Jersey Heritage is celebrating a year of development and innovation at the Archive despite the global pandemic, with staff adapting and providing online solutions to ensure continued access to the Island’s records.
The annual Archive Report, presented to the States Assembly this week, reveals that a great deal was achieved by the Archive team during 2020, a year that highlighted the importance of recording and preserving contemporary thoughts, memories, reactions and official decisions.
The report is written by Jersey Heritage’s Director of Archives & Collections Linda Romeril and in it, she says: “The entire Island community has felt the impact of the global pandemic in significant and different ways and the steps we have taken to adapt our lives will be part of the research agendas of the future.”
She says that the archive service adapted over the course of the year to ensure that people could still connect with their heritage. In total, there were:
- 46 online talks
- More than 200,000 online research sessions (more than double the usual amount)
- 46,000 new records added to the online catalogue, including some by staff working from home during lockdown using records that were already digitised
- To mark Lib 75, 3,000 files comprising nearly 40,000 individual pages from the Bailiff’s Occupation and Liberation Collection digitised and placed online.
The Archive team received praise from Jeremy Harris, Chair of the Records Advisory Panel, an independent body that reviews and advises Jersey Heritage and Government departments on their roles with respect to public records. In the report, he says: “2020 was a year of huge disruption because of the global pandemic. It is to the great credit of both the Archivist and Jersey Heritage that they have been able to maintain and adapt services during these unprecedented times, and indeed to make significant progress across many areas.”
As well as adapting to the changing circumstances of 2020, Jersey Archive staff also achieved the following:
- Review of 23 retention schedules
- Creation of an overarching retention schedule to highlight records produced as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic
- Start of the transfer of a backlog of about 6,000 boxes of public records into the newly-completed Archive extension. These included a plan of Fort Regent Rotunda from Property Holdings; the Trinity School punishment book, 1917-1957; and photographs, phonecards and publicity material, 1923-1998 from Jersey Telecom
- Rebinding of 20 volumes with help from Sycamore Bookbinding, including a commonplace book from the Parish of St Brelade that includes enrolments of legislation and crimes and punishments from the 16th and 17th centuries; and draft copies of the States of Jersey minutes from the early 20th century
- Responses to 3,776 individual enquiries to provide family and house history research advice, copies of documents and advice for researchers on topics ranging from tourism to shipping registers
- Responses to 190 enquiries from public institutions into records held on their behalf at Jersey Archive
- Responses to 85 requests from the local media for interviews, information and use of archive documents.