From parchment to digital data, across eight miles of shelving, Hampshire Record Office is carefully preserving more than 1,000 years of Hampshire’s history; and now it has achieved national recognition. Hampshire County Council’s archives and local studies service has been awarded the Archive Service Accreditation, the UK quality standard for the archives industry.
Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Councillor Andrew Gibson said: “We take our responsibility to preserve Hampshire’s historic records very seriously, and we’re very proud of our Archives and Local Studies service. I’m delighted by this award, which puts Hampshire Record Office within the 5% of archive services that are accredited in the UK. It provides well-deserved recognition for the hard-working team who look after our rich, diverse and important collections, and the high-quality customer service they provide to the 14,000 people who access the archives and participate in our events every year.”
Hampshire County Council’s Record Office, in Winchester, is responsible for the county’s archives and local studies collections. Designated as outstanding and a world class collection, the archives form a unique treasure trove of stories from the past, ranging from letters by Florence Nightingale and Jane Austen, to war diary entries from the Western Front recording the Christmas Truce of 1914, to a rare 10th century Anglo-Saxon charter.
The award shows that Hampshire Record Office has demonstrated good performance against national standards relating to its management and resources, the care of its unique collections and the service it offers to customers.
The Archive Service Accreditation Panel commended the application from “an excellent service”. The Record Office was described as: “A highly accreditable, well-run service effectively managing the balance of preservation, collecting and a variety of access areas”. It is also mentioned that the service’s success has continued at a time of dwindling public funds.
The Winchester Pipe Rolls put Hampshire on the UNESCO map in 2011 with their award of a place on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. These documents are the detailed account rolls of the medieval bishops of Winchester, who held the richest episcopal estate in England.
The Record Office is also home to Wessex Film and Sound Archive which cares for some 38,000 recordings, dating back to the 1890s, including footage of soldiers returning from the Boer War in 1902, Churchill speeches, and evocative film of the magnificent Cunard liners of yesteryear.
Following Hampshire Record Office’s 70th birthday last year, the award comes during the year marking the 25th anniversary of the award-winning Record Office building, which was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in November 1993. It is also the 30th anniversary of Wessex Film and Sound Archive.
Anyone is welcome to delve into these fascinating resources by visiting Hampshire Record Office, in Winchester (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on first and third Saturdays). A range of social media – including Facebook, Twitter and a blog opens up this treasure-chest of history to a wider audience. To find out more and sign up for the e-newsletter, visit www.hants.gov.uk/archives
Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a UK-wide partnership of The National Archives, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Welsh Government through its Museums Archives and Libraries Wales Division, Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), Scottish Council on Archives, and Archives and Records Council Wales