National Archives - Kew Tips?

Discussion in 'Research Material' started by von Poop, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Are we going to be able to download a whole series again for excel?
    brithm likes this.
  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Nope, still the same 1000 record limit on the export for now.
    brithm likes this.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tut :lol:
    brithm likes this.
  4. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Hello all,

    As I'm about to do my very first trip to Kew, I have a short technical question.

    My camera is a reflex that makes a very little noise when the shutter closes. (Like any reflex, there's a mechanical device and it always makes some minimal noise). This is really small - nothing like a typewriter-level noise- but I wonder whether this would create any trouble once in the reading room.

    Thanks for your advice!
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nope - Click away :)

    Ps Have fun and watch out for Helga :lol:
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I got told off again yesterday :lol:
  7. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    It might not get you told off, but if you do it at an ordinary desk, you may attract the ire of someone like me trying to get through 500 pages in a file and trying to concentrate..before collecting the next one.. helpful tip; get a camera desk or one by the window. And if you can mitigate the volume in any way, please, please do.

    I am good at zoning out noise usually (heck I used to be a Gunner) but I don't want to have to be bringing ear defenders to Kew.
    Swiper likes this.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I'm surprised they even let in you in anymore! :biggrin:
  9. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Staffsyeoman - If Helga's on the desk she will not let you take in your own ear defenders - she will tell you that you can only use the officially issued ear defenders. She won't let you take in ear plugs either as she will tell you (quite loudly) that these might be used as an eraser
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    And then tell you to stop moaning....She doesn't like competition :lol:
  11. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    While's she's got you in her sights Drew I'm relatively safe - keep taking the flak!!
    Drew5233 likes this.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    One for the team mate, one for the team.
  13. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member


    Good advise to get one of the table windows as they also have camera stands.

    You might not think that important but the daylight coming in through the windows, even on an overcast day, is hundreds of times brighter than the fluorescent lighting in the other parts of the reading rooms and you can't use a camera flash. All helps to get better images.

    The camera stands can also be great, reducing neck and leg strain a great deal over a long day of copying, but it does depend to some extent on the format of the docs you are copying and if you have a 'flippable' screen on your camera.

    Good luck, let us know how you get on.
  14. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Nah, I have a Gucci set of noise cancelling ear defenders (gunline bitter experience) recommended by a shooter friend, so I wouldn't hear her.

    Thanks for the back up advice on the windows - all good. Ever since the number of desks reduced (to let all the won't-pay-for-Ancestry wrinklies in to thash the census to death) to put in terminals there has been pressure on quiet workspace. Or workspace full stop.
  15. Mori

    Mori Active Member

    Hello all,

    Can't praise the information on this thread enough - all the more since I don't think there's any equivalent on any other site for US / German / French archives. All the above tips are valuable.

    I was positively surprised by how much the staff proved helpful and willing to help. It is a first class service you get there. I liked the blue uniform of the "supervisors" - so British :)

    And I took extra care not to be noticed by Helga - you do spot her immediately when you know who she is

    Again: big thanks
    Drew5233 likes this.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    :lol: What have I started :unsure:
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    Glad you enjoyed the experience. I hope you got what you needed to find.
  18. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    One of the great things about Kew is People watching.

    The Young chap sitting on one of the two cameras that work out of the 8, photographing the 400 page document. No idea of the history he is looking at, the queue or whether someone has turned off the Auto-focus. More interested in the continuous text messages from his girlfriend. Advice: Stare at him and check Auto-focus is turned on!!!!! Staring has no effect but makes you feel better.

    The Ancestry Granny who is making her way to the photocopier, stick in hand (Is that allowed?), bent over in pain, no idea where she is going. You will beat her to the machine, don't bank on it. Advice: Get fit, its a jungle out there. Leave your printing to a job lot but be careful, some of the systems are timed limited and delete your info if you do not print it quick enough.

    The person complaining very loudly that there are two people who just talked to each other in the quiet zone and then sits at the only two available ordering computers chatting to all and sundry. Advice: Don't join in, stare at them. You can order more docs at the computers spread around the reading room.

    Don't expect anyone to say thank you if you let them through the door first.The concentration is intense!!!!! They have just ordered 1,000 documents and have a 1,000 more and need to get through them. Advice: Tried staring, it does not work. Order documents in advance of your visit and get your orders in asap when you get there.

    Gladys has already ordered your document and having checked 5 times during the day, she has not returned it. Advice: Stare at the screen. No, that does not work either. Go and see the ever so helpful guys and girls at the desk, chances are it is in photocopying and they can get hold of it for you but ask early.

    And .... say thank you, l am sure they appreciate it (apart from Helga).
  19. veronicad

    veronicad Well-Known Member

    Well I was thinking of a visit to Kew,not so sure now.Not being a gadget person,Re:camera,computer.They should have a reception class for grannies with a stick,like me.And yep I've had a subscription to Ancestry for years.However,should I decide to brave it out,(you bet I am)I shall visit on the same day as Andy,and book a table near the window.My stick shall hang over the back of my chair.Should Andy kick it in a deliberate manner, then I will stare.(Per.Nick Fenton advice)If this advice fails,then I will have no hesitation in calling Helga, for her assistance.And as adviced say,Thank you.
    bamboo43 likes this.
  20. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I have to concur people watching is wonderful.

    Also sneaking sly glances at the work of those around you can pay rewards, met a couple of forum members here that way. Probably one of the most interesting was a chap who was researching the MauMau in great detail alongside contemporary counter-insurgency theory who was tremendously engaging and pretty funny.

    I also like trying to work out, who is having time away from the kids, who is sitting at a desk transcribing documents in detail - why a camera lays idly by. When really bored I make stories in my head up about groups/couples working together and wonder whether the secret love between the Hipster beard at table 1B and the henna-woman at 4F will ever be.

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