Accessioning at Glamorgan Archives

Collecting material and processing new accessions is a practice that has largely remained constant since the establishment of Glamorgan Archives in 1939, although the procedures involved have changed, especially with the advent of electronic systems in recent years.

Glamorgan Record Office was established in 1939 and received a number of accessions in that year and in 1940 but this work was interrupted by the war. Between 1941 and 1945 no accessions were received and in 1946 only 10 deposits were made.

During the war years records that had already been collected were evacuated to a country house in the Vale of Glamorgan and the strong-rooms were adapted as dormitories for fire watchers. The rooms had to be made fit for accommodation including the addition of an emergency exit and an air conditioning plant, and the ceilings were reinforced by steel girders as a precaution against air raids. The Office was reopened in December 1945 but it took a while to make the rooms suitable again for storage of documents, hence the small number of documents received in 1946.

There are only two other years in Glamorgan Archives’ history in which we did not record more than 75 accessions, 1948 and 1959. The ‘News from the Glamorgan Record Office’ published in the 1959 edition of Morgannwg tells us that very little survey work was carried out during that year, and most of the material received came ‘unasked’ rather than due to any deliberate effort.

The graph below shows that the number of accessions has gradually increased since the early days to a peak in the early 1990s before West Glamorgan Archive Service became a separate service. The figure of over 900 accessions in 1940 makes it look like the staff were very busy in that year, especially when on one day alone 320 entries were made in the accessions register!   As these records all came from the Quarter Sessions we would now consider them all as one accession, and only record them separately when cataloguing the material.

There have been other changes in procedure which do affect the figures for the number of accessions received but despite these changes the main principle of collecting original archive material relating the local area remains the same. We are always keen to acquire records of historical significance as without these additions to our collections we would be unable to record and preserve the history of the area.

If you would like to find out how to donate or deposit records with Glamorgan Archives take a look at our website for more information, and please do get in contact.

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