Meeting the Volunteers

We always look forward to working with our volunteers – they make our roles, as archives assistants, both rewarding and fun! Some of our volunteers have been with the Archives for quite a long time – longer than Nic and I – and so we’d like to spend some time introducing them and allowing them to share their experiences. Meet Howard Davies and Fred Grist! Howard and Fred are hard-working, dedicated and methodical when working each Thursday in the searchroom. Firstly lets introduce you to Howard and learn what he has to say on box-listing:

Howard Davies Box Listing

Howard Davies Box Listing

‘I’ve been volunteering here for over three years and for more than two years I have undertook the box listing project. I have listed many boxes in that time – boxes which have contained deeds, Council minutes, deeds, Council minutes, deeds, deeds and yet more deeds and did I mention Council minutes? I’m not complaining because I have found the experience quite enjoyable but I’ve struggled to find that eureka moment! So you can imagine my frustration when Penny, a new volunteer, was overcome with glee as she announced – on her first day as a box-lister – that she had struck gold! What she had found was an artistic love story from the early 20th century expressed through poetry and paintings. It was with a sigh that I asked her, “Do you know how long I’ve been hoping for something as fascinating as that? Here am I listing dreary deeds and you have found a gem straight away?” Of course, this comment caused much amusement in the searchroom. Anyway now I must get back to listing my Council Minutes!’


Next we’d like to introduce Fred:

Fred Grist working on the newspaper archive for WW1 project

Fred Grist working on the newspaper archive for WW1 project

‘I’ve been volunteering with the Archives now for approximately two and a half years. I can honestly say I have found the experience satisfying and rewarding. The boxes offer a trip down Memory Lane to other eras before my time – such as celebratory pamphlets from the Queen’s Coronation! And some boxes reveal reminders of events that have happened in more recent years like commemorations from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. All the records serve to inform us of the passing of time and these reflections help to make the experience in the searchroom peaceful and relaxing. I would like to add that my fellow volunteers are very nice to work with and the staff here are very helpful. In addition to the box-listing I have helped out with digitising WW1 news stories from the local newspapers – it is always so moving to read how the people of Bury coped throughout this period of war.’


Our team would like to thank Howard and Fred for their commitment over the years and, in particular, Nic and I would like to thank them for making us feel so welcome when we became Archive Assistants last year.



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