Wednesday 6 July 2022

Archie's Archives Experience!

This blog post was written by one of our work experience students, Archie, who spent a week with us in June. Thanks for all of your work Archie!

During my work experience at Cheshire Record Office, I discovered plenty of new and genuinely interesting things I didn’t know existed.

On my first day I was able to sit in on a staff meeting and learn about how Cheshire Archives and Local Studies were partnering with local communities, finding them photos, documents and anything else they wanted so that they could hold their own events about themselves. 

I spent some time reading, cleaning and documenting the Mayors Scrapbook from 1936-1979. Not only did I learn about how to properly take care of precious archives and how to keep them in the best condition so other people can view them later on, but I was able to read these small snippets of history, whether they were simple invites to tea from the Mayor and Mayoress in 1941, or a New Year’s card with a quote hoping for peace and an end to the war. It felt like I was there, experiencing it myself. Even just small things told a story, like a letter from the Royal household explaining that the Mayor and his wife wouldn’t be able to get a congratulations letter for their Golden Jubilee for their marriage, which was received on December 25th.

I also helped to check photographs and see if they were on the Cheshire Image Bank or not. If they weren't on the site then I indexed them onto a spreadsheet, and did some research around the people, places and events photographed. Looking at a photograph of a local blacksmith taken in the 19th century, it can only make you wonder who those people were, what they’d experienced themselves and what they did after the photo was taken. These small bits of history, which in the greater scale of things didn’t mean much, represented normal people who lived, grew up and died well before I was born, like a window into the past.

I also used Zooniverse, a website where you can transcribe articles and documents from hundreds of subjects. I was moving information over from patient records from the Parkside Asylum. Stuff like this can be used for studies relating to anything, and could help countless people in research. (You can get involved in the Parkside Asylum project here!)

The people who work at the Record Office are genuinely some of the most dedicated people I’ve met, you can see that they have a huge interest in what they do, and that they want others to be able to know about what they do and use the records they hold.

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