Job ad: Archivist



 £25,000 – £27,000 per annum/pro-rata

The Archive of the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham was established in the 1950s, and was one of the first Catholic collections to be listed by the National Register of Archives. Since then it has been developed by successive archivists, and now has an electronic catalogue using the CALM system. The archives are housed in St Chad’s Cathedral House, Queensway, Birmingham.

The primary responsibility of the archivist is to support the administration of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and its departments and agencies, through effective management and care of historic records. There will also be the requirement to deal with research enquiries, and potentially, scope to develop or encourage outreach and educational support.

A part-time Archivist (20 hours per week) with appropriate postgraduate qualifications, and professional experience is sought for this role. The successful candidate will be capable of working on his/her own, and will have appropriate language skills, including some knowledge of Latin and French. Enhancement of language skills, along with any other requirements, will become part of the archivist’s continuing professional development, for which provision will be made.

It is anticipated that the appointee will have an active interest in post-Reformation Catholic history, and be willing to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of Catholic archives through engagement with other professional and related bodies, and with individuals in comparable posts.

The Diocesan Archives is an independent department within the Diocesan Curia, the appointee will, however, from time-to-time find it necessary to work collaboratively with other departments within the Curia, including planning, finance etc. The appointee will be answerable directly to the Diocesan Trustees, through an individual member of the trustees, who will be appointed as line manager. In addition, there will be an advisory group (including the archivist’s line manager) appointed to oversee, support and mentor the work of this role, which will meet with the archivist 3-4 times a year.

The initial period of appointment will be for two years, with the possibility of extension, or a permanent appointment thereafter.

For an informal discussion about this role please contact Judith Champ, telephone 0121 321 5014, email:

Application should be made, by submitting a full Curriculum Vitae (CV) and accompanying letter, which should set out relevant experience and why you are interested in this role. Your application for this role should be emailed to Gerry Dryden, Human Resources Director, at by no later than noon on Friday 29th September, 2017. Interviews for this role have been scheduled for Monday 16th October, 2017.

Upcoming training day in October

Catholic Archives Society Training

Herefordshire Archives and Record Centre

Monday 30 October 2017

1pm – 5pm

March’s successful training afternoon is being repeated in October.  As before, Richard Wade, HARC archivist, will speak about how to approach sorting, cataloguing and conservation.  He will cover preliminary sorting and listing, preparing a more detailed catalogue and basic preservation and conservation.

Richard will spend half the session looking at definitions, general principles, why archives are important and what to do when faced with an archive and half the session looking at practical matters such as what to keep and how to catalogue.

Part of the afternoon will be hands on and participants are welcome to bring some of their own material with them.

The cost is £26 to CAS members, £27 to non-members.  Please send a cheque payable to the Catholic Archives Society to the treasurer, Sr Benignus O’Brien, Langdale House, 42 Petitor Road, Torquay TQ1 4QF and/or contact for more information and if there is anything particular you would like covered.

Some comments from March delegates:

I think your speaker must be a born teacher/lecturer! He was excellent. And I don’t know how he managed such a marathon. He seemed to touch on everything in such an easy manner.

The speaker answered my questions fully.  I am now much clearer about what I should take into the archives

My volunteers feels he got a lot out of it and that it was very successful.

HARC is just outside Hereford at Rotherwas, HR2 6LA.  There is plenty of parking outside the building and two cafés nearby.

There are trains to Hereford from London via Reading and Oxford and from Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester and taxis outside the station.

Catholic History Day, Bar Convent, York

Catholic Record Society/Postgate Society/English Catholic History Association


The Bar Convent, York

Saturday 3 June 2017


10.00  Arrivals and coffee

10.30  Welcome and introduction to the day

10.35  Dr. James Kelly: Rendering unto Caesar? The secular, the sacred and the formation of an English Catholic identity c.1558 – 1829

11.40  Break

11.50  Dr. Cormac Begadon:  Exile and Mission: the English Catholic Clergy 1568-1793

1.00  Lunch

2.30  Dr. Hannah Thomas From Exile to Integration: English Convents across the Channel c.1597 1794

3.30  Tea

3.45  Dr. Caroline Bowden “We must have a school for our daughters” –  what were the choices?

 5.00  Vigil Mass of Sunday in the Convent Chapel

COST: £15.00 (Students £7.50) includes tea and coffee but not lunch. Light lunches available in the restaurant, bookable on the day. Telephone 01904 464 910 to reserve a table.

For more information and to reserve a place please contact Judith Smeaton on 01904 704 525 or at

Report of an archives training event at Hereford Archives and Record Centre (HARC), 13th March 2017

Richard Wade is one of the four archivists at HARC who has worked with many different types of archives. He gave a very useful general introduction on archives in an afternoon session organised by the Catholic Archives Society at HARC.

We had submitted questions in advance which he used to plan the talk. He covered general archive management and more specifically how to deal with archives as well as giving lots of practical tips and making everyone think about their own archives.

Although based on his own experience in Hereford, Richard stressed throughout how important it was for policies and procedures to be relevant to our own institutions. He also assured us that all collections had backlogs – we were not alone!  Even small tasks could take all day if extra research was needed.

He covered the definition of archives, the value of archives, policies and procedures, accessioning archives, the arrangement and description of archives and even the packaging requirements.

Some complex issues such as data protection would need a separate session, but he gave a few useful pointers about personal information and ways of handling such enquiries. He advised making sure that current material is not put in archive collections as it could create too many issues including legal problems.  He explained about the value of a consistent retention schedule: if you agree to keep items for a fixed period you must ensure they are not kept after that period (this may be a requirement of Data Protection regulations).

He suggested that with electronic and some financial records it would be sensible to get into discussions at an early stage of the record cycle; the best way of keeping electronic records for the future is still work in progress.

The importance of consistency in arrangements, cataloguing and descriptions were some of the key points, as was keeping collections together; the provenance and original order can be valuable in making the most of the item, whilst catalogues and indexes can link related items in different collections.

Richard gave us some exercises on how to sort different archives; these gave him the chance to highlight some of the potential pitfalls.  He encouraged all to avoid using the term “miscellaneous”!

It was an extremely interesting and useful afternoon, giving all the participants plenty to consider when they start on their own archive collection work.

The event will be repeated on Monday 30th October. Please contact the Catholic Archives Society for more details.

Una Morgan
Ledbury  Parish Secretary