Celebrating Explore Your Archive

The Explore Your Archive campaign will be taking place 10th – 16th November 2014 in archives across the UK. In Wales archives are celebrating by holding a series of events, activities and workshops to highlight the great services that archives offer.
Did you know that you can support the festival online by spreading the word about how fantastic archives are on Facebook and Twitter? During the week we will be using a series of hash tags to encourage conversations about archives and about the stories that people who use them have discovered.
Get Involved!

Throughout the campaign we will be using #explorearchives. However, you can get involved in specific archive conversations each day during the campaign using the following hashtags:

  • Monday 10th November – #DayintheLife – an insider’s perspective of a typical day in an archive. Today is the day for archive staff to divulge all the information about their day to day work in an archive. Photographs and stories would be fantastic!
  • Tuesday 11th November – #WW1Archives – An opportunity to remember and commemorate WW1 ancestors and to explore stories and records held within archive collections
  • Wednesday 12th November – #askarchivists – A unique opportunity for the public to connect directly with the experts and get their questions answered!
  • Thursday 13th November – #archiveselfies – Create and share your archive self-portraits and historic selfies found in the archives
  • Friday 14th November – #archiveanimals – Animal stories, pictures and pets!
  • Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th November – I love to #explorearchives because…. – fill in the gap and let us know why you love to explore your local archive!

You can also sign up to the National Thunderclap which is a mass tweet which will be sent out on the 10th November to mark the start of the campaign. Sign up HERE

Follow us!
Find us on Twitter and Facebook:
@archiveswales / @archifaucymru
Facebook.com/archiveswales / Facebook.com/archifaucymru
You can also follow the National campaign on twitter via: @explorearchives
To find out more information about the Explore Your Archive campaign visit: http://www.archiveswales.org.uk


UNESCO Award for West Glamorgan Archives’ Collection

It’s a select list which includes the Domesday Book, the Death Warrant of Charles I and the papers of Winston Churchill. Now, the unique survival of 8,000 engineering drawings from the Neath Abbey Ironworks which are held in West Glamorgan Archives has been recognised by inscription in the United Kingdom National Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, a list of documentary heritage which holds cultural significance specific to the UK. The award was made on June 19th at a reception in Edinburgh hosted by the Scottish Council on Archives and the UNESCO Memory of the World UK Committee.


The drawings in the collection range in date from 1792 to 1882 and are detailed and finely drawn, reflecting the high standards of work for which the foundry was famous. The collection includes plans for mine pumping engines, for ships and railway locomotives.  The Neath Abbey Iron Company was in the forefront of development of beam engines for the South Wales coalfield, built its first railway locomotive in 1829 for use on the Sirhowy tramroad in Monmouthshire and its first marine engines in 1822 for the paddle steamer ‘Glamorgan’. Kim Collis, County Archivist, said, “The collection is a rare survival which shows the contribution of South Wales to Britain’s industrial revolution and to the spread of British mining technology to the rest of the world.  The UNESCO inscription will publicise the collection more widely to a national and international audience.”


For more information about West Glamorgan Archives please visit:

West Glamorgan Archives, Guest Blog Post by Kim Collis

On Monday 15 April last year, West Glamorgan Archives was host to an experiment which may yet have far-reaching effects for archives in the UK.  A live link was made between the archive cataloguing software of West Glamorgan Archives and Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University, proving it was possible to share reader registration data between the two repositories.Image

This experiment may not have had quite the dramatic effect of the first telephone call by Alexander Graham Bell, “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you,” but then in 1876 the full potential of the telephone was not yet foreseen and I suspect that experiment also may not have been prefaced offstage by a long drum-roll.

The potential that lies within the 2013 experiment is that it showed it was possible for CALM proprietary archive cataloguing systems to link live with each other and a multi-functional national archive reader’s ticket for local record offices moved one step closer. For Axiell, the software company which produces CALM, there was a useful spin-off in their efforts to develop a software platform for a unified multi-repository catalogue.

West Glamorgan Archives belongs to the Archives Wales reader ticket scheme along with Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys and the Richard Burton Archives. The drawback of the current Archives Wales ticket system, like the much larger CARN (County Archives Research Network) scheme that operates in England and most of the rest of Wales, is that tickets issued by offices have to be accepted as valid in any other location than their original issuing office with no quick way of checking their validity.

Live reader’s ticket data means that one day using an archive reader’s ticket may be as simple and straightforward to validate as the host of plastic cards that we already carry around with us from banks, shops and supermarkets. At that point, we may hope that the multitude of archive reader’s tickets that peripatetic researchers have to carry around on their travels round the UK will begin to diminish.  The goal must surely be one ticket scheme for local authority, university and specialist archives across the UK.

As part of the Archives and Records Association of UK and Ireland working group on developing the CARN reader’s ticket, I am personally very keen that each home nation should have its own branded ticket, much like we currently recognise Scottish banknotes as legal currency south of the border.  The clever part will be that, despite the different branding, they will all be part of one live database of registered archive users in the UK and Ireland.  This will allow Scottish, Irish and of course Welsh archives to create marketing campaigns for their services which respond to their users’ own distinct cultural identities and bilingualism.


Rhymney Valley Water Board Records

Glamorgan Archives

The 75th deposit received by Glamorgan Archives in 1976 was the Rhymney Valley Water Board Records.  The Board was established in 1921, after many years of campaigning leading to the passing of the Rhymney Valley Water Board Bill.

The Board was comprised of councillors from Gelligaer, Bedwellty, Bedwas and Machen, Mynyddislwyn, Rhymney and Caerphilly.  It had the power to acquire certain water undertakings and works and to construct new works, as well as to supply water. The water itself came from the Taf Fechan Water Supply Board, whose records we also hold at Glamorgan Archives.

Minutes of the Rhymney Valley Water Board Minutes of the Rhymney Valley Water Board

Although the Board was established in 1921 the records date from 1916; these early items comprise newspaper cuttings tracking reports on the campaign for the creation of the Board.  The records continue until 1966.  

The Rhymney Valley Water Board Recordscomprise 45 volumes of minute books, accounts…

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Pembrokeshire Archives

Thanks to Pembrokeshire archives for this blog post!

Pembrokeshire Archives (formerly Pembrokeshire Record Office) is located in Prendergast, Haverfordwest and holds an extensive collection of archive material for Pembrokeshire dating back to 1272.
Our location and opening hours can be found via the below link:
We also have our online catalogue which currently holds detailed lists of some 95% of the collection with over 130000 individual items listed. It can be accessed via the same link.
For anyone interested in discovering more information about their families, homes, communities etc. from the written history of Pembrokeshire they are very welcome to visit us and discover what information the Archives have to offer.
Having successfully obtained a Cymal grant under the Changing Cultures programme we are delighted to have just hosted year 5 and 6 pupils from Pembroke Dock Community School and Ysgol Croesgoch. The visit by the schools looked into interpreting history through heraldry. The children learnt about archives, what we do and had a tour behind the scenes. We went on to learn about heraldry, knights, jousting etc. and had a fantastic craft session where the children could each design and make their own heraldic shield. At the end of their visit all the children were asked to draw us a face – happy, straight or sad – to reflect their time at the Archives. The result – every face was a happy one! We also asked for some written comments, even just a word, here are just a few:
Amazingly Interesting
It was fantastic
It was fun!!!
I loved today it was really fun
It was very good and fab.
So there we have it – Pembrokeshire Archives – it’s fab!

Seventy Five Seventy Fives

Happy 75th anniversary Glamorgan Archives!

Glamorgan Archives

Glamorgan Archives is 75 this year.  We share seniority in Wales with our neighbour, Gwent: they were the first to set up an archive service (1938) but we were the first to appoint an archivist (1939).  The county showed impeccable timing with the result that our anniversary year will also be shared with two world wars and one national strike to name but a few of the major commemorations we will also be marking in 2014.

Glamorgan Archives

The first County Archivist, Emyr Gwynne Jones, soon moved on, becoming Bangor University’s Librarian in 1946.  He has had only 4 successors and this continuity of senior staff is reflected in the continuity of the service’s core function, defined by Madeleine Elsas in 1959 as: the task of preserving records, restoring them, collecting additional material about the geographical county, and making these records freely available.”

To celebrate our 75 years of care for…

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Vote now to show your support for 3 Welsh Museums/Archives!

3 Welsh Museums/Archives have been shortlisted for the national Connect10 competition for venues to win a contemporary artist and £2000 towards running an event in the Museums at Night Festival (15-17 May 2014). Shortlisted venues/artists are:

Swansea Museum – Amy Sharrocks
The Cardiff Story Museum – Janette Paris
Denbighshire Archives & Ruthin Gaol Museum – Mr Smith’s Letterpress

This is great news for Wales as this is the first time Welsh venues have been shortlisted in this competition. The winners will now be decided by a public vote.

The public vote ends on 28th Jan (5pm). They are all in different categories so they won’t be competing against each other and you can vote for all three!

To vote for Denbighshire Archives & Ruthin Gaol Museum –

To vote for Swansea Museum –

To vote for The Cardiff Story Museum –

The shortlisted venues really need your support so please can you ask your friends and family to help,
Don’t forget if using social media to spread the word you may want to use #MatN2014

Museums at Night is Culture24’s festival of inspiring after hours cultural events at museums, galleries and heritage sites. Thursday May 15 – Saturday May 17th.

Everything you need to know about archives in Wales! www.archiveswales.org