In her annual report, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Archives & Collections, Linda Romeril, reveals that staff have been given a glowing review by visitors to the Archive. In a nationwide survey of visitors to archives throughout Britain last year, Jersey Archive received a score of 9.8 out of 10 for overall service, and 9.9 out of 10 for availability, attitude and quality of staff advice.
She says: “Thanks to additional funding from the Government of Jersey, the team at Jersey Archive has developed over the past three years, allowing us to give public institutions more support in records management, catalogue and conserve more records and work to deal with the challenges of digital preservation.” She says the funding had also led to additional training for archivists and conservators and the resulting positive feedback from the public “was testament to the strong team at the Archive and their knowledge and commitment to both the preservation and provision of access to the unique archives we care for”. It showed “the impact of archives on people’s wellbeing and the willingness of the staff to ‘go the extra mile’”.
Her words are echoed by Anne Harris, the new Chair of the Records Advisory Panel, which independently oversees the work of the Archive. In the report, she says: “It is heart-warming to read the comments of Jersey Archive users underlining how important the information held here [at Jersey Archive] and the help and assistance of staff have been to them. The Panel is rightly proud of the skill and commitment of staff.”
The ‘2022 Annual Report on the Work of Jersey Heritage and the Archivist Under the Public Records (Jersey) Law, 2002’ was formally presented to the States Assembly earlier this month.
Previous annual reports highlighted that the Archive was under-resourced, which had resulted in a backlog of work. However, in 2020, the States Assembly agreed to commit 1% of its overall budget to support the Island’s arts, heritage and cultural sector. The Archive’s annual budget has since been increased and it reached £950,000 in 2022, nearly £200,000 more than the previous year. The majority of the budget was spent on employing archivists and conservators, enabling them to tackle the backlog and improve the overall service.
The annual report shows that more than 2,100 people visited the Archive in-person during 2022, a 38% increase following the Covid pandemic. This included researchers from Jersey, England, America, Canada and Australia, looking at everything from family history to the Occupation years, house history and artist Claude Cahun. More than 2,400 inquiries were also dealt with via phone calls and emails.
There was also an increase in use of the online catalogue, which now gives access to descriptions of over 600,000 documents, with over 100,000 individual images and over 27,000 individual PDFs. Online documents range from Occupation files and 19th century hospital records, to States propositions and church Baptism, marriages and burials.
Over 220,000 individual users logged on for over 300,000 sessions of online research. The majority of these were users in either the UK or Jersey, followed by America and Australia.
Other achievements during 2022 included:
- The transfer of over 2,000 boxes of documents to Jersey Archive, includes censuses from 1991, 1996 and 2021; plans from Jersey College for Girls; and photographs from a number of schools
- The transfer of 27 digital collections, including video footage of the proclamation of King Charles III in the Royal Square and records of the Jersey Covid Review Panel
- The conservation of book binding on 43 sets of documents, either in-house or externally, including hospital admission registers from the early 20th century; school admission registers for the inter-war period
- The review and update of 37 records retention schedules (listing for records that must be kept) for public records
- The addition by staff of nearly 9,500 new items to the online catalogue, including key public documents from 1970s
- The addition of over 20,000 descriptions, indexes and images of key records to the online catalogue by archive volunteers
- The strongrooms remained at the required temperature to protect the archives 100% of the year, despite 2022 being the hottest year on record for Jersey, with temperatures reaching 37.9C.
The ‘2022 Annual Report on the Work of Jersey Heritage and the Archivist Under the Public Records (Jersey) Law, 2002’ can be found at in the ‘Governance’ section of the Jersey Heritage website or at: