Tuesday 16 July 2019

A Week in the Archives - Work Experience

This blog post was written by work experience students Ben and Laura from Christleton High School. 

Repackaged Hartford Parish Council records. 

"On our first day at the Cheshire Archives and Local Studies office, we learnt how to properly package, catalogue and conserve documents of varying types and ages; for example, using linen wraps and non-acidic boxes to stop them from decaying so they will keep for longer, or how to properly handle old photographs. We spent most of the day cataloguing Hartford Parish Council records from 1833 to 1982, including minutes from a meeting discussing triangular fields and trees.

On the second day, we catalogued photographs from a man named George Haswell’s album, dating from around 1900-1909. This involved transferring them to protective sheets and trying to work out where the pictures had been taken. While the majority of photos included villages, churches and his family, others were more unusual, such as a shrunken head and melted metal statue. 

Items from the George Haswell collection. 

Donald Insall photograph. 
We also began transferring architectural photo slides to more protective plastic wallets so they would not be damaged. These photo slides were taken by Donald Insall when Chester was under refurbishment, and give a glimpse of what the city was like during the 1960s and 1970s.

On the third day, we finished transferring the slides to their new sleeves, and then began work on cataloguing duties on land values from Macclesfield and Sutton. We finished two of 32 folders in two and a half hours. Over the final two days of our placement, we finished cataloguing these documents, and transferred maps to more conservation friendly housing for use in another project.

In our final afternoon, we did some back ground research into William George Haswell, in order to understand who he was. We found out that he was one of many masons in his family that worked on the Chester Cathedral, and was a master mason. George was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons, becoming initiated on 1st October 1891. 

Advert for William Haswell, Mason. 
He spent his life working on different architectural projects around the country, but stayed living in Chester, running his family’s business. George was also an active member of the community, serving on the Chester Town Council between 1900 and 1903 in Trinity Ward. 

As the head of “Haswell and Son architectural ecclesiastical craftsmen”, he assisted in the refurbishment of the Chester Cathedral in 1918-1932, and the Birkenhead Priory in 1897-98. 

He was born in 1862, and died in September 1938, after retiring in 1934. He married his wife Mary Elizabeth Haswell in 1888 and had a son called Frank Terrey Haswell in 1889. Frank was a sculptor and served in the Royal Navy Reserve during the First World War."

1911 census entry for William Haswell, his wife Mary Elizabeth and his son Frank.

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