West Glamorgan Archive Service

Some of the 75th accessions we listed are no longer with us; some have been transferred to Swansea, to the West Glamorgan Archive Service which developed from a Glamorgan Record Office branch.

When the historic county of Glamorgan was divided into 3 by the Local Government Act, implemented in 1974, the new counties of Mid, South and West Glamorgan, in an early example of cross boundary co-operation, agreed to support a single joint archive service, based on the existing record office. The service continued in its Cathays Park location and West Glamorgan County Council declared its intention of providing for a West Glamorgan Area Record Office within the service, from which the needs of its population could more effectively be met. Through the late 1970s several properties were considered for this role including a nuclear bunker and a redundant church, all ruled out by conversion costs. Accommodation in the new county hall was eventually accepted although completion date was not until 1982.

In the meantime, records continued to be housed, accessioned and listed in Cardiff with an access point staffed once a month in a room provided by Swansea University’s History Department. By August 1982 County Hall was completed and the monthly searchroom moved into the West Glamorgan Area Record Office. The repository received Lord Chancellor’s approval in October 1983. Agreed sections of the Collection were transferred to the new premises from late October and the Office opened to the public on 5 March 1984.

A designated West Glamorgan Archivist was appointed in October 1982. Elisabeth Bickford remained in post until August 1987, succeeded by Susan Beckley in January 1988. Staff from the Cardiff headquarters supplemented the establishment and also worked on a guide to holdings in the branch.

West Glamorgan Archive Service

West Glamorgan Archive Service

In April 1992 West Glamorgan County Council withdrew from the Joint Archive Service. The former branch became the West Glamorgan County Record Office. The division of furniture and equipment and outstanding financial payments were amicably resolved and the division of the Collection was largely straightforward with the exception of a handful of disputed series. Co-operation between the two offices has continued and there is a healthy tradition of staff exchange. West Glamorgan Archive Service also celebrated its own anniversary this year with a successful open day. It was enlarged in the second round of local government reorganisation through a merger with the City of Swansea Archive, continuing as a joint service for the City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, and is firmly established as an active service and a major contributor to Welsh archive initiatives.

Elisabeth Bennett - Richard Burton Archive

Elisabeth Bennett – Richard Burton Archive

The first Area Archivist, now Elisabeth Bennett, heads the Richard Burton Archive at Swansea University, the first Welsh office to gain Archive Service Accreditation under the newly introduced scheme.

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