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Northamptonshire Archives

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Northamptonshire Archives

Postby Ruth Tucker » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:07 pm

I am very disappointed with the new access arrangements to the Northamptonshire Archives from 21st August, as announced on their facebook page:

"From 21 August 2017, opening times for free access to the Archives Service will be as follows:
• Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 9am to 1pm
• First Saturday of the month only, April - October: 9am to 4pm
The times during which researchers can visit the Archives Service are being increased. Appointments can now be booked, in advance and for a fee, to view original documents during the following times. The current fee is £31.50 per hour.
• Monday & Friday: 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm
• Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 2pm - 4pm
1-1 personal consultations can also be booked in advance for an hourly fee during the following times:
• Monday to Friday: 9am - 4pm"


The limited free public access hours and the extortionate fee of £31.50 per hour otherwise has provoked a storm of comments. Do any other archives charge fees like this? Or is this the shape of things to come? Such prohibitive fees will surely have an effect on those who wish to use such archives in pursuit of their family history.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:36 pm

Ruth Tucker wrote:... Do any other archives charge fees like this? ...

Absolutely not.

To take an example, £30 an hour at Cheshire Archives gets you a researcher who does the work for you, not just a seat in the room and you have to do the work yourself.

http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/northamptonshire-record-office-fees.html contains a blog by Chris Paton with a response from the Chief Executive of the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) - who is not impressed. On that blog item, there is also a link to a petition to sign to protest.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby junkers » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:33 pm

There is a complete difference between charging someone doing the research for you and you being charged for someone to get the documents out for you. The National Archives (TNA) say they have a role for the archives sector and I have complained to them, so perhaps we should try and see if they can excert some pressure on Northamptonshire. TNA is of course free at point of entry and you only pay for paper copies and certification of records and as has been pointed out people in Northamptonshire are already paying for the archive through their Community Charge. The idea that digitisation is going to help is wrong and misleading as some documents could not be digitised without damaging them and others are uneconomical, the same reason why documents are TNA are not all (thankfully) digitised and not least they are not the documents family historians want digitised. I am sure counties like Cornwall have similar problems with financing but they don't resort to this kind of action. I am afraid that TNA have given the general impression that digitisation (including born-digital) records are the future and which is an issue I would (and have) dispute(d).
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:48 pm

junkers wrote:There is a complete difference between charging someone doing the research for you and you being charged for someone to get the documents out for you.

Well, precisely. So how anyone can justify the fees being comparable is beyond me.

I don't understand their digitisation explanation because I don't understand what role the Record Office has in it. If you are going to digitise your parish registers, land tax records, etc. you contract with one of the companies like Ancestry, FMP, etc., they do the work with cameras, indexing, hosting, etc and (I hope but am not certain) pay you a licence fee (probably not big!)

Sent from my MotoG3 using WDYTYA Forum mobile app
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby ianbee » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:20 pm

junkers wrote:people in Northamptonshire are already paying for the archive through their Community Charge.

The Community Charge was abolished, and replaced by Council Tax in 1993.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby junkers » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:46 pm

Quite right about the Council tax, it's what comes about reading files from the 1980s and 1990s.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby junkers » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:29 pm

Good news. The National Archives have told me that they are aware of the situation and are in contact with Northamptonshire Archives and Northamptonshire Council. Hopefully this will mean a reasonable solution will be found.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby meekhcs » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:39 am

I hope so. If one Local Archives is allowed to charge in this way you may bet the rest will follow suit in double quick time.
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby meekhcs » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:09 pm

https://www.change.org/p/northamptonshi ... -archives-
this is the petition link re Northampton Archives
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Re: Northamptonshire Archives

Postby coopernicola » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:18 pm

I've just signed this and shared with my Facebook group. Looks like more of us need to. So far there are 1,700 of 5,000 needed!
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