Glorious Gloucester was the venue for the training day in March. It was held at the Gloucestershire County Records Office, which was ten minutes walk from the railway station. The building was a former primary school built completely on the ground [floor. Eight members of the Society were present.
After registration and coffee at 10.30am, our host, Mr. David Smith the County Archivist, spoke about his work and then conducted the tour around the Records Office. Starting at the Public Reception Area, the group was led through the Research Room. Here, members of the public obtained archival documents on loan and returned them after use. Adjacent to this was the Catalogues and Indexes Reference Room. Mr. Smith opened a Document Index and a Photograph Index, pointing out the differences in layout. Then we were led through the Microfilm Rooms where up to 50 researchers were viewing microfilms in individual display units. We were led through a passageway to the Reception Room where boxes of unclassified materials had been received recently from public and private collections. The tour concluded with a visit to a windowless concrete extension where classified boxes of archival documents were stored at constant room temperature and humidity.
After the tour, Debbie Allen, Senior Conservator, gave a talk on “The Conservation of Documents”. She spoke about the reception of new archival material; the cleaning of dusty documents; the care of personal health by using dust masks and gloves; the care of leather bookbinding and photographs; the materials to use and to avoid in preserving and presenting documents. Buffet lunch had arrived by now, and the opportunity was provided to ask questions and share ideas between our hosts and the Society members.
In the afternoon, Karen Reader, Modern Records Archivist, spoke on “The Management of Current and Semi Current Records”. She explained how the records are kept for Gloucestershire County Council; for how long; how the system of retention, transfer and retrieval of those records works; how records are destroyed or disposed of after an agreed lapse – eg 5, 10, 15 years.
At about 3.15pm the interesting and informative day came to an end with a cup of tea and departure. I am sure members who were present will join me in a big “thank you” to David Smith, the speakers and staff of Gloucestershire County Archives, and to the organisers of the CAS for this very successful day.