Part of the work of an Archive team is to ensure that documents find their way into the most appropriate collection. On occasion this means that deposits are relocated from one Archive to another. Ensuring that documents find the most appropriate home increases their accessibility and can make performing research much easier. I can give you two recent examples that highlight this process:
A donation had been submitted to Bury Borough Archive that contained two separate documents; the first contained three pages of modern A4 lined paper – stapled together – directed to Derek Pierce of the South Trafford Archaeology Group. The second was a much older document with a letter written on each side and was very difficult to read. Luckily for us the more modern document was an assessment and transcription of the older letters and attempted to date the older document as being from the 18th century.
As there were no links to our Borough we started to look for a more appropriate home for these items. Initially we approached York Libraries and Archives as York was specifically mentioned throughout the donation. They advised us that the North Yorkshire County Records Office may be a more appropriate home as the areas mentioned in the letters fall within their collection boundaries.
After initial discussions via e mail we forwarded the documents to them and received this very positive response;
“Thanks for sending the document and transcription on to us. It’s an interesting letter relating to the River Aire navigation between Beal and Haddlesey, both of which are now in North Yorkshire, so we would seem to be an appropriate home for it and are pleased to add it to our collections here.”
My second example is one where Bury Borough Archive received a transfer from another body: In late 2012 we were approached by the Collections & Conservation Department of Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate. They wanted to relocate a collection of maps and plans pertaining to a company called Pilsworth and Unsworth Garden Village Ltd. They had identified that these items were no longer relevant to their collections policy. The transfer included ten beautiful Linen architect’s drawings and one report and accompanying linen architect’s drawing. Several of the drawings give details of a housing development off Hollins Lane in Bury.
As these plans are relevant to the Borough and were produced by a Bury architectural firm – J. D. Mould – we were thrilled to give them a new home. I hope you will agree that by accepting these beautiful documents we have enhanced the Archives ability to represent the social history of the Borough. My attempts to research the company Pilsworth and Unsworth Garden Village Ltd have proved largely futile. Other than some details on the Mutuals Public Register I am drawing a blank, so if anyone out there can help us please get in touch.