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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

A tale from the sticks

Sue Light

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I spent this morning at the West Sussex County Record Office – just embarking on a new project, and I wanted to get a copy of the Absent Voters List [Oct. 1918] for Worthing. I’ve used the volume before to transcribe the details of the men from Lancing and Steyning, but this time knew it might be too big a job for key tapping.

The Worthing men take up 81 pages, and total about 3,500, so I asked at the desk about getting it photocopied. No problem I was told – might take a while, but 81 pages at 50p a page - £40.50 thank you. While I was pondering on whether this was worth forgoing my weekly coffee in Café Nero, or the odd trip [or six] to the NA, the assistant returned.

Sorry, there's a new rule - it’s not possible to copy any electoral registers due to the Data Protection Act and ‘the case currently going through the High Court.’

Really? Not even from 1918?


What about? The ones I’m interested in have been dead for a while.


Give me strength.

So can I photograph the pages?

Fine, absolutely fine. But there’s a charge. There’s a fee for each session of £10….

My mind’s racing. How long’s a session? At least £10 is cheaper than £40.50…

Ms. Assistant deals her coup de grace:

… there’s a fee for each session of £10… plus 50p per image taken.

You don’t charge for plugging a laptop in, do you?


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Nice one Sue. Watch out, they might have a speed camera outside the main door, to catch the hordes exiting when they find out about the prices. £60 and a three month ban from the Record Office.

Terry Reeves

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I may have missed something in the translation (wot wi' me being oop 'ere, in t'northern sticks) but did they say you couldnt copy them (cos of the new rule), but then said you could, if you paid the new charge?

This isnt anything to do with "non-personal use" is it. It's just last time I was at the Library (trawling the newspaper archives), I needed a photocopy of soemthing, for a Forum member, and was asked if it was for personal use. When I said it was, I was then asked to fill in the "usual" form and pay my 10p a copy.

On the wider issue..... surely an electoral roll is an open document. Libraries have current ones, on display. You just have to ask. What about the Freedom of Information Act - worth trying s a counter argument?


(PS: my keyboard skills prevent using a laptop for this sort of thing - I'd be there all month. Paper, quill pen, back of ciggie packet for notes, jumpers for goal posts......)

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I know it's another language up there, but do pay attention, please.

They were quite happy to take my £40.50, until they realised they had forgotten about the NEW RULE. No-one seemed clear about the NEW RULE but did offer to find out. I thought to make things easier [silly me!] I could photograph them instead.

But it gets better. When I got back, I told my friend [my partner in this latest evil], and she thought I must have misunderstood [easy to see why] so she telephoned the record office and spoke to one of the archivists.

Photocopying of electoral rolls not allowed, at present anyway, until 'the case going through the High Court' has been settled. Are you unaware of this case?

Yeah... reckon so...

Photographing of the rolls is allowed, but it will cost at least £10 more to do it yourself, than to get the staff to waste their time doing it. Why? Listen carefully.

Allowing people to photograph our records could compromise the integrity of our images

How? Is it any different from photocopying?

Perhaps Worthing Library have a copy. Maybe you could copy theirs.

What about the 'case going through the High Court?' Doesn't it apply to Worthing Library? And surely these records aren't covered by any copyright laws?

Aaah... but you see there's the Data Protection Act...

And a 'case going through the High Court'?


Don't worry - we'll win eventually!


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I shoulda gone to Specsavers....definately need a new pair. Have now re-read your post and even an old fogey like me can spot the difference between a photograph and a photocopy.

I like this integrity compromising that goes on my the digi-camera. I'm told that, allegedly, my local library also isnt keen on having stuff photographed. That's the local library that's "sponsoring" my big research project - so it can't possibly be true.


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iTS ALLPART OS US LOOSING OUR LIBERTIES.The other day I tried to get a numberplate for my car trailer.No can do says the person stood infront of the numberplate machine.I require you to prove your identity have a reciept for the car a recient gas water or electricity bil and the car log book.Well I was not pleased BUT I went hame and collected up the required documents.I then presented myself at the counter and added that I had two balls in my pocket and that was what I thought of thje law.Tha shop person was not best pleased but made up my plate.After paying I asked how many dud plates they had made in the last two years.One came the rely and the police were after us obout those.So for the sake of one set of numberplates a freedom was lost.

In the great skeme of things a number plate or an absantee voters list is not a hill of beans,but what next I ask you.

I think this is serious stuff and we should not put up with it it has taken a thousand years and two world wars to gain our freedom.THIS TYPE OF THINK IS THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE WHICH IS GETTING THICKER AND THICKER.



JOHN. :(

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I have wondered about this ban on photographing documentation especially when the ban results in me struggling to the photocopier with a very large volume only to place it, although carefully, very flat on the photocopier, pushing the spine open to the point of almost no return. Photographing seems a far more conservation friendly way of recording information.


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