Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section


Electronic Newsletter

Issue No. 3 Spring 2006


INTRODUCTION

The newsletter is intended to keep you informed about the latest news from the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library. It is edited by Philippa Smith, Deputy Keeper of Manuscripts. Please feel free to forward it to anyone you think might like to read it. The newsletter now has around 150 subscribers. If you are not already on the mailing list, and would like to receive future issues, please email us at manuscripts.guildhall@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

More building works!

Music to your ears?

Measuring Up: Statistics for January-March 2006

The Scrivener’s Tale: Chaucer’s scribe revealed

Cataloguing news: London Stock Exchange applications for listing; Harrisons and Crosfield

Clues to the catalogue

Volunteer projects: St Katharine by the Tower Marriage Licence Records; A Place in the Sun

Conservation work in the Manuscripts Section

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Latin for Beginners

Archives and Mausolea

Archive Awareness Campaign 2005/6

Guided tours of Guildhall Library

London Maze 2006

A new brand name for the Joint Archives Service

We welcome your views!

Contact details

 

MORE BUILDING WORKS!

The refurbishment of the City’s West Wing office accommodation mentioned in previous newsletters is largely complete and the amount of noise disturbance is much reduced. However, work has now started on a new security control centre in the basement which has led to an area of the lower ground floor of Guildhall Library being sealed off. Unfortunately, as a result of this, there is now nowhere in the Library for you to eat your own refreshments. The building works are likely to last for about five months until June or July 2006, when the refreshment area should be reinstated. In the meantime, there are many cafes and bars in the vicinity of Guildhall where you can eat in, and on warmer days there is always the delightful garden in Aldermanbury on the site of the church of St Mary Aldermanbury, or seating in Guildhall Yard or next to the pond outside the church of St Lawrence Jewry. On Saturdays, the City is very quiet and many places are closed, so for cafes and bars it is best to head for Liverpool Street or St Paul’s Cathedral.

Note on the church of St Mary Aldermanbury: The church of St Mary Aldermanbury was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire in 1666. In 1941 it was damaged by enemy action, and in 1953 it was proposed that the church should be restored and constituted a guild church. This was never put into effect, and from 1954 to 1963 (after temporary repair) its status was that of a chapel of ease to St Giles Cripplegate. In 1966 the church was taken down and the stonework shipped to America for re-erection at Fulton, Missouri as a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill whose “Iron Curtain” speech was delivered there. The site is now a garden, much used by City workers during the Summer, which contains a memorial to Henry Condell and John Heminge, key figures in the production of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, a copy of which is held by Guildhall Library. There are also the remains of two pre-Great Fire tombs. Can you spot them?

Music to your ears?

If you are looking for something more to do during your lunch break, Charlie Turpie, has a suggestion:

Did you know that there are free concerts in City churches only a few minutes away from Guildhall Library almost every day?

It is refreshing to take a break from the modern City occasionally and sit in a lovely Wren church listening to beautiful music. Several churches in the City have a regular programme of lunchtime concerts which everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge, although donations are very welcome.

One of my favourites is St Anne and St Agnes on Gresham Street, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1680. It is two to four minutes away from Guildhall Library, depending whether you walk fast or amble slowly. It is now a Lutheran church with a busy programme of concerts, often by graduates of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The concerts are on Mondays and Fridays, starting at 13.10pm.

The closest church to Guildhall Library which offers concerts is St Lawrence Jewry (behind the pond on the corner of Aldermanbury and Gresham Street). It offers piano music on Mondays and organ recitals on Tuesdays, both starting at 13.00pm.

St Michael Cornhill (about five to ten minutes away from Guildhall Library) has the oldest established series of organ recitals in the world, founded by Harold Darke (of “Bleak Midwinter” fame) in 1916. The organ is very famous among organ scholars and we have had many of them in the reading room looking at the records of St Michael Cornhill to learn more about the organ, built by Renatus Harris. This series of recitals is on Mondays, also starting at 13.00pm.

I hope you will be inspired to enjoy a quieter side of the City.

 

MEASURING UP: STATISTICS FOR JANUARY TO MARCH 2006

Visitor numbers

Reader numbers finally seem to be picking up after the tragic events of 7 July 2005 caused them to dip dramatically last year. In fact we had our busiest week for a long time at half-term (13-18 February 2006). On the Thursday of that week, the two Enquiry Desk staff sent 21 replies to email enquiries from the public, and 8 replies to letter enquiries. 25 of these were replied to on the day of receipt; 4 were held over from the previous day. At the same time they had to cope with 48 readers in the reading room (our usual daily average is in the mid-twenties) and 23 telephone calls. By Friday morning, the Manuscripts Section had sent 82 replies to written enquiries received during the week, of which 75 were replied to on the day of receipt and the other 7 the next day.

You can see from the statistics below how the visitor numbers increase in February along with the number of documents produced in the reading room, and this trend continues in March. The number of emails continues to soar with the monthly totals of these now running at double those for last year, with no corresponding decrease in letter enquiries. Nevertheless, the Manuscripts Section continues to meet its target of at least 80% of written enquiries answered within two days.

January 2006

580 visitors to the reading room (562 in 2004)

1250 documents produced in the reading room (1405)

128 letter enquiries (57)

230 email enquiries (146)

233 telephone enquiries (196)

Enquiry response time for written enquiries (target at least 80% answered within two days): 94.6% answered within two days; over 80% answered on the day of receipt.

February 2006

681 visitors to the reading room (595 in 2004)

1400 documents produced in the reading room (1253)

62 letter enquiries (57)

306 email enquiries (152)

249 telephone enquiries (200)

Enquiry response time: 99.76% answered within two days; over 90% answered on the day of receipt.

March 2006

741 visitors to the reading room (638 in 2004)

1715 documents produced in the reading room (1417)

90 letter enquiries (60)

257 email enquiries (129)

283 telephone enquiries (239)

Enquiry response time: 98.1% answered within two days; over 85% answered on the day of receipt.

 

THE SCRIVENER’S TALE: CHAUCER’S SCRIBE REVEALED

A reader, Professor Linne Mooney, Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, has made a discovery which has caused great excitement in academic circles. She has identified Geoffrey Chaucer's scribe, who wrote the earliest and most authoritative copies of The Canterbury Tales, as Adam Pinkhurst, a scrivener of London. The key piece of evidence is Pinkhurst’s handwriting as he signed his oath in the Scriveners’ Company “Common Paper” (Guildhall Library Ms 5370) on joining the company in 1392. Professor Mooney, who is compiling a database of scribes working in England 1375-1425, compared this signature with the handwriting of the two earliest copies of The Canterbury Tales –the “Hengwrt” manuscript, in the National Library of Wales, and the “Ellesmere” manuscript, in the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Scholars have long accepted that these two manuscripts were written by the same hand, but have not until now had any information about who this scribe was or where he came from, or where he lived and worked.

For more information go to the original press release at www.admin.cam.ac.uk/news/press/dpp/2004071901. You can also read an article from the Guardian about Professor Mooney’s discovery at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1264937,00.html.

Postscript: Guildhall Library also holds evidence of the earliest testamentary bequest of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. This is within the registered copy of the will of John Brynchele, a working tailor who later became the first recorded Clerk of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, dated 24 July 1420 and proved in the Commissary Court of London on 13 September 1420 (GL Ms 9171/3 f64v). The will is significant for his bequest of books which include the “Talys of Caunterbury”. Chaucer died in 1400.

 

CATALOGUING NEWS

Charlie Turpie, who manages the section’s cataloguing programme, describes recent progress:

London Stock Exchange applications for listing

Readers who are interested in tracing the history of a particular business or an industrial sector, should be aware of the Stock Exchange applications for listing which we hold. We have recently catalogued 1371 boxes of applications from 1939 to 1965 which are now available for research (GL Ms 18000A).

Unlike the earlier applications for listing (GL Ms 18000), these papers are not indexed. The Manuscripts Section has therefore organised the files into alphabetical order within each year. Readers can use another series of Stock Exchange records as a contents list to the companies which are included in Ms 18000A. This series comprises the reports on applications for permissions to deal and for quotation in the official list (GL Ms 29798). There is a slight proviso, however, which is that the reports series is slightly unreliable before 1950 and may not include all companies whose applications were successful before that date.

What are applications for listing and what do they contain?

“Applications for listing” is shorthand for applications for authority to deal (allowing companies to have their shares traded on the London Stock Exchange) and/or from companies who wished to have their share price quoted in the Stock Exchange official list.

Approval of a company’s Application for Authority to Deal/Listing formed, in essence, an agreement between the London Stock Exchange and the company: in return for the Stock Exchange allowing the securities to be traded regularly on the market/admitted to the Stock Exchange List, the company would publish more information about itself and its trading performance than was statutorily required.

By 1954 a company had to provide a copy of its certificate of incorporation, and memorandum and articles of association, together with all circular letters about the issue, a copy of the resolution(s) authorising the issue and the prospectus or offer for sale, specimens of the allotment letter and certificate, a statement of the total number of shareholders and of those with the largest holdings, a declaration regarding documents filed under Acts of Parliament, particulars of underwriting arrangements with a letter of appointment for a broker, and undertakings by the Board regarding the issue of stocks/shares and the provision of financial information to both the company’s shareholders and the Stock Exchange. The Stock Exchange’s General Purposes Committee could waive any of the requirements and this documentation is not guaranteed to be present in every file.

We have a Word version of the catalogue which we will email to readers who would like to browse through it (the WebOPAC catalogue for Ms 18000A can be a little tricky to use and the company names on it have been truncated for technical reasons). If you would like to be sent a Word attachment containing the catalogue for Ms 18000A, please email manuscripts.guildhall@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

Please note that the 1371 boxes comprising Ms 18000A are held in our out-store and require at least 24 hours notice for access. Please email us at the above address giving as much notice as possible if you wish to order these, or any out-store items.

STOP PRESS: the complete catalogue of the gigantic Harrisons and Crosfield archive discussed in Newsletter no. 1 (GL Mss 37001-38277) is now available online.

This collection has been placed in our main store and does not have to be ordered in advance, unlike most of our large business collections. We will review usage of the Harrisons and Crosfield archive in a couple of years time and may move it to an out-store then – so do come in and consult it now!

Dr Stacey Gee, who completed the catalogue of the archive, describes it in more detail:

Harrisons and Crosfield Ltd (GL Mss 37001-38277)

Between 1990 and 1998 records of Harrisons and Crosfield Ltd and its subsidiary companies were transferred to Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section. The catalogue of these records – amounting to 137 shelves – is now complete and can be consulted on the City of London on-line library catalogue (see below for link). Select the 'Classification' button on the search menu and type 'Ms 37001' into the search field. This will present you with a list of brief descriptions of each manuscript, with the introductory notes for the collection at the top of the list.

Daniel and Smith Harrison and Joseph Crosfield entered into partnership in Liverpool in 1844 as tea and coffee merchants, under the style Harrisons and Crosfield. The partnership moved in 1854 to 3 Great Tower Street, London, becoming from the 1860s one of the largest tea traders in Britain. It became a limited company in 1908.

The focus of the business changed over the years as it diversified into new areas. In the 1890s the company took on the blending and packing of teas, and in the mid 20th century it was increasingly involved in rubber and plantation estates, and acquired shareholdings, often acting as agents and secretaries, in a number of plantation companies. By the late 20th century, Harrisons and Crosfield managed nearly half a million acres of tropical crops in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Southern India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Harrisons and Crosfield also had interests in timber and, especially from the 1950s, palm oil, speciality chemicals and other estates agency work, including the related business from insurance and shipping.

From the late 1960s the company consolidated its interests in a number of divisions, including the "Harcros" group of timber merchants and building suppliers, chemicals, animal feeds and other agricultural products. In late 1997 the firm started the disposal of all its timber and building supplies and food and agriculture divisions, to concentrate on speciality chemicals. From January 1998 the firm has been known as Elementis Plc.

Please note that access is restricted to records less than 30 years old, and to records less than 70 years old which relate to staff.

If you would like to find out more about either of the archives described above, you can search the Manuscripts Section’s catalogues online at www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/librarycatalogue. Just click on “Former catalogue”.

 

CLUES TO THE CATALOGUE

In the last issue, we looked at some of the mysterious phrases used in the Manuscripts Section’s computer catalogue in connection with the release of previously closed material at the start of 2006. We particularly examined the phrases “Closed Access” which is used in the catalogue to indicate an item held in the store rather than on the open shelves, and “Restricted access: enquire at Manuscripts Desk” which indicates closed material.

Two other phrases which you may see against items you wish to consult are “24 hours notice required for access” and “Access subject to special conditions: enquire at Manuscripts Desk”.

“24 hours notice required for access”

The Manuscripts Section has a store in the basement of Guildhall Library which those of you who have been on one of our behind-the-scenes tours will have visited. However, over half of the Manuscripts Section’s 5.75 linear miles of archives are held in off-site stores on the other side of Guildhall Yard underneath Guildhall Art Gallery. These items are those described in the catalogue as on 24 hours call. They generally comprise less frequently-consulted material, material which is available in the reading room on microfilm, and modern business records. We can produce material from these stores if we are given at least a day’s notice. Collections are made first thing in the morning of the day required so are available in the Manuscripts reading room from about 10am. As there is only one collection a day, we allow readers to order up to ten items at a time. We accept orders by telephone or email. If you can give us more than 24 hours notice, so much the better, as this allows us to plan our collection schedule more efficiently.

“Access subject to special conditions: enquire at Manuscripts Desk”

Some items held by the Manuscripts Section are felt to be so valuable, either monetarily, or in terms of the information they hold or their historical significance, that we require those wishing to see them to provide proof of their identity. Such items range from the immeasurably important papers of Robert Hooke, 1635-1703, one of the foremost English scientists of the 17th century and Surveyor of the City of London (GL Mss 1757-8) to beautifully decorated share certificates which are collectable and therefore have a significant monetary value. In a handful of cases, depositors have asked for their material to be safeguarded in this way.

If you wish to see such material, you will be asked to provide proof of your identity with your name, address and a signature matching the entry in our visitors book. A driving licence is ideal, but we are also happy to accept a combination of documents such as a library card and a utility bill. Some official ID cards, such as university or company ID cards are acceptable if they give an indication of how the bearer can be contacted. Overseas academics, who only have a temporary address in this country and wish to use their academic address, can use their university ID cards. Be warned, lots of the many cards we carry around with us nowadays have name and signature on them, but not address and this is a key piece of information which we require.

Our intention with this procedure is to verify the genuineness of readers wishing to see such material, to be able to contact them in the event of a problem, and to safeguard important items. Very few items are subject to these special conditions. If in doubt, check with staff at the Manuscripts enquiry desk, or bring suitable identification with you just in case.

 

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

St Katharine by the Tower Marriage Licence Records

For the past two years, volunteers have been working hard on a name index to the marriage licence records of the Royal Peculiar of St Katharine by the Tower. The marriage licences are important because they give more information than the registers, many of which have been published by the Harleian Society. The index (of around 9500 entries) is now finished and is available in the Manuscripts Section reading room. It has been compiled from GL Ms 9664, Ms 9740, Ms 9741, Ms 9772 and Ms 20954, which cover the period 1686-9, 1698-1704, 1720-1802 (with gaps). The index will be made available on the Manuscripts Section’s website in due course.

The marriage licence records of St Katharine by the Tower are particularly interesting because, before 1754, when Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into force, most of the marriages were of couples who did not live in the Royal Peculiar. For example, in August and September 1753, 40 licences were granted and none of the parties, that is neither the bride nor groom, gave their residence as St Katharine by the Tower. Quite a few of them came from nearby parishes such as St Botolph Aldgate and St George in the East, but there was also a couple from Barking in Essex, and another from Charlwood in Surrey. The chapel of St Katharine by the Tower did not simply serve the community of the Royal Peculiar. Before 1754 couples seem to have flocked to the chapel from miles around for a quick marriage by licence.

A Place in the Sun

Work continues on A Place in the Sun, the online index to early 19th century insurance policies in registers compiled by the Sun Fire Office and now held at Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section (GL Ms 11936). Over 100,000 entries have been indexed so far. As a result, more people are discovering the value of fire insurance records as a resource for local and social history as well as genealogical research.

The period covered by A Place in the Sun (currently 1816-1834, but expanding both forwards and backwards) makes it especially useful for family historians, because it is difficult to trace people when there are no civil registration records or census returns. Street and trade directories for the period are of limited value because they do not include the poorest members of society. There are certainly some famous names in the Sun registers, including members of the aristocracy and even royalty, but it was not only the rich who needed insurance. Anyone – tenants as well as property owners – with household goods or working tools or machinery of any value might take out a policy.

If your ancestors lived in London in the early 19th century, you may find information in the insurance records that you can follow up elsewhere. An address, for example, may enable you to identify the parish in which the family lived. If you found a policy held by a widow, or a deceased person’s executors, this could help you narrow down the original policyholder’s date of death. But do remember that the index includes only the basic details (names, addresses, occupations). By consulting the original policy register, or ordering a photocopy of the relevant entry, you can find out more about the contents of your ancestors’ home (which could, for example, include printed books or musical instruments) and the neighbourhood where they lived.

Searching the index will only take you a few minutes, so it is always worth trying even if you do not really expect to find anything of interest. Go to www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a, click ‘Search the database’, choose ‘Guildhall Library’ from the Location of Archives drop-down menu, and enter your search term (name, address or occupation). The database provides guidance on more advanced search strategies. Numbered insurance policies identified through the index can be ordered from, or consulted at, Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section (manuscripts.guildhall@cityoflondon.gov.uk, telephone 020 7332 1863/2).

For further information about the project, please contact the Project Manager, Brenda Griffith-Williams (brenda.griffith-williams@cityoflondon.gov.uk, telephone 020 7332 1863/2).

Conservation work in the Manuscripts Section

The Conservation Section based at Guildhall Library not only looks after the archives held by the Manuscripts Section, but also advises institutions within the City of London about the care of archives which they retain. Paul Humphreys, one of the conservators specialising in manuscripts, describes a visit to the Innholders’ Company earlier this year. The visit was at the Clerk’s request to assess the condition of their collection of wall-mounted framed charters and other documents. Six charters and a grant of arms were identified as needing attention. The main concern was that the vellum membranes were slipping from their perspex retaining clips, causing distortion and contact with the glass. It was decided that remedial work would be carried out in the Conservation Section, including small repairs and the fixing of parchment tabs to the verso of the membranes that would provide full support for the charters. So far two items, charters of Henry VIII (1514) and of Charles II (1663), have been conserved and returned. The company has offered a donation on completion of this project.

THE OXFORD Dictionary of National Biography

Many readers of this newsletter will be familiar with the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB), comprising 55,000 biographies of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2002. The Oxford DNB replaces and extends the original Victorian DNB, and includes re-written biographies of all subjects included in the Victorian DNB, reflecting new research, and providing an up-to-date assessment of their lives, and 6,500 biographies of new subjects from all periods. The new edition is available both in print and online at www.oxforddnb.com.

In the Manuscripts Section we welcomed researchers who had been commissioned to track down the baptisms, marriages, burials, wills and business affairs of persons worthy of an entry. There are now 272 entries in the new Oxford DNB which give Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section as an archival reference.

Many of these entries have been expanded from existing 19th and early 20th articles, with new research using more primary sources – for example entries for Alice Owen, Henry Hucks Gibbs and Thomas Best. There are also completely new entries quoting our records, for Maria Hackett, James Cox and Pantia Stephen Ralli among others. The Oxford DNB website lets you read the earlier entry and gives the name of previous and current authors and years of composition. The website also gives a link to the National Register of Archives, which can be very useful.

The one quibble we have is that the standard of referencing varies greatly. Sometimes it is perfect, with our Guildhall Library Ms numbers quoted. In other entries it is vague, which makes it difficult and time-consuming to follow up the references. We do have a standard form of citation and are very happy to help with citation queries.

However, the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is still a great work of reference, and the details of baptism, marriage and burial entries (in our experience) are much more reliable than before. The Oxford DNB website can be used for free in Guildhall Library Printed Books Section. Alternatively, you may be able to access it online for free through your local library service, or you can find out how to subscribe at www.oxforddnb.com

 

LATIN FOR BEGINNERS

Have you ever come up against a brick wall in your research when you come across Latin documents? Latin was used in official records right up until 1733 so it is quite common to meet it, for example, in probate records and manorial court records. The significance of the change from one language to another is evident in the registers of the Bishops of London which abruptly go into English in October 1733, but before that date are entirely in Latin. Here in the Manuscripts Section archivists with Latin are happy to help readers and enquirers with the odd word or phrase, but do not have the time to sit down to translate entire documents. However, if you would like to be able to read basic Latin yourself, help is now at hand from the National Archives with “Latin 1086-1733: a practical online tutorial for beginners”. The tutorial, which requires no previous knowledge of Latin, comprises 12 lessons with associated activities, and a reference tool including a word list and a list of common problems. The tutorial can be found at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/beginners.

The Latin tutorial joins “Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500-1800. A practical online tutorial” which can be found at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography.

 

ARCHIVES AND MAUSOLEA

Colleagues in the Print Room were intrigued by the business card of a Japanese reader which referred to the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency in Japan. Further research has revealed that the Imperial Household Agency is in charge of state matters concerning the Imperial House. Within it are several departments including the Department of Archives and Mausolea which, as its name suggests, is responsible for both the archives and nearly 900 Imperial mausolea and tombs scattered throughout Japan. More information about these can be found at www.kunaicho.go.jp/e07/ed07-09.html. The Imperial Household Agency’s website, www.kunaicho.go.jp/eindex.html, has virtually no information about the archives, but provides a fascinating insight into Japanese culture and the history of the Imperial Household. There is a whole section devoted to traditional culture which includes pages relating to court music, wild duck preserves and cormorant fishing, as well as Kemari, the ancient football game of the Imperial Court.

Archive Awareness Campaign 2005/6

The Manuscripts Section's series of free talks and behind-the-scenes tours for the national Archive Awareness Campaign 2005/6 has once again been hugely popular. The titles of the talks were Heroes are Worth More Than Saints: Bravery Awards at Guildhall Library; Four Early Maps of London; Business Records for Family Historians; and Marriage Licence Records and the St Katharine by the Tower Indexing Project. The two behind-the-scenes tours were so over-subscribed that a third one proved necessary. The talks resulted in just over 100 visits by 65 members of the public; about a fifth of these were first-time visitors to Guildhall Library. Most comments were favourable and included:

“The programme offered is most interesting and enhances our knowledge of the City.”

“A brilliant tone! So interesting and I congratulate the Guildhall Library on having such a splendid department. The personnel were fantastic. Thank you.”

However, two attendees commented, “A little Crowded” and “Less people as it was difficult to see.” Although, another commented, “Need to somehow improve attendance level”. In fact, all the talks were fully booked and had reserve lists of people wishing to attend.

 

GUIDED TOURS OF GUILDHALL LIBRARY

If you are interested in finding out more about Guildhall Library as a whole, tours will take place on:

Wednesday 7 June

Wednesday 2 August

Each visit will start at 1.00 p.m. and will last for one hour. You will hear about the history of the Library, see the collections, and visit behind the scenes. Tours are free but you must book in advance by phoning 020 7332 1866 or e-mailing printed.books@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Electronic resources in Guildhall Library

Would you like to know more about our computer-based resources and receive help in using them? Practical sessions will take place on:

Wednesday 3 May

Wednesday 5 July

Each session will start at 1.00 p.m. and will last for one hour. Sessions are free but you must book in advance by phoning 020 7332 1866 or e-mailing printed.books@cityoflondon.gov.uk

 

LONDON MAZE 2006

London Maze, the City's free local history fair, featuring stalls from around 50 of London’s museums, archives, local history libraries, and historical groups and societies, was a great success with a record 2700 people visiting the Guildhall complex on Saturday 18th March The event began with Peter Ackroyd, acclaimed author of London: the biography, opening the fair, and continued with talks, walks and activities throughout the day. The activities proved particularly popular and included the 95th (Rifles) Regiment of Foot drilling in Guildhall Yard and a medieval silk throwster demonstrating crafts from the past. The Victorian music hall star and the magician (Mick Scott from Keats House) both included audience participation which greatly appealed to our younger visitors! There were also talks by expert staff on selected paintings in Guildhall Art Gallery, demonstrations of 19th century surgery by the Old Operating Theatre Museum, tours of Roman London’s Amphitheatre and the opportunity to dress up as an ancient Romano-Briton, and advice sessions on the care of old photographs, drawings and books from Guildhall Library's conservators. Stephen Freeth, Keeper of Manuscripts at Guildhall Library and Sally Bevan, Senior Archivist at London Metropolitan Archives, gave a talk on Buildings of the City.

The London Maze will be returning in October 2007 and we look forward to seeing you there. If your organisation would like to have a stall at the event, you can register your interest now by emailing libraries@cityoflondon.gov.uk

London Maze is organised by the Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery Department of the City of London Corporation.

 

A NEW BRAND NAME FOR THE JOINT ARCHIVES SERVICE (JAS)

The Joint Archives Service (JAS) came into being in 2003 when London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and Keats House merged with the Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO). LMA and CLRO were then separate physical entities based at 40 Northampton Road in Clerkenwell and Guildhall respectively. At the time, retaining the different names for the separate parts of the service under an umbrella heading (JAS) was useful. Now, of course, the CLRO collections have been temporarily relocated to Clerkenwell during the refurbishment of the City’s “North Block” offices and this, together with the change of name from Corporation to City of London on 1 January 2006, has posed questions about the use of the name Corporation of London Records Office.

In order to clarify the situation for users, the rest of the City of London and colleagues outside the City, from 1 April 2006 the names JAS and CLRO will be no longer be used. LMA will be used to describe the location and all services delivered at Clerkenwell; Keats House will retain its separate identity.

 

WE WELCOME YOUR VIEWS!

Do you have any comments about this newsletter, about the Manuscripts Section itself or the records it holds? Do you have anything to contribute about your research, or experiences of working with archives that you would like to share? If so, please contact the editor, Philippa Smith, at philippa.smith@cityoflondon.gov.uk


Last updated May 2006

Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section