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Summer Visit to The National Archives July 30 Fina

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Phoenix Report 26 Jul 2005 20:29

FINAL DETAILS What to wear The older the document, the dirtier it is likely to be. If you want to handle original documents, your fingers may get very dirty. I’ll be wearing the white GR tee shirt, but at least it is washable. The building is air-conditioned (probably more for the records than for us!) so it is usually an equable temperature. Research notes Your bag is searched on arrival. You have to leave it in a locker (which may require a pound coin) and are only allowed to take your possessions into the search rooms in a clear container – carrier bags are supplied free of charge. Your papers will be searched again when you leave the search rooms. You are only allowed to take twenty loose sheets of paper into the search rooms. Try not to bring original research notes or documents. Life is easier if you simply have a list of what you want to look up, and why. Make sure, too, that anything you are capable of losing has your name and address on it. I once mislaid a 99p notebook containing whole week’s worth of research notes and was distracted until reunited with it. Food and drink For obvious reasons, this cannot be taken into the search rooms – even cough sweets or chewing gum. The restaurant area is quite large, now the re-decorations have finished, and you can bring your food and drink, or buy it on the day. You can get hot meals, salads, sandwiches and the usual range of snacks and drinks. There is also a water cooler. Shops The National Archives is set in a residential area. The nearest shops are a good ten minutes walk away. The bookshop on the premises has some very nice books, greeting cards etc, so you visit it at your own risk! Photocopying If you have a photocopying card that you’ve used at the FRC, you can use it at Kew as well. If you are likely to make several photocopies, it is worth checking out the options. You have to pay for the card, but the actual copies work out cheaper. Finally, don’t forget Glasses and/or magnifying glasses Your reader’s ticket, or proofs of identity for first time visitors


Julie Report 27 Jul 2005 15:56

Hi Brenda Sorry for the short notice, im afraid im gonna have to give it a miss on Saturday. I fell off step ladder and broken my ankle (great start to sch hols). Hope you all have a great day Julie


Phoenix Report 27 Jul 2005 22:37

Oh Julie, what miserable luck for you. I hope your family are well-trained in looking after you and that the bones knit quickly.


Alison Report 29 Jul 2005 10:29

Just to say, hope you all have a great time and get lots of info. Regards Alison


Unknown Report 29 Jul 2005 10:49

Has anyone pre-ordered MEPO 4/413 and 414? I am anxious to see them - they weren't available last time I came to Kew, so I am hoping a GR person has ordered them so I can take a peek too - I just want to check one page. Nell


Linen Report 1 Aug 2005 10:51

Good morning All, I added a thank you on Fi's thread on the Gen board but in case peeps on here don't look in on that board herewith my very grateful thanks to Brenda for organising a very worthwile & interesting day. For the future, anyone faced with the dilema I had when being asked at the station, 'do you want Kew Gardens or Kew Bridge'. The answer is the Gardens. I chose the wrong one & had to go into an estate agents to ask the way, quite a walk. Made me a bit late & Fi found me standing in the lobby looking lost & pointed me in the direction of Brenda. The first thing I learnt was that there is a difference between micro fiche & micro film! Yes, I told Brenda I have used Micro? before & off she went. I opened the drawer & the box & thought OMG whats this. I had only used micro fiche & this was micro film. I spotted Fi & she showed me how to use the reader, thank you Fi. Then I learnt my second lesson, the box that you take to put in the drawer in place of your film indicates which reader you should use & I had just plonked myself next to Fi, oh dear!!! The rest of the day went fine but much too fast & I'm looking forward to the next time. I'm not sure I would want to go alone, it was so nice to meet Viv from Herts who was the first person to greet me when I started using the boards, Helen little Nell, Mike from Oz, Fi & ofcourse Brenda & to be able to discuss our finds. Once again thank you all for making my first visit to Kew so enjoyable. Vivienne


Unknown Report 1 Aug 2005 11:12

We were a small but select group - our intrepid leader Brenda, Vivienne Linen Lady, Mike, Fi without a cat, Viv and me from North Herts. We went on a 'behind the scenes' tour and enjoyed watching the document carriers whizzing along on tracks high above our heads as well as handling some parchment sheet to be used in repairing documents. I went to the enquiry desk and asked about the warrant book I wanted and the lady got it - whoever had ordered it hadn't come in to claim it. I got the details of my uncle Walter Randal Gray's career in the police. I went into the library at Kew for the first time - WOW! It is overwhelming. But it does have, in A-Z order, lots of volumes about English counties. There are lists of poll books, some parish register extracts, street directories etc. I found a book which had the room layout of Rendcomb House, where my great-grandfather worked as an indoor servant. Then rather late in the day I looked for my other Metropolitan Policeman great-uncle, Walter Randal's brother Harry. I found his warrant number on microfilm but was JUST too late to order up the relevant book. Fi's fault for waving her photocopies in my face shouting 'I've found him!' [only joking, I know Fi had to wade through hefty volumes to find it and I am chuffed for her]. I was able to look up my uncle's warrant number on police-orders and found basic details including when he retired, so on my next visit to Kew I can get his pension record. Viv was much amused that I bought a book about lunatics in the bookshop! I hope more folk can come next time. Nell


Phoenix Report 1 Aug 2005 14:38

Hi everyone I've been off board as yesterday was spent in deepest Northants: Celtic cookery, an unfinished Tudor banquetting hall, one of the Eleanor crosses, a church with Saxon decoration, and a Roman villa, all in one day. It's proving difficult to drag myself back to the 21st century. Sorry you had such a steep learning curve, Vivienne. I have to say that it was several YEARS before I realised that Kew Gardens was the station to use, rather than Kew Bridge and I once waited the better part of half an hour for the train home, hopped on board, and then remembered that for a train home, you wait on the opposite platform to the one you arrived on! As for using microfilm, did anyone spot the helpful leaflets? I was just putting my blue box back before going down to tea, when I found a clutch of leaflets on how to use the microfilm, the printers etc. That's the sort of detail that it is helpful to know in advance, there's no sign that the information is on the National Archives website and I don't remember noticing them before. After tea, I finally plucked up the courage to look at some Army service records. I don't understand how the army or its records are organised, but I've located several of my Skillings who joined up, went off to the Boer War, then spent the rest of their days in Civvy Street, so I'm a happy bunny as I now know a few more details about them. It was really good to put a few more faces to names, and I hope that everyone felt that the day was useful, especially Mike, who had travelled rather further than the rest of us! Once I'm back from my holidays, I will be looking at my diary and putting some more dates up. This time, there will hopefully be less of a gap between arranging things and the actual visit. B