1.1 A key aim of Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is to ensure that the county’s archive heritage is preserved for the future and made widely available in the present. Its archives form the heart of the Service’s work and in 2006 they were Designated by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council as an outstanding collection of national and international importance.
1.2 Archives are collections of records which have grown up naturally in the course of the life and work of a body or individual. They are generally categorised or defined by their provenance or origin (that is by the body that created them or held them) not by the subject matter of the items they contain. These archive collections, where each item is made more important by its relation to the whole, are our most significant holdings, though we also acquire individual manuscripts as well as printed and pictorial material (see appendix).
1.3 This collecting policy, one of several policies relating to the different aspects of our work, gives details of the history and governance of Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and of the statutory framework giving it authority to collect archives. It outlines the scope of its collections, both in terms of geographical area and type of collection, and explains how we develop those collections. It also describes how archives are acquired and processed. A separate Preservation Policy covers the physical care of the collections.
2. Hampshire Archives and Local Studies – history and governance
2.1 Hampshire Record Office was established in October 1947 by Hampshire County Council, to preserve and make accessible the archives of the County Council and its predecessor authority Hampshire Quarter Sessions, as well as archives relating to Hampshire organisations and Hampshire families and individuals. In 1987 Wessex Film and Sound Archive was opened, jointly administered by the County Council and Hampshire Archives Trust, to collect moving image and sound recordings from a wider region (see 4.8 below).
2.2 In 1993 Hampshire Record Office moved to its present premises in Sussex Street, Winchester, which were purpose-built to the standards of BS 5454 and are approved by the Historical Manuscripts Commission and Public Record Office (now The National Archives) for the storage of public and private records.
2.3 In April 2008 the Service merged with the county Local Studies Library formerly housed in the Winchester lending library in Jewry Street, Winchester, to form Hampshire Archives and Local Studies (see 4.9 below). Hampshire Record Office remains the name of the building it occupies in Sussex Street.
2.4 Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is funded and managed by Hampshire County Council and sits within the county’s Department for Culture, Communities and Rural Affairs.
3. The statutory background
3.1 A statutory framework for archive care has developed gradually, largely in response to local initiatives to preserve and provide for our archive heritage. Its principal components are outlined below.
3.2 The Local Government (Records) Act 1962 enabled all local authorities to promote adequate use of their own records and empowered county and county borough councils as ‘principal archive authorities’ to acquire other records by purchase, gift or deposit.
Section 224 of the Local Government Act 1972 effectively continued these provisions:
Without prejudice to the powers of the custos rotulorum to give directions as to the documents of any county, a principal council shall make proper arrangements with respect to any documents that belong to or are in the custody of the council or any of their officers.
The Act limited automatic ‘archive powers’ in non-metropolitan areas to county councils, though district councils could apply for a special ministerial order to run archive services, and Portsmouth and Southampton were two of only eight district councils in the country to do this. Following the passing of the Act, Winchester City Council entered into a formal agreement with Hampshire Record Office for the provision of an archives service. (Under subsequent local government changes, new unitary authorities may exercise archive powers as ‘principal’ authorities, though most do so in partnership with the county from which they were taken.)
3.4T he Public Records Act 1958 provides for the deposit of any class of public records, at the Lord Chancellor’s discretion, in places other than the Public Record Office (now The National Archives), which have been appointed as places of deposit by him. Appointment depends on the provision of facilities for storage and safe-keeping and for public access as defined in the Act determined by inspection. Hampshire Record Office has been appointed as a place of deposit under the Act for public records including the records of courts, coroners and hospitals (see 4.5 below).
3.5 Manorial and tithe documents, under rules of 1959 and 1960 respectively, are under the superintendence of the Master of the Rolls, and local places of deposit are recognised following inspection on his behalf.
3.6 The Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, amended 1992, stipulated the designation of one or more diocesan record office in each diocese and provided for the deposit of all non-current parochial registers and records over 100 years old in these offices unless storage to a specified high standard is provided within the parish church. Under the Measure Hampshire Record Office has been designated as the diocesan record office for the diocese of Winchester (see 4.6 below).
4. The scope of our collections
4.1 Geographical area.
Our collecting policy embraces all archives relating to the county of Hampshire, and also archives of Hampshire families and institutions which because of their wider connections or interests may relate to places outside the county (see 4.7 below). We do not seek to acquire archives relating exclusively or primarily to Portsmouth or Southampton which will normally be found in the record offices of those cities; however records of these areas can be found in Hampshire Record Office as part of wider collections. As the diocesan record office for the diocese of Winchester we hold Church of England archives relating to an area wider than the administrative county of Hampshire (see 4.6 below), and the Wessex Film and Sound Archive also collects moving image and sound recordings relating to a wider area (see 4.8 below). In general, we will seek to avoid competition with other repositories within our collecting area, and will work with them to ensure that papers are placed in the most appropriate home.
We collect archives in all media. The bulk of the Record Office’s holdings have so far been received in traditional formats, such as paper or parchment, and as moving image and sound recordings. However, an increasing quantity is now being received in electronic format, and access is being provided to the holdings of WFSA in digital format. Digital copies of hard copy originals are also being created in-house for preservation or access reasons, or deposited at the Record Office in place of the original. A separate Digital Preservation Policy has been developed to cover the management of digital archives. We do not usually collect three dimensional artefacts unless they have a very direct relationship to associated archives held (for example seal matrices or caskets). Any queries relating to artefacts will usually be directed to the relevant museum service.
4.3 Chronological period
We collect all archives within our collecting remit regardless of date.
4.4 Local government records
As Hampshire County Council’s Record Office, our holdings include the historic and current administrative records of the County Council and its predecessor bodies. We provide a records management service covering the County Council’s current and semi-current records, and through this identify material to be preserved permanently as part of the County Council’s archive. Provision is also made for the records of other tiers of local government in Hampshire: district councils and their predecessors (excluding Portsmouth and Southampton), and parish councils. As mentioned in 3.3 above, a separate formal arrangement has been made between the County Council and Winchester City Council for the care and management of Winchester City’s archives.
4.5 Public records
Hampshire Record Office has been appointed as a place of deposit under the Public Records Act 1958 and as such has substantial holdings of public records, including the records of Quarter Sessions (this was a court of law as well as a local government and administrative body, and in fact continued the former functions on losing the latter). We also collect magistrates’ and coroners’ records, hospital records and the records of Winchester prison, as well as a number of other classes of public record.
4.6 Records of the Church of England
Under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, amended 1992, the office is designated as the diocesan record office for the diocese of Winchester, with responsibility for the central records of the diocese, formerly including Surrey and the Isle of Wight and still including Bournemouth, Christchurch and the Channel Islands; and for the records of parishes within the diocese except Southampton and Channel Island parishes. We are also responsible for records of parishes in the rural deaneries of Bishops Waltham and Petersfield in the diocese of Portsmouth; Portsmouth City Records Office acts for other parishes in this diocese. Responsibility for records of parishes in the diocese of Guildford, including parts of north eastern Hampshire, rests with Surrey History Centre following a decision made many years ago by the diocese of Guildford.
4.7 Other records
As well as these ‘official’ records, we look after the archives of a wide variety of bodies – nonconformist chapels; societies, charities and other local organisations and institutions; businesses; families and estates, and individuals. In the case of some families, institutions and businesses, their archives may extend beyond the county boundary, for example where they had estates or interests in different parts of the country or abroad. In addition, family members in positions of national or international importance retained records relating to those positions. In general, our policy has always been that the integrity of collections should not be compromised by the division of such an archive between different repositories, on either a territorial or a subject basis.
4.8 Wessex Film and Sound Archive
Hampshire Record Office also houses Wessex Film and Sound Archive (WFSA), jointly administered by Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Archives Trust. WFSA collects moving image and sound material of any age relating to a wider geographical area than other parts of the Record Office – originally the ‘Wessex’ region, but now mainly the western end of the Government’s South East region. We also have facilities for providing public access to this material, thereby meeting the requirement of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts’ Standard for Record Repositories that such material should only be collected where it can be accessed.
4.9 Printed and pictorial materials
As an Archives and Local Studies service we also collect printed and pictorial materials relating to the county of Hampshire, including books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, local maps, illustrative topographical material such as prints, drawings and photographs, and printed ephemera. Such material may form part of an archive collection, or appear as single or grouped items separate from an archive, or constitute the growing Local Studies collection. We seek to acquire such material and to develop these collections to maximise their usefulness as a record of the county’s history. A separate collecting policy relating to printed and pictorial materials has been produced and is attached as an appendix to this policy.
4.10 Copy material
We also acquire copies of archive material for consultation at the Record Office where an owner does not wish to part with original documents. Copies of archive material relating to Hampshire held in other repositories may also be purchased for the benefit of Record Office visitors as resources permit. Where material is of particular importance, and as resources permit, copies of finding aids relating to the country as a whole may be purchased (e.g. the International Genealogical Index, census indexes, General Register Office indexes to births, marriages and deaths). A separate surrogacy policy has been developed to cover the collecting and management of copy material.
5. The development of our archive collections
5.1 All these categories of records are important parts of Hampshire’s archive heritage, adding to the overall picture of our county’s past and present. We will seek to add further collections in all these categories, aiming to cover all parts of the county and as wide a range of institutions and subjects as possible.
5.2 Particular emphasis will be placed on archives at risk, e.g. hospitals facing closure or businesses which have failed, and on archives which may be under-represented in the office’s holding, e.g. archives of community groups and other local organisations, and archives reflecting the cultural diversity of the county.
5.3 For such archives, programmes of surveys will be arranged, normally in conjunction with Hampshire Archives Trust. Such surveys will be undertaken whether or not the owners/custodians wish to deposit their archives in the Record Office, since the existence of survey lists provides a measure of protection to a collection and enables its contents to be known. We will also advise owners/custodians on the storage and management of their records.
5.4 To assist in the process of selecting archives for permanent preservation, and to advise and inform owners/custodians and others about the management of their records, we will produce guidelines on the management and selection of different classes of archives, following national guidance where this exists. We will aim to publish this information, both on the web and by circulating it to relevant groups.
5.5 In most circumstances we care for archive collections and records which have accrued naturally as a result of a function or activity, but there are cases where we encourage the creation of records. Through WFSA and our work with local history societies and other community groups we will promote the active recording of community life today (e.g. via oral history recordings, DVDs, photographic collections, community archives etc) to ensure a multi-format record for the future.
6. How our archives are acquired and processed
6.1 We acquire archive collections on deposit, as a gift or bequest, or by purchase or transfer. We prefer gift or bequest as this ensures that the archive will be permanently preserved and available for consultation. In the case of either deposit or gift we will send a receipt within five working days of arrival in the Record Office.
6.2 The County Council is grateful to owners who place their archives on deposit in the Record Office for use by the public. At the same time the owners receive substantial benefits, and there is therefore a formal agreement between the owner and the County Council setting out the obligations of each. Under this agreement we undertake to store the records appropriately and carry out conservation work according to our resources and priorities (see separate Preservation Policy); to make them accessible through cataloguing; and to make them available without charge to our customers subject to the owner’s right to restrict access to sensitive records or to any statutory restriction. To justify the County Council’s expenditure in cataloguing and conserving the records, the agreement stipulates that collections should normally remain in the Record Office for at least 20 years.
6.3 We will accept collections on temporary deposit in order to carry out survey or photographic work, to provide access for a searcher, or to provide security for archives at times when they would otherwise be at risk.
6.4 If archive collections or individual records can only be acquired through purchase, and they are considered important in the overall context of our holdings, we will seek to do this, using external funding wherever possible.
6.5 In general, once they have been selected and accessioned, archives will be preserved permanently. However we reserve the right to conduct periodic reviews of archives held, and where necessary in the light of research use of those archives, to recommend the disposal of archives deemed not to be worthy of permanent preservation. Permission of depositors of archives will always be sought before they are disposed of.