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.

New cataloguing grants awarded to archive services

New cataloguing grants awarded to archive services

Today we are delighted to announce that the Archives Revealed funding programme has awarded eight new cataloguing grants totalling almost £300,000 to archive services across the country. Recipients of the fourth round of cataloguing grants are: University of Stirling Archives, London Metropolitan Archives, Archives and Cornish Studies, Manchester Art Gallery, Culture Perth and Kinross, Yorkshire Film Archives, University of Liverpool, and Acme.

Archives Revealed is a partnership programme between The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation. The programme’s grants allow recipients to catalogue previously inaccessible collections and open them up to researchers and the public.

The eight new grants are the first to be awarded after Archives Revealed – the UK’s only funding stream dedicated to cataloguing archives – recently committed to awarding £1million in cataloguing and scoping grants over the next three years.

Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Collections and Research at The National Archives, said: ‘The phrase ‘cataloguing a collection’ only begins to hint at the immense impact that these projects will have for communities and researchers. By cataloguing archives, we can reveal hidden stories representing the lives of people across the UK and, most importantly, we can help people access these records for themselves for the very first time. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation to make these discoveries possible.’

The collections that will be catalogued in round four contain an incredibly wide range of media, from paper and audio recordings to photography and film. The collections also relate to a varied selection of topics, including the history of architecture, Irish heritage, Ukrainian video, Aberlour children’s charity records, the Manchester Together collection and the Africa Centre archives.

Find out more about the current cataloguing projects and the Archives Revealed funding programme.

MOD Records Project

MOD Records Project

Image showing a respository at The National ArchivesAfter discussions spanning a number of years, in February 2021 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) began the transfer of just under 10 million personnel records to The National Archives for permanent preservation.  The records will be transferred to Kew in batches over the next 6 years.

The records included in this collection cover personnel in all three services, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, where the individual has a date of birth prior to or up to 1939. They include around 500 000 with First World War service and the vast majority of those who served in the Second World War. These records are of national significance which is why both MOD and The National Archives are working to ensure that their long-term preservation can be assured before they are made accessible to public both online and on site at Kew.

This is the biggest and most complex transfer of public records in our history. In an average year, we will take in approximately 1.5 linear kilometres of physical records from government departments. These service records will require us to take in an additional 33 linear kilometres of physical records over the life of the project. We know the project carries significant operational and logistical overheads, but this is an incredible opportunity allowing us to develop an understanding of the records and the information they hold.

We are aware that many people are keen to access them as soon as possible e.g., military historians and those researching their family tree. However, there is necessarily a lot of work that takes place before these newly acquired records can make it to our reading rooms.

To begin, once the records are transferred to us we must ensure that all the material can be stored safely and to archival standards. In practice, this means removing them from their original packaging and placing them in to specially made archival boxes that will keep the records free from any degradation or damage. In addition, we will index and catalogue all the records so researchers can locate them and with almost 10 million records, this is a significant task.

As these are personnel records, they naturally contain a range of personal data including medical information. To protect the information in these records, closure will apply until 115 years past the date of birth of the individual. Whether or not the material can be open to all or closed fully or in part will be assessed on this basis or upon request under relevant data protection and freedom of information laws.

Staff across The National Archives are working hard to ensure that these documents are suitably preserved and kept in conditions which allow researchers to have access to them. To that end, we are also looking at how we can provide the widest possible access to these important documents and are actively exploring various options, such as digitisation. This takes time, which is why, despite the documents beginning to arrive in Kew in February, we have not yet been able to allow access.

We will give updates via our social media platforms on how our work is progressing and when we expect to make them available in our public reading rooms.


Car parking charges to return from September

Car parking charges to return from September

We will re-introduce charges for our visitor car park from Tuesday 7 September.

We originally introduced parking charges in 2019. When we reopened after the first Covid lockdown in July 2020, we suspended charging as government guidance advised against using public transport during the pandemic. As this guidance has now eased, we have decided to reinstate these charges.

The controlled car parking is administered through an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system, with visitors paying before departure at a pay point located inside The National Archives’ building. Charges apply to all visitor parking except for ‘Blue Badge’ holders, who will continue to be able to park without charge in designated parking bays. (The ‘Blue Badge’ scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled: find out more.)

Car parking costs

  • Up to two hours: £2.50
  • Up to four hours: £4.50
  • Over four hours: £7.00

How to use our parking system

  • Enter the car park by approaching the barrier, which will open automatically. Make a note of your registration plate number before leaving your vehicle
  • After your visit to The National Archives, go to one of our two pay point machines (located in The National Archives’ foyer), and enter your vehicle registration
  • The pay machine will calculate your car parking charge based on registration recognition. Payments can be made by either cash or chip and pin/contactless payment (with a credit or debit card)
  • Return to your vehicle and leave the car park via the exit barrier within 20 minutes of payment

Visitors must pay for parking before leaving the premises and will not be able to exit the car park if they have not done so.

ULEZ expansion from October 2021

Visitors planning to travel to The National Archives by car this autumn should note that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding from central London to create a single, larger zone from 25 October 2021. Most vehicles, including cars and vans, need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or their drivers must pay a daily charge to drive within the zone. The National Archives is located within the expansion area.

Essential website maintenance

Essential website maintenance

In order to provide the best experience for our users, we are currently migrating our website to new servers. This is essential maintenance work to ensure that our website runs smoothly.

It is possible that some things may not look or work exactly the same as they did before. Please email [email protected] if you encounter any problems.