The past year in Guildford Cathedral Archives have been quite monumental, we have had many firsts and great progress has been made with the archive which is a phenomenal achievement, we could not even think this time last year what could have been achieved.
Guildford Cathedral Archives have been undergoing a complete change as part of the overarching People’s Cathedral Project which aims to, secure the survival of the physical building of Guildford Cathedral, and enrich the visitor experience through improvement of accessibility, facilities and reintegration of the Cathedral and to widen and deepen community engagement with the Cathedral.
So over the past year the Archive has now got in place a full time Project Archivist who is leading the project in the Archives. This in itself is a big achievement for the archive, never before has a full time professional member of staff been able to devote their time to the archive, and we have had to rely heavily on volunteers over the years to keep the archive ticking over – who have done a wonderful job up until now.
Now the project Archivist has been in post for over 6 months progress is really starting to show. We now have official archive documentation, including a collecting policy, loans policy, and deposit agreements. This in itself is a major step forward to having a professionally run archive.
We now have custom built catalogue software which we have now been running with for over two months and is proving a resounding success. This is taking us one step closer to getting the archive collection properly catalogued following international standards, which in itself will improve accessibility both for users and for staff. And as of 22nd November 2016, we now have 1,188 items catalogued!
And over the next month we will be setting up the website presence for the catalogue so watch this space!
A major digitisation project is also underway, we have sent large scale items off to be digitised by a professional company and we are doing digitisation in-house of smaller items. Again this will improve accessibility to archival items for onsite and offsite researchers and will enable more usage of the items, and as of 22nd November 2016 we have now digitised 490 items onsite.
Our archive has been out and about in this past year as well, we represented ourselves at our successful Open Day in September giving people of the local community the chance to engage with the archives and see the items first hand.
And then in November we held a very successful Archive Study Day, we welcomed speakers from Surrey History Centre, Winchester Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral as well as having a full display of archive materials from our collection out on display.
Finally, and most importantly our team has been growing! In the past year we have welcomed many new volunteers to our team.
All our volunteers are vital to the work that we do here in Guildford Cathedral Archives, and to have such a happy and hardworking bunch working away in the archive is a wonderful thing. We have volunteers from all walks of life, some with an interest in history, some who are part of the local community who just want to help out, and some looking for experience before embarking on a career in the heritage industry. We now have a team of 7 volunteers working with us, adding to the team of two that we already had working hard in the archives.
Thank you everyone in the archive team!
All in all the past 12 months in Guildford Cathedral Archives have been very eventful, great progress has been made with getting the archive known about, fully accessible, and preserved safely for the future.