Document Owners Facilities - Archives
If you are an owner of archives of historical interest, whether a private individual with a few old title deeds or a collection of family letters, or an organisation such as a business, school or society, you can benefit from the facilities provided by the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service.
The importance of archives
Archives form part of our local, regional and national heritage. They are the building blocks of history, providing an irreplaceable key to our understanding of the past.
Archives are contemporary documents created to record an event or a transaction. They may have legal or administrative importance. Almost certainly they will have historical value. They can take many different forms - minute books, accounts and correspondence to name but a few. However, because in many ways they constitute an invisible part of our heritage, their importance is often underestimated or unappreciated. This makes archive collections very vulnerable to loss or destruction particularly at times of rationalisation or change. In addition poor environmental and storage conditions will contribute significantly to the physical decay of archives.
The archive service plays a valuable role in helping and advising owners of archives to ensure the permanent preservation of documents for the present and the future. We have a long and proud tradition of preserving Staffordshire's written heritage, spanning over fifty years.
What the archive service can offer you
It is the role of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service to locate, collect and preserve archive collections relating to past life and activity in the county of Staffordshire and the city of Stoke-on-Trent and to make these collections available for use in the present and the future.
Collections of archives may be donated to the Service or deposited on indefinite loan. When entrusted to the care of the Service documents that are over thirty years old are normally made available for research under supervised conditions. A longer closure period may be specified by law, or by the depositor, or may be applied for reasons of confidentiality, as for example in the case of personal records.
The archive service undertakes to provide the following for the owners of archives
- on-site survey of archive collections and provision of survey report
- advice on the physical condition and storage of archives
- specialist archive storage for collections in environmentally-controlled and secure strongrooms
- the provision of a catalogue of your collection as soon as is practicable after deposit
- specialist preservation and conservation work on documents which are fragile or damaged
- full supervision of the use of documents by the public in our reading rooms
Donation or deposit?
It is entirely a matter for you to decide whether you wish to donate your records to the Service or to deposit them. If you deposit, then we do ask for a long-term loan of at least thirty years to justify our time and costs in looking after your papers. It is possible for depositors to withdraw documents temporarily for specific purposes such as exhibitions. Full details of our terms and conditions of deposit are available by application to the head of archive services.
What will it cost?
There are no costs to an owner of archives in placing documents in the care of the archive service.
If you would like further information about depositing or donating archive collections, please get in touch with the head of archive services or any of our offices where staff will be pleased to assist you.
For guidance as to which of our repositories might be the most appropriate place of deposit for your documents please see our Collections Development Policy and Strategy 2013.
If you are interested in discussing this matter further please follow the links below for our contact details: