Welcome to Hampshire Archives and Local Studies’ new blog and our very first entry. We will be updating our blog weekly, with posts from different members of staff, revealing the work which occurs at Hampshire Record Office and Wessex Film and Sound Archive, and showcasing some of the amazing collections we hold. Follow us to discover behind the scenes activities, special events and untold stories found within the archives.
This entry will introduce the service and explain briefly what we do and what we look after. Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is situated at Hampshire Record Office, on Sussex Street, Winchester. The Record Office is a purpose-designed building which was opened in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth II. The building contains climate controlled strongrooms to protect and preserve documents, state of the art conservation equipment and an 80 seat cinema. We also have a large foyer where exhibitions are held and a large search room where our staff can help you with your research.
Over 8 miles of archives and nearly 10,000 local studies books are stored here covering 1,000 years of history. The archives were Designated an outstanding collection of national and international importance by the former Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. They include the medieval Winchester Pipe Rolls (pictured) which are on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. There are also letters by Jane Austen and Florence Nightingale, and diaries from the Western Front during World War One, amid much more. The Record Office holds important collections from Winchester Cathedral, The Royal Green Jackets and Jane Austen House Museum to name but a few. Our collections provide an unprecedented resource for studying Hampshire’s past and all of this is freely accessible to the public. Upcoming blogs will explore some of our favourite documents and collections and uncover stories which they tell about us, our society and our past.
Not only will we uncover the stories surrounding our collections but this blog will also explain the work we accomplish to preserve and promote these valuable historical resources. Our conservation team repairs damaged documents to make them usable now and into the future. As these pictures show, they can achieve some amazing results.
We hold a variety of events throughout the year, including our free monthly Last Thursday Lectures and half-term children’s activities. Workshops are held regularly, ranging from family and house history to reading old handwriting. Our Archive Ambassador Days train members of the public in preservation, cataloguing, digitisation and oral history. Talks and behind the scenes visits are also available for local community groups. Special events this year include celebrating our Jane Austen collections and marking Hampshire Record Office’s 70th anniversary.
Also located in Hampshire Record Office is Wessex Film and Sound Archive. It holds 38,000 film and sound recordings dating back to the late Victorian era, relating to Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Blogs by Zoë Viney, Film Archive Officer, will explore its collections in detail and describe unique projects which use items from the archive.
Matthew Goodwin, archivist