Timeline of the history of the Society of the Sacred Heart – Barbara Vesey Provincial Archivist

Plans to create an online timeline of the history of the Society of the Sacred Heart began in 2016, as part of the planned celebrations for 2017 around the 175th anniversary of the Society’s presence in the UK. A teaching order of nuns, the Society was founded in France in 1800 by Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was canonised as St Madeleine Sophie in 1925. A group of seven nuns came over to Britain from France in 1842, establishing schools for Catholic girls in England, Scotland and Ireland (then part of the UK). The first school in England was at Berrymead Manor, Acton, London; in 1850 this school relocated to Roehampton, where it remained until the Second World War, when it moved again, this time to Woldingham. In its place on the grounds at Roehampton a tertiary college established by the Society was relocated from central London and renamed Digby Stuart College after the two English nuns, Mabel Digby and Janet Erskine Stuart, who had been Superiors General of the international Society. This college remains to this day, and is now one of the four constituent colleges that make up the University of Roehampton. The nuns of the Society have the appellation ‘RSCJ’ for ‘réligieuse du Sacré Coeur de Jésus’, the French for ‘women religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’.

Find out more on the creation of the timeline here: https://aralearning.wordpress.com/2020/04/24/timeline-of-the-history-of-the-society-of-the-sacred-heart-barbara-vesey-provincial-archivist/

Working from home

Recently on the Archives NRA jiscmail list the following list of online learning source and ideas for those working from home was shared. This might be of interest.

Free Courses:
•    Connecting to Collections Care  https://www.connectingtocollections.org/ has their webinars archived and available online – a lot of great information for a variety of institutions and collections, archives included. Free.

•    the Image Permanence Institute have some interesting archived webinars on photographic process identification, preservation and access etc that I’ve always fancied and never managed to make time for.

•    The National Archives run e-learning courses on fundraising for archives, including the following: Fundraising Strategy; Financial Planning; Case for Support; Building Networks and Supporters; Crowdfunding; Measuring Outcomes and Evaluation https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fundraising-for-archives-e-learning-courses-tickets-31256513072

•    The National Archives Latin tutorial: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/

•    The National Archives palaeography tutorial: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/

•    Future Learn have a wide range of free online courses: https://www.futurelearn.com/ Some more archive specific ones detailed below:

o    Cultural Heritage and the City, Discover how cities develop their own unique cultures and explore key concepts related to cultural heritage. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/cultural-heritage-cities

o    Learning from the Past: A Guide for the Curious Researcher, Learn how to understand the past to explain the present, and get to know the amazing sources and resources of the British Library. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/learning-from-the-past

o    The History of the Book in the Early Modern Period: 1450 to 1800, Explore the history of the book during the early modern period and learn how the invention of printing revolutionized our world. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/history-of-the-book

o    Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum: Get an introduction to museum studies with this free online course. Learn about the people and ideas that shape museums today https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/museum

o    Understanding Diversity and Inclusion: Develop your attitudes, skills and knowledge of cultural diversity so you’re able to create inclusive environments https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/diversity-inclusion-awareness

o    Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present – Join 50 leading scholars in exploring antisemitism, from its roots to its contemporary forms. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antisemitism

o    If you’ve never done any family history try – Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree: Develop an understanding of genealogy – how to research your family tree and share the results – with this free online course. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/genealogy

o    For a different approach to palaeography – Early Modern Scottish Palaeography: Reading Scotland’s Records. Travel back in time through Scottish history by examining early modern Scottish handwriting. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ems-palaeography

•    The Open University also have a range of online courses: Open University online courses http://open.edu/openlearn . Some more archive specific ones:

o    What is heritage? This free course will introduce you to the concept of heritage and its critical study, exploring the role of heritage in both past and contemporary societies. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/what-heritage/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

o    This free course, looking at, describing and identifying objects, will enable you to practise and develop your skills of observation and description of objects. It will also enable you to interpret objects and work towards writing your own object life cycle. You will also work with, and understand artefact databases. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/looking-describing-and-identifying-objects/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

o    Besides being simple mementos, family photographs can offer insights into the past. This free course, Picturing the family, looks at some of the ways photographs can reveal, and sometimes conceal, important information about the past. It teaches the skills and provides some of the knowledge needed to interpret such pictorial sources. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/visual-art/picturing-the-family/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

•    EdX have a wide range of free online courses, with some great ones on history here: https://www.edx.org/course/subject/history Some specific ones people have mentioned listed below

o    From a digital preservation angle, there are free online edX courses on computer science and programming, such as https://www.edx.org/course/cs50s-introduction-to-computer-science 

o    Also with digital, edX are running a course on Creating a Digital Cultural Community https://www.edx.org/course/creating-a-digital-cultural-heritage-community

•    Coursera also have a wide range of free online courses: https://www.coursera.org/ – a couple mentioned by people listed below:

o    I found this a pretty good place to start for research data management: https://www.coursera.org/learn/data-management

o    Range of history ones here: https://www.coursera.org/search?query=history&

•    For those interested in learning about Google Analytics – beginners and advanced courses are available online for free through the Analytics Academy.

•    The Carpentries: free online curricula for research data (Data Carpentry), research computing (Software Carpentry), and data/software skills for library work (Library Carpentry)

•    Codecademy: learn to code for free

•    Connecting to Collections: free webinars on collections care

•    DHPSNY: free recorded webinars on collections care (geared towards NY State, but free to all)

•    Digital A11y: Digital Accessibility Courses Roundup: A list of digital accessibility courses, many of which are free

•    Digital Skills for the Workplace: 15 free courses to enhance your workplace skills

•    DiRT Directory (Digital Research Tools Directory): list of digital humanities tools organized by category. Very useful starting point!

•    Free Code Camp: learn to code for free

•    Khan Academy: learn to code (and many other things) for free

•    Map Warper: a georectifier for juxtaposing historic maps onto Google Earth, etc.

•    NEDCC – on-demand webinars on collections care topics, digital preservation, grants & fundraising (follow link and scroll down for the free ones)

•    The Programming Historian: “novice-friendly, peer-reviewed tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate research and teaching” (+1 vote)

Paid Courses (or Subscription Required)

•    Museums Association Ethics course
Enrol in a free learning course on industry standard practice https://museumsassociation.learnhownow.com/courses/workingethically

•    Museums Association Collections course
Enrol in a free learning course on caring for and managing collections https://museumsassociation.learnhownow.com/courses/workingwithcollections

•    the Australian Society of Archivists has a range of online courses – https://www.archivists.org.au/learning-publications/online-courses. They are, of course, cheaper if you’re an ASA member, but anyone can do them, and hopefully some work places might support (e.g. fund) online PD during this unusual times.

Reading Resources

•    The National Archives has plenty of resources online relating to the Archive Sector: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector

•    National Archives resources on Managing Your Collection https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/advice-and-guidance/managing-your-collection/

•    National Archives resources on Fundraising for Archives: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/finding-funding/how-to-fundraise/

•    National Archives resources on Case Studies and Reports https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/case-studies-and-research-reports/

•    Ashmolean Museum Case Studies and Project Videos https://ashmolean.org/case-studies-and-projects

•    University of Nottingham collections info (especially good for deeds):

•    Archives Association of British Colombia, archivists’ toolkit: https://aabc.ca/resources/archivists-toolkit/

•    Archive Skills, “info bytes” (short summaries of archival topics): http://www.archive-skills.com/infobytes/

•    Digital Preservation Handbook: https://www.dpconline.org/handbook

•    Jisc guide to records management: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/records-management

Fun Stuff

•    Museum online virtual tours http://top10.com/virtual-museum-tours

•    https://ayearwithmycamera.com/blog/free-online-stuff-to-do-during-social-distancing

Tasks for Home Working

•    Clear up email inbox (sort/delete/reply to old emails)
•    Work on your PDR, review your goals/training needs
•    Familiarise yourself with other archives using their websites
•    Schedule a remote lunch or coffee talk with colleagues via phone or video to talk about things besides work
•    Webinars and other professional development
•    Write/edit presentations for future CPD talks
•    Think about the job you’d want X years from now. Schedule time each week to work towards that job
•    Identify areas for partnership working with other organisations
•    Update key documentation/policies etc

CAS Conference Cancelled

Dear Members

In view of the latest advice from the government and in line with action being taken by other organisations, such as ARA (Archives and Records Association) and the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, CAS Council has reluctantly decided to cancel the annual conference, which was due to take place at High Leigh, 18 – 20 May 2020. Anyone who has already applied will receive a full refund.

We have been monitoring the developing situation and have been in close touch with the conference centre at High Leigh over the past weeks and this now seems to us to be the best, indeed the only, course of action in the light of current advice and the best way to safeguard our members. The society stands to lose in the region of £4,000 by this action but there is no immediate alternative. Even if we were to go ahead which, in the end, might not be possible, the restrictions on movement and the advice to older members of the community to self-isolate would probably mean few people would attend and it would not be possible to present the sort of conference members have come to expect.

It is possible that we might be able to arrange with High Leigh to re-schedule the conference for a date later in the year, maybe September or October although, at the moment, we have no way of knowing if  the present crisis will have passed by then. Financially, we might recoup some money if we did this, but only if there was a good attendance. Finding a date convenient to all, at relatively short notice, could be difficult, and people might be reluctant to come for a variety of reasons. A good attendance in the autumn could impact on attendance at the May 2021 conference, which is already booked. It would be very helpful if you can let me know if you would be interested in a conference in autumn 2020 and another in May 2021 or if you think we should cancel the 2020 conference. Would a day conference in the autumn be of interest?

We will let you know as soon as possible what is decided and continue to provide you with CAS publications as they become available.

Please do get in touch with me with any comments and suggestions.

I wish you all well during these difficult few months and pray the Lord will bless and protect us all.

Judith Smeaton, CAS chair       


Archives volunteers sought

The Methodist Church is looking for two Archives Volunteers to help with the preparation of the Methodist Missionary Society collections before their transfer to a permanent repository.
Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Physical preparation: removing clips and staples, repackaging documents, organising records within the boxes
  • Weeding: looking for duplicates, removing material according to agreed rules
  • Listing: creating box lists for different categories of records
    Personal qualities required:
  • Interest in history or archives
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer literacy; data inputting
  • Understanding of Data Protection rules
  • Ability to lift boxes and volumes
    Work will be supervised and supported by the two Project Archivists.
    We ask that volunteers commit to one day a week (5 to 6 hours of work, preferably not Wednesdays). The position would suit someone in the London area as it will be based at The Methodist Church House (25 Marylebone Rd, London, NW1 5JR). Transport expenses will be reimbursed.

If you are interested in volunteering in this role, please send a brief statement to boyera@methodistchurch.org.uk explaining why you would like to be involved in the project along with the days you would be able to come in.

Catholic Archives Society ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2020

Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 May 

High Leigh Conference Centre

Lord St., Hoddesdon

EN11 8SG

Tel: 01992 463016


Monday 18th May

15.45 Arrivals, tea and registration

17.00 Welcome and overview of the Conference

Session 1: Donna Maguire, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, ‘The archives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland’

19.00 Evening meal

20.00 Book launch

Tuesday 19th May

8.00   Mass

8.30   Breakfast

9.15   Session 2: Margaret Harcourt Williams, FCJ Archives, ‘Working with the FCJ archives: a case study’

10.15 Coffee/Tea

10.45 Session 3: Dr Hannah Thomas, The Bar Convent, ‘Rediscovering the Archives of the Bar Convent, York’

12.00 Lunch

13.30 Session 4: Interest groups

14.30 Coffee/Tea
          Free time

17.30 Session 5: Annual General Meeting

19.00 Evening Meal

Wednesday 20th May

8.30   Breakfast

9.15   Session 6: Lawrence Gregory, National Institute of Newman Studies Archives, ‘Introduction to utilising Facebook and Twitter to promote your archive service’

10.30 Coffee

11.00 Session 7: Open Forum (including feedback from interest groups)

12.10 Mass

13.00 Lunch (followed by departures)


Residential £185 (members), £195 (non-members)

Various day delegate rates as per booking form.


Booking forms and any queries about bookings or accommodation should be addressed to:

Mr Jim Hughes, 12 Holburn Terrace, Ryton, Tyne and Wear, NE40 3DQ

Cheques should be made payable to Catholic Archives Society.  The closing date for bookings is Wednesday 22nd April. If your booking is likely to be delayed, please contact Jim as soon as possible to advise him of this, as bookings will be dealt with in order of receipt.


The Society is committed to paying for the rooms we have reserved and so it may not be possible to make refunds if rooms remain unfilled.


The local Railway station is Broxbourne.
The station is two miles from High Leigh, but there are plenty of taxis available at the station at reasonable rates (typically £6).

Further information

For further information about the conference contact: Karen O’Connor. Tel: 020 79014896. Email: karen.oconnor@cbcew.org.uk

2020 Catholic Archives Society Conference

The 2020 Conference will be held at High Leigh from 18-20 May. Speakers include:

Donna Maguire: ‘The archives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland’

Margaret Harcourt Williams: ‘Working with the FCJ Archives: a case study’

Edel Robinson: ‘Films made and commissioned by missionary institutes in Ireland’

Lawrence Gregory: ‘Using social media for archives’

Further details, including the full programme and booking form, will be issued shortly.

Job ad: Archivist and Records Project Manager

Based in Notting Hill, London.

A committed archivist is required on a part-time basis by mutual agreement to be the Project Archivist for the Sisters of our Lady of Sion, an international congregation of Roman Catholic women religious with headquarters located in Central London.

You will possess a recognized qualification in archive administration or equivalent.

You will be expected to demonstrate a high degree of self-motivation and initiative working in a small private general archive. You must have good communication and interpersonal skills for teamwork and a strong experienced base knowledge of IT. 

A basic knowledge of French is required.

You will be producing an inventory of the Records held by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.

Hours Part-Time 16 hrs weekly. Salary as ARA directives

Job Description

A knowledge of French is required

To assist in the assembling, cataloguing, preserving and managing the collection of historical information of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion in the UK. To produce a IT inventory of each boxed record as arranged in the Archive Office. This post could be suitable for a new graduate or an experienced person.

To create a Library of  books and artefacts.

This person will be in an assisting position and will liaise with the local and Congregational archivist at all times.

All enquiries to Sr Tessa Hughes nds.

Our Lady of Sion

49 St Peter’s Road


Birmingham B17 0AU

Email: tmh4bays@gmail.com