Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is taking part in the Soldiers’ Journey art project which invites you to remember all those affected by war by writing their name on a recreated First World War identity tag and posting it in one of the Soldiers’ Journey boxes found at various locations across the county including the Hampshire Archives and Local Studies searchroom. Tags from across Hampshire will become part of an artwork by artist Susie MacMurray in the Great Hall, Winchester, to be on show Feb-Mar 2015. It will be an aerial display suspended from the Great Hall’s roof, hovering above drifts of the discs representing the identity tags of fallen soldiers. For more information e-mail email@example.com or go to http://www3.hants.gov.uk/1914/1914-about.htm.
This week the Chairman of Hampshire County Council hosted a Hampshire Commemorates exhibition in the Great Hall in Winchester showcasing historic materials from Hampshire County Council and other partners to mark the centenary of the First World War and provide a taster of some of the exhibitions and information available across the county. The display included exhibition panels produced by Hampshire Archives and Local Studies showing photographs and documents taken from our collections.
To discover more about the First World War related archives we hold go to http://www3.hants.gov.uk/archives/hals-collections/ww1.htm, access our catalogue at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/archives/catalog.htm, visit our designated Facebook page Voices of the First World War or come in to our searchroom and speak to staff who will be happy to help.
Over the last few days the Hampshire Archives and Local Studies Facebook page, created as part of our work to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, has included some fascinating postings. By exploring our archive collections including diaries, letters, photographs and other historical material from the period the page Voices of the First World War, is attempting to tell the story of this momentous event through the eyes of local people. So far we have had extracts from the diary of Miss Sidney Margaret Courtney of Winchester who was in Switzerland in the run up to the outbreak of war and from ‘The War Chronicles’, a special war diary kept by Lady Laura Ridding. There’s also been copies of correspondence between Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary (who had links to Hampshire, see this weeks lecture) and Sir Edward Goschen, British Ambassador to Berlin regarding the growing European crisis. Images have included a postcard received by Blanche Bellairs of Winchester from her brother Charlie, while he was serving in the First World War with the 21 Battalion Canadian Regiment, a photograph of the Volunteer Brigade of the Hampshire Regiment marching down Winchester High Street and press cuttings from the Hampshire Chronicle and Daily Graphic.
There’s lots more to come and if you have an interest in the history of the First World War on a local level it would be really worthwhile keeping an eye on our timeline. You also have the opportunity to post your own material and comments. For example one person recently posted a fabulous family photograph of his grandfather and grandmother with their four sons all in uniform from just after the end of the war. Go to https://www.facebook.com/VoicesWW1 to find out more.
The Portsmouth History Fair last week was an enjoyable and interesting event. It was well attended by members of the public, mostly from the city but there were also a decent number from across Hampshire. Many colleagues from local museums, libraries, societies and archives were also present making it a great chance to network and forge new links. Areas of interest varied from general family and local history to more specific enquiries about railway records, First World War research, historic film material and house history. Some were just starting out and needed reassurance on how to begin, others were much further down the line, had hit a brick wall and were looking for new suggestions to try. By being there I was able to give advice, direct people to our website, encourage them to visit our searchroom or pass on suggestions of other useful contacts for them to try. Many people were drawn in by a selection of Wessex Film and Sound Archive film clips which I had taken with me, along with our usual banner display and leaflets about our services, facilities and collections. The event as a whole seemed to be a great success and hopefully we will be able to take part again next year.
Coming up this week I will be hosting an evening visit to the Record Office by the Basingstoke HGS (Hampshire Genealogical Society). They will be able to see first hand how the archive works, get a feel for the layout of the building and get up close and personal with some original material including maps, plans, photographs and other useful sources. Evening visits of this kind are particularly good for banishing any apprehension first time visitors might have about using Hampshire Record Office and hopefully instilling them with the confidence to make maximum use of our collections, facilities and services in the future.
Coming up in two weeks time Swanmore Village Archive, a group which we have worked with a great deal over the last few years is launching a local First World War exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the start of the conflict and those from the village who were involved. The project was made possible in part by Hampshire County Council funding and the Record Office has loaned the group equipment which will hopefully help make the event a success. It is free admission on Saturday 2 August, 10am-5pm and Sunday 3 August, 11am-5pm in the Paterson Centre, Swanmore.
Mark Pitchforth, archivist
Hampshire Record Office
If you read the previous Community archives blog you will know that last week I visited Liphook Heritage Centre for the official launch of their First World War centenary and D-Day 70th anniversary exhibitions. The evening was a great success, well attended by enthusiastic local people with two great displays to enjoy to mark two important moments in history and highlight the local impact they had. Also on show was artwork produced by pupils from Bohunt School and Liphook Junior school who had completed a project based on the presence of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces at Bramshott Camp during the First World War. Several pupils collected awards for their work on the night but all contributions added to the impressive display. The project as a whole was made possible in part thanks to a Hampshire County Council grant and the Record Office contributed with advice, information and through our archive collections.
The two free exhibitions are now open to the public (More details: http://www.liphookheritage.org.uk/events).
Mark Pitchforth, archivist
Hampshire Record Office
Working in conjunction with Hampshire Museums Service, today we welcomed to the Record Office members of the Alton’s Invasion project team. The project aim is to investigate the experiences of Altonians during the First World War particularly in relation to the Scottish regiments billeted in the town at the start of the conflict. During their visit the group enjoyed a short talk on Record Office services, facilities and collections, a tour of the building and a small exhibition of related archive sources. It will be interesting to see how they make use of our collections in their research and the eventual results of the project.
Also this week I will be visiting Liphook Heritage Centre for the official launch of their World War 1 and D-Day exhibitions. The displays were made possible in part thanks to a Hampshire County Council grant and the Record Office has contributed to the project with advice, information and through our archive collections. Liphook Heritage Centre is a group which we have worked with extensively over several years and a large number of their volunteers have attended our Archive Ambassador training days. I look forward to seeing what they have produced, during what I’m sure will be an enjoyable and informative evening. The two exhibitions will be open to the public from Wednesday 9 July (More details: http://www.liphookheritage.org.uk/events).
Finally don’t forget Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive have been invited to take part in the Portsmouth History Fair at Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Square this Saturday (12 July). Hope to see you there.
Mark Pitchforth, Archivist
Hampshire Record Office
Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive have been invited to take part in the Portsmouth History Fair at Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Square, on Saturday 12 July from 10am-3pm. I will be attending to give advice and answer questions about local and family history research and promote Hampshire Record Office. I’ll have an exhibition with me including examples of archives from our collections and leaflets on our services and facilities. The event will feature film material relating to Portsmouth from the collections of Wessex Film and Sound Archive. Hope to see you there.
Also next month we have the return of our Archive Ambassador training days. For those unfamiliar with these events, they include sessions on cataloguing archive collections, the conservation and preservation of archives, digital archives and oral history recording. By signing up you also receive a handbook which includes further information on more specialist areas such as copyright issues, the preservation of film and sound archive material and exhibitions.
Our hope is that by training up individuals from across the county in the best practices of archival care not only will this help with specific projects that the individual might be working on such as caring for a village, society or personal archive collection but they can also act as an ambassador in their local community passing on this knowledge to others, encouraging people to deposit records with Hampshire Record Office if appropriate and making sure that any records kept locally are looked after appropriately to ensure their long term preservation.
The events have proved very popular and the July training day has been booked up for some time but two further dates have been put in place for later in the year, 10 September and 19 November, both Wednesdays and 10am-3.30pm. The programme for each day is identical including the following sessions:-
Keeping paper clips at bay: Effective but simple ways to help preserve collections. What are the main risks? How do we prevent these? What help is available?
Cataloguing collections: What are ‘archives’? How do we set up a collection? Practical tips and advice on how to organise and catalogue your material.
Going Live: Creating digital records and making collections e-accessible, session includes practical tips on how to get the best from your ‘scans’ and what type of formats to save your material on.
Oral History Recording: A beginners guide to the collection of oral history recordings.
To book a place on either of these training days contact us on 01962 846154. The charge is £18 per person.