This week members of the Winchester U3A group visited us at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester. They had a particular interest in investigating local First World War armistice celebrations, the Chesil Railway and Oram’s Arbour, the Iron age hill fort. Although some of the group use the searchroom regularly, they also have less experienced members who although enthusiastic to use archives, felt slightly daunted by the prospect of visiting us for the first time. In a bid to ease these new users into the experience I agreed to meet the group on arrival and gave a short introduction to the archive and library catalogues and a tour of the searchroom. I was able to point out some of the most effective ways of accessing our collections, demonstrate how the searchroom works and where everything is and give the group ideas on how best to approach their chosen areas of interest as well as find topics for future research projects. Hopefully as a result when visiting Hampshire Record Office in the future, the group will be confident enough to make full use of our services, facilities and collections independently.
If you are part of a community group which you feel may benefit from similar assistance in introducing new users to the Record Office feel free to contact me (email@example.com) to discuss it further.
There are a couple of recently scheduled events at the Record Office which you may be interested in. The first is a workshop on how to investigate the history of your house using archives and other resources from our collections, 10 April. The second An evening with the Hillier’s on 1 May is being staged in conjunction with Hampshire Gardens Trust and includes an exhibition of original garden-related archives and talks by Jean Hillier and Andrew McIndoe, Managing Director of Hillier Nurseries. It’s ideal for all lovers of gardens and history.
Mark Pitchforth, Archivist
Hampshire Record Office
This week I attended the launch of a project by The Hampshire Gardens Trust Research Group (http://www.hgt.org.uk) to investigate the impact the First World War had on Hampshire’s parks and gardens. The event proved to be a great success with a lot of interest and enthusiasm from those in attendance. During the afternoon I was given the opportunity to share Hampshire Record Office’s plans for marking the First World War centenary and touch upon the wide range of sources amongst our collections which should prove invaluable when undertaking the research work. We also discussed a number of possible project themes such as gardeners from the big estates who left for the front (and the women who replaced them); the therapeutic role of gardens and gardening at the country houses used as hospitals and convalescence homes; the use of public parks for food production, temporary camps and the legacy of the designed landscapes around memorials, cemeteries and shrines. If anyone is interested in joining the project, please contact the Research Group chair, Sally Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org (please put ‘Research WW1’ in the subject box) or telephone 01794 637752 to leave a message.
In other news, a new exhibition Then and now has been put up this week at the Record Office and will be on display until 30 Apr 2014. It includes selections from the Hampshire Museums’ photographic collections from around the county, and the same views as they are today (presented by Hampshire Arts and Museums Service). Access is free, no booking required.
Mark Pitchforth, Archivist, Hampshire Record Office
On Wednesday we were delighted to welcome a group of volunteers from Whitchurch Silk Mill for a visit to Hampshire Record Office. These visits are a great chance to explain how the Record Office works, what material is available amongst our collections and a few background details on the activities we get up to. We had a tour of the reception and searchroom, a demonstration of our online catalogue, a short film from the collections of Wessex Film and Sound Archive and an exhibition of Whitchurch related documents. By far the most popular element of the evening though, as is often the case, was a selection of Whitchurch maps which we had produced to show the town at various points in history from 1730 through to the 20th century. Maps are such an accessible source and offer the chance to find out in a quick and easy way just how much an area or a particular property has changed over the years. The evening finished with a look at some of the work of our conservation department who can do extraordinary things repairing archives which have suffered damage as a result of poor storage, damp and pests. Particularly interesting was a Winchester Cathedral roll recently worked on as part of the conservation project. (http://www3.hants.gov.uk/archives/archives-news-2.htm) Everyone seemed to go home happy and hopefully we’ll see many of them again using the searchroom in the future.
The Archive Ambassador training day scheduled for 7 May 2014 is now fully booked. A further session has been put in place for Wednesday 9 July, 10am-3.30pm.
The programme for the training day includes:-
- Information on the conservation of archives, with simple but effective ways to help preserve collections. What are the main risks? How do we minimise these? What help is available?
- An introduction to organising and cataloguing archive collections, with practical tips and advice. What are archives ? How do we set up a collection?
- How to create digital records and make collections available online. How to get the best from your scans and the type of formats on which to save your material.
To book your spot or for more information ring 01962 846154 or email email@example.com.
My visit to Bishop’s Waltham this week for the launch of their house history project was a great success. I was able to give an introduction to the variety of useful sources we hold amongst our collections for researching buildings. It was standing room only at the venue such was the enthusiasm from the local community for what I’m sure will be a successful and rewarding undertaking. We certainly hope many of the groups will be coming to Winchester to make use of the Hampshire Record Office searchroom in the coming weeks and look forward to seeing what they can uncover about the properties of Bishop’s Waltham.
Hampshire Record Office
Next week I am visiting Bishop’s Waltham to help Bishop’s Waltham Museum and Bishop’s Waltham Society launch a joint project to conduct historical research into all the buildings in their village. Over 70 people are due to attend showing just how much enthusiasm there is for local history in the area. I will be taking them through some of the sources we have available for house history and passing on leaflets on our collections, facilities and services. I hope to see many of the volunteers in the searchroom in the coming months and look forward to watching the project take shape.
Regular followers of the blog will know that over the last few months Hampshire Record Office has forged stronger links with Whitchurch Silk Mill where there is a small but interesting archive collection. The Mill has formed a group of volunteers to help sort, repackage and eventually catalogue the collection in detail. As a first step I visited Whitchurch last year and was able to assess the material, offer initial advice and discuss future plans. The group along with staff from the Mill are due to join us for a tour of the Record Office next month including an exhibition of original material relating to Whitchurch and three of the volunteers have signed up to attend the Archive Ambassador training day in May. There are still a few places left if anyone is interested in attending. Contact 01962 846154 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to reserve a spot.
Hampshire Record Office
The beginning of 2014 sees a range of different events taking place at Hampshire Record Office.
Of particular interest will be:-
• Reading old handwriting sessions both in English (21 Jan) and Latin (28 Jan)
• Family History for Beginners workshops:-
Afternoon sessions – 27 Feb, 3 Apr, 5 Jun, 2-4pm
Evening sessions – 28 Jan, 18 Feb, 18 Mar, 15 Apr, 20 May 6-8pm
• Voices of the First World War: Using archive sources to mark the centenary of the First World War, 26 Mar, 30 Apr
• Archive Ambassadors training scheme, 7 May
• Plus the usual mix of talks, workshops, exhibitions and film shows
For more information check out our leaflet Hampshire Record Office events – Jan-Jun 2014 or ring 01962 846154.
The Hampshire Gardens Trust Research Group has kindly invited us to attend the launch of a project to identify the impact the First World War had on Hampshire’s parks and gardens. There are a number of themes they would like to explore such as: gardeners from the big estates who left for the front (and the women who replaced them); the therapeutic role of gardens and gardening at the country houses used as hospitals and convalescence homes; the use of public parks for food production, temporary camps and, of course the legacy of the designed landscapes around memorials, cemeteries and shrines.
The Hampshire Gardens Trust Research Group would very much like to hear from any Local History Groups who have, or know of, relevant sites, stories or archive material. They would also welcome anyone interested in joining the project by researching their locality. The aim is to publish the research and stories in the Hampshire Gardens Trust magazine. Of course the archive collections of Hampshire Record Office will prove invaluable when conducting research of this kind. To get an idea of the wealth of material available you can search our catalogue online at http://calm.hants.gov.uk/default.aspx.
If you are interested in getting involved or would like to attend the project launch on Wednesday 19 February, please contact the Research Group chair, Sally Miller for more details, at email@example.com (please put ‘Research WW1’ in the subject box) or telephone 01794 637752 to leave a message. They look forward to hearing from you!