Celebrating National Libraries Day: Meet the Archive Specialists at Norfolk Heritage Centre

Saturday 6 February 2016 is National Libraries Day and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the resources we have available at Norfolk Record Office. At The Archive Centre we have a reference library in the search room which covers topics such as Norfolk towns and villages, palaeography, Latin for local and family historians, genealogy, house history, heraldry, life in the workhouse and biographies of Norfolk families. In addition to these we have a small section of books for loan via Norfolk Library Service for those interested in local and family history. The Norfolk Record Office also has resources and staff based at Norfolk Heritage Centre, found on the second floor of the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. Here we have two Archive Specialists, Orla and Chris, who through outreach activities help people to access Norfolk Record Office resources and engage with its archive.

Chris Gary and Orla at NHC cropped

Left to right: Archive Specialist Chris Tracy, County Archivist Gary Tuson and Archive Specialist Orla Kennelly at Norfolk Heritage Centre.

As part of the library, Norfolk Heritage Centre holds a great deal of printed information, including the local studies collection. They also have printed maps, newspapers, electoral registers, cuttings collections, Picture Norfolk’s photograph archive, and special collections including the medieval City Library, the Colman Collection and Shipdham Collection. Together with these library records, Norfolk Heritage Centre makes available many of the Norfolk Record Office’s most popular collections including microfilmed and some digitised parish register collections, wills and other probate, land tax, freeman and apprentice records, tithe maps, poor law records and some monumental inscriptions and manorial material.

Norfolk Heritage Centre has a secure search room with PCs, study space and microform readers and they are open from 9-8pm Monday to Friday and 9-5pm on Saturday.

Meet the team: Archive Specialists

Orla Kennelly: Orla is currently working on our Family History Courses which are run at Norfolk Heritage Centre with some sessions also taking place at The Archive Centre. Coming up on Saturday 20 February we have the topic of Poor Law. These sessions use online and offline examples to help you develop the skills necessary for researching your own family tree. The work of the Archive Specialists is to get people using our collections and Orla will also be leading a hands on session with original documents at The Archive Centre on Tuesday 1 March. The topic will be Health and Hospital Records and it will be a follow up to a Heritage Hour talk on Tuesday 23 February at Norfolk Heritage Centre.

Chris Tracy: In recent weeks, Chris has been busy working on various Heritage Hours, the regular free lunchtime talks held fortnightly at Norfolk Heritage Centre. Just before Christmas, he presented ‘Parson Woodforde’s Christmas’, which examined the life and times of the famous 18th century rector of Weston Longville through the lens of some of the clergyman’s diary entries. In January, as part of another recent talk, he showed visitors how items from the Norfolk Heritage Centre collections including broadsides, photographs, pamphlets and business ephemera provide context to discussion of the history of the Temperance movement in Norwich. Besides continuing to promote Norfolk Heritage Centre/Norfolk Record Office events on social media and assisting visitors as part of the ‘Ask the Archives’ sessions, he is currently planning a course of resource-based poetry workshops for children using items such as maps, plans, albums and broadsides. This is scheduled to run in April 2016.


Upcoming events


Ask the Archives

If you are interested in using the Norfolk Record Office collection at Norfolk Heritage Centre, for family history or personal research, but need some further support why not book an appointment with an Archive Specialist? Appointments are available at Norfolk Heritage Centre on Tuesdays 1-2pm and 5-6pm and Saturdays 11am-12 noon. See Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library Eventbrite for exact dates or book on heritagecentre@norfolk.gov.uk or 01603 774740.


Archive Sources

This year we will be holding a series of two workshops looking at different types of documents held by the Norfolk Record Office. The first workshop, held at Norfolk Heritage Centre, will include a talk giving you the basics on using documents. The second workshop, held at The Archive Centre, will be a practical session with the opportunity to see original documents.


Archive Sources: Health and Hospital Records

Norfolk Record Office has a vast collection of records from and about hospitals and health bodies around the county. One of the earliest records is a Papal letter of Innocent IV to the master and brethren of the Hospital of Blessed Mary and St Giles (the Great Hospital) Norwich, confirming the hospital foundation. This dates from 1251.

sah_270#097 cropped. change minds

Page from a case book of St Andrew’s Hospital, Thorpe St Andrew. NRO catalogue number SAH 270. This case books covers the period from September 1881-March 1883. More information about St Andrew’s Hospital and this case study, amongst others, can be found on the website of our project ‘Change Minds‘.

Session one: Health and Hospital Records Heritage Hour Talk

At Norfolk Heritage Centre, Tuesday 23 February 1-2pm

No booking required

Session two: Join Archive Specialist Orla Kennelly for a hands on look at some of these records and learn more about accessing the collections of the Norfolk Record Office to aid your own research.

At The Archive Centre, Tuesday 1 March, 2-3.30pm

Places are limited. Booking required via Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library Eventbrite or 01603 774740


Archive Sources: The Work of the NRO Conservation Department

Learn more about how the Norfolk Record Office Conservation team conserve documents, the materials and processes used and the types of document held in the archive.

bts 04.02.15

A group on tour in the Conservation department at Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre

Session one: The Work of the NRO Conservation Department Heritage Hour Talk

At Norfolk Heritage Centre, Tuesday 19 April, 1-2pm

No booking required

Session two: Join Nick Sellwood, Senior Conservator at the Norfolk Record Office for a tour of the Conservation Department and to see examples of documents which have been conserved.

At The Archive Centre, Wednesday 27th April, 2-3.30pm.

Places are limited. Booking required via Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library Eventbrite or 01603 774740.

bts 06.15.2

Yuki Russell, Conservator talking to a group about the process of conserving and repairing the Norwich Bomb Map. NRO catalogue number ACC 2007/195

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