audience, £1million will allow us to make more grants than ever before. This programme is a very real demonstration of how different organisations can make a huge impact when they work together.”

Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

“The Wolfson Foundation is delighted to continue its support for the Archives Revealed programme alongside The National Archives and The Pilgrim Trust. Archives are the pathway into our shared heritage. What could be more wonderful than a partnership to support projects allowing remarkable collections to be opened up for researchers and for the public alike?”

Sue Bowers, Director of The Pilgrim Trust, said:

“Opening up archives and significant collections for the public to enjoy and learn from is one of the Pilgrim Trust’s priorities. That’s why we’re delighted to continue supporting the Archives Revealed programme and to work in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation and The National Archives. Together, we’re enabling even more people to learn about the UK’s diverse and rich heritage.”

One example is the museum Aerospace Bristol, who used their £29,000 grant to catalogue all 328 boxes in their archive collection, transforming this significant material into an accessible resource for everyone. In these newly available records, Aerospace Bristol has found stories of the supersonic airliner Concorde, its advocates and its critics. While detractors discussed the environmental impact of Concorde, early marketing material found in the collection describes how Concorde would cut journey times and connect people by shrinking the world.

Aerospace Bristol built their travelling exhibition ‘The World Shrinker’ around this theme and attracted around 7000 visitors to their marquee at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. They have also used the collection in new learning workshops and outreach activities, especially during the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight. Researchers and the public can search the collection on The National Archives’ catalogue Discovery and visitors to Aerospace Bristol can now also interact with the collection at the Concorde Gallery archive station.

As well as providing grants directly, Archives Revealed helps archive professionals to secure future funding by providing post-application support and building the funding skills and confidence of applicants. To ensure that Archives Revealed remains a supportive funder, the programme has recently reviewed its cataloguing grants, leading to a simplified first phase of the process and improved help and resources.

Find out more about the Archives Revealed funding programme: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/finding-funding/archives-revealed/

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Play inspired by pauper letters now online

Play inspired by pauper letters now online

The latest collaboration from The National Archives and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is a play inspired by workhouse pauper letters written by workhouse inmates of the Cardiff Workhouse in the mid-1850s who complained about the conditions.

You can listen to the play online at the following link:

https://soundcloud.com/user-595574078/your-unfortunate-servants

The paupers see the new master and mistress of the workhouse living well, hosting parties and syphoning off foodstuffs while they were being starved of food and separated from their loved ones. The paupers sent anonymous threatening letters outlining their grievances to the local guardians but their letters are ignored. The paupers decide to take direct action breaking workhouse windows to underline their resentment towards the local authorities. The play then focuses on the guardians’ determination to find those responsible for the letters and the paupers’ actions to address their grievances culminating in one of the paupers complaining to the Poor Law Board in London about their conditions.

Paul Carter: “Principal Records Specialist (Collaborative Projects):

“When we examine the past to write history we find in the archive that ordinary people truly lived remarkable lives. These lives, and the events that shaped them, are often aggregated to illustrate how common or historically important certain kinds of lived experiences or events were. Thus people might be expressed in charts and graphs as we try to understand and evaluate their lives. However, these records can also inspire creative explanations of the past as the historical basis of visual representations, films or storytelling as in “Your Unfortunate Servants”.

The play was written by Dominic Green, The National Archives’ writer in residence earlier in the year and a student at the Royal School of Speech and Drama

Dominic Green, said: “I found that the voices and events revealed by the historical record from the poor law union correspondence were so clear and dramatic that the story started to form almost of itself. These are historical human interest stories which allow us to hear people of the past speaking to us. I can already think of many ways to engage creatively with such amazing collections. This will not be the last time I will work creatively in the archives”.

The records were identified during the activities of In Their Own Write – a £1million Arts and Humanities Research Council funded collaborative research project – (initially between the University of Leicester and latterly Nottingham Trent University) and The National Archives.

The National Archives have been hosting student writers in residence from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama since 2017.  Based within the Education team, the placement is part of the students’ degree course and is a real demonstration that archival and historical research can provide inspiration for those in creative sectors.

 

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Collections unite to celebrate Central Office of Information

Collections unite to celebrate Central Office of Information

The National Archives has joined with the BFI, and Imperial War Museums (IWM) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Central Office of Information (COI) by showcasing the broad and eclectic range of work produced by the department.

From the Charley Says public information film series and classic safety films like Lonely Water and Apaches, to the AIDS awareness campaign, the COI produced some iconic screen moments during its fascinating history.

Founded in 1946 as a successor to the wartime Ministry of Information, the COI communicated government messages to the public, devising and delivering a wealth of public service information including films, photographs, leaflets, posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements and radio broadcasts.

The majority of the films are held and preserved by the BFI, while The National Archives holds the government papers commissioning the work of the COI, as well as documentation of its campaigns, including film production files and design materials for posters and leaflets. IWM holds COI films and other materials pertaining to life in the military and recruitment to the armed forces, as well as topics relating to national security, civil defence and the Cold War. Each archive will select material to help tell the COI story through a series of collaborative events for the rest of this year.

The #COI75 anniversary celebrations launch with a BFI At Home event on 23 June at 7pm, offering a whistle-stop introductory tour of the work of the COI and the diversity of its output and its impact. A COI at 75 collection is now available on the BFI Player offering viewers a chance to further explore the department’s work, with a selection of some of the best known titles and impactful campaigns,

The National Archives will host an On The Record podcast special to be aired in August exploring some of those memorable film moments, and a series of joint blogs will be published over the coming months highlighting specific themes and COI campaigns. In addition, the IWM is making its COI film collection available online as part of their Digital Futures five-year mass preservation project to digitise 1.8 million films, photographs and sound recordings.

Sarah Castagnetti, Visual Collections Manager at The National Archives, said: ‘The nostalgia for public information films is still strong today but the stories behind these films are often as compelling as what we see on the screen.

‘The National Archives hold some incredible files documenting the production, distribution and reception of these COI films and the discussions across government from the time.

‘We are excited to be working with colleagues at the BFI and IWM to celebrate the work of the COI and reveal some of the lesser known behind the scenes details with which many people will not be familiar.’

  • Follow @UKNatArchives for the latest news on the #COI75 collaborative project.

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