Tag Archives: wales

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.



Charles Stewart Rolls and Rolls Royce at Gwent Archives

Gwent Archives hold the Rolls family collection of papers which consists of varied documents including household accounts, photographs, prints and paintings and even daily menus for their house the Hendre at Llangattock-Vibon-Avel. Included within this collection are documents related to Charles Stewart Rolls one of the founders of Rolls Royce Ltd.
2  Rolls D361.FP.8.72

Correspondence between Charles and his father John Allen Rolls (Baron Llangattock) reveals Charles’s fascination with engines and the ‘autocar’. In 1893 at the age of sixteen Charles asked his father for an ‘Otto’ gas engine for Christmas, and wrote in 1896 of his ‘delightful’ ride in a friend’s autocar when they managed to reach twenty miles per hour. By October the same year Charles had saved enough money to buy his own car, a Peugot Phaeton, in Paris.

1 Rolls D361.FP.8.67


By 1903 Charles had his own company C.S. Rolls & Co. selling cars in London, but met Frederick Henry Royce a car manufacturer in 1904 and started selling cars with the name Rolls Royce

3 Rolls D361.FP.8.72 

Between November 1905 and September 1906 thirty Rolls Royces were registered in Monmouthshire, either by Charles himself or various owners from around the country. Rolls Royce Ltd. was formed in early 1906 but ran concurrently with Charles’s car dealership until at least October 1906 when Charles wrote that the companies may be merged. Charles Rolls died in a flying accident in 1910. 

For more information about your local archive service please visit www.archiveswales.org

CLOCH: Conserving Local Communities Heritage

 CLOCH trainees

The Conserving Local Communities Heritage (CLOCH) project is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund‘s ‘Skills for the Future’ programme and has provided work-based training opportunities for 16 bursary holders over three years. CLOCH is a partnership project, lead by Glamorgan Archives, bringing together libraries, archives and museums across South Wales to offer placements and work experience in the heritage sector.

Four cohorts of trainees have been recruited throughout the duration of the project. Each cohort starts with a three month induction at Glamorgan Archives, followed by a range of placements in partner libraries, archives or museums. Throughout the year, trainees will work towards relevant qualifications and build up their knowledge and skills in four main areas:

• Digitisation
• Research and Local History
• Conservation and Collection Management
• Community Engagement

The CLOCH project is targeting men aged under 30. This Positive Action Training enables young men to gain experience in occupational sectors where they are under-represented.

The CLOCH trainees have contributed to every area of work at Glamorgan Archives. They’ve assisted with enquiries and the production of documents in the searchroom, helped with visiting school groups, cleaned and repackaged records, assisted with the cataloguing of new material, and their newly acquired digitisation skills have been particularly helpful in making our photographic holdings available online via our catalogue, Canfod.

Meet the trainees

Tom May, Trainee at the University of South Wales and the Cardiff Story MuseumTom May

I left sixth form in 2011, unsure of what career path I wanted to take. Like most people my age I couldn’t afford to be picky as with even basic jobs there was a lot of competition and as a recent school leaver I didn’t have much experience to help me.

I’ve always been interested in my heritage and history in general since I was very young, so when I found out about the CLOCH project it seemed perfect for me as I would be able to get a year’s worth of experience in the sector and a qualification with it. So far it has exceeded my expectations and given me a valuable insight into the heritage sector through work in Glamorgan Archives, the University of South Wales and the Cardiff Story Museum. I have met a variety of new people and had the opportunity to attend all different types of training and gain skills in areas I wasn’t expecting such as digitisation.

With only a few months left I am confident this experience will stand me in good stead as I try to establish a career in this sector. The CLOCH project has given me a chance that I otherwise wouldn’t have had and I’m grateful to everyone involved in organising and funding it!

James Hamill, Trainee at Gwent Archives

After finishing my GCSEs in 2003, I worked full time whilst completing my A levels in English Language, English Literature and History. After this, I continued to work full time in a variety of jobs, ranging from a karting centre to working for two high street banks, via a car insurance firm and the family business. At this point, I was getting frustrated at the lack of a defined career path, so finding out about the CLOCH programme came at the perfect time.James Hamill

I’ve always enjoyed visiting museums and libraries, with the heritage sector in general being really fascinating to me. The chance to combine working in a sector I’ve always enjoyed on a personal level, with learning new skills and still operating in a customer service role as I have always previously done was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

I’ve since learnt a wide variety of new skills, such as digitisation, conservation and records management. I’ve been able to put these into practice during my time here at Gwent Archives, with particular focus being put on digitisation, records management and working in the research room, helping members of the public with enquiries and research into their own past. I’ve really enjoyed the past few months here, and I hope that this experience will lead to a long and successful career in a truly fascinating sector.

You can find out more about the CLOCH project at:


And you can follow the trainees on Twitter (@cloch_skills) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/CLOCHTraineeships).