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Access to Regimental Archives


stevehowarth
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It may be of interest to Pals with an interest in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding)Regiment to know that they are restricting access to their archive at HQ/Halifax. Members of the public are not to be allowed in. I contacted the Archive recently hoping to gain permission to research the 1/6th Battalion. The man in charge informed me that any approach was by e-mail/mail and research is done on your behalf by volunteers there at a cost of £20 per hour. This is problematic as the public has no idea what the archive actually contains on such a broad front as a battalion.

This appears a new policy. It's all the more disappointing as I had been allowed access several years ago.

Have Pals experienced similar problems researching in other regimental archives? It would be interesting to establish whether this the norm, the growing trend or the exception.

Steve

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Steve;

The policy, to my knowledge has been in effect for about a year. I, too, made some enquiries from this side of the Atlantic about my grandad (see signature below) but its a little hard to ask what they have if they won't tell you what they have.

I am waiting to hear from the Royal Welsh Regiment regarding their records about the Welsh Regiment battalions of WWI. They too have the same policy as the West Ridings.

George

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Steve,

The West Yorks museum archive have the same policy, and a similar hourly cost .

Regards

Chris

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Comes as almost no surprise. In my contacts with various regimental archives whislt I was researching the Stockport, the Duke's Archives was the least helpful by a long way (and, seemingly, the least knowledgable, being unclear of the difference between a first and second line territorial battalion).

John

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Whilst it's undoubtedly disappointing I can understand why they have gone in this direction (although I find the £20 charge a bit steep as they're volunteers).

As researching family history as a hobby has become increasingly popular there must be many, many more people wanting to access the archives, all those hands over all those records won't be doing them any favours. There is also the need for the museums themselves to make money somehow.

It's a shame, but needs must I suppose.

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Interesting feedback - thanks a lot.

Nice to hear from you Chris. Are you working on anything interesting re Craven?

Steve

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Maybe I'm reading this backwards but what's to stop you becoming a "volunteer researcher" yourself and gaining access that way? If you combined research on behalf of the museum with your own research you could kill two birds with one stone.

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Steve,

We are in the middle of putting material ( another 2 years worth of newspaper articles from the Pioneer, 1917-18 , along with family items, photos etc ) together for the next big up load to the site aimed for sometime in the summer.

I hope your keeping well

Regards

Chris

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Hello Chris,

If I remember correctly, The West Yorks Museum Archive charge £25 per Historical Enquiry irrespective of the time taken to research the individual. The findings are bound together in a spiral bound folder and may include MIC, Service or Pension Papers (if available), citations for gallantry awards, extracts from War Diaries, copies of articles from the Regimental Journal, copies of photos, obituary etc. Where there is an abundance of material on an individual (ie a career soldier) it represents very good value for money!

Regards

Ron

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Thank you Ron,

That explains things a lot better. I'm right in thinking though that it was fee at one time ?

Regards

Chris

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Hello Chris,

I don't know what the situation was in the past. I think that it was always difficult to gain access to the Archive. The problems appear to be lack of space and supervisory staff. The current Curator and Assistant Curator are keen to make information available and you can see quite a lot on the Web Site using the search facility. They appear keen to encourage both collectors and military historians but access is restricted due to space limitations. Worth contacting Graham Dyson to plead your case though.

Regards

Ron

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