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National Archives - Kew Tips?

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

  1. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Pete

    I see I'm not the only one who has had problems with the Gestnered copies. The only thing I have managed to do (It depends how badly the image has faded) is to put a piece of blank white A4 paper behind the page. Ask nicely at the desk where they copy things for you and they will give you some sheets.

    The only other thing to try is see if other units are copied in at the end of the page. Sometimes you can get a better image from another wd.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  2. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    My top tips.

    There's a really good pub in the underground/overground station thats a little expensive but great for a pint of Peroni on a hot day (food is so so depending on how they feel). There's a fish and chip shop on the other side of the station, but its best not to visit it prior to the vist due to greasy finger syndrome.

    Batteries are available in the shop on the ground floor.

    The group reading room (i.e. the noisy bit) isn't so noisy... unless you get an idiot who is annoywed with the supervisors because he isn't allowed more then box at the desk at the time.

    I usually sit at any of the seats numbered 5 as there has camera stands built into the seat at this location. Although the plugs near the window don't work.... and the seat, although hexagonal on the plan, is square in real life (unlike the other tables) giving you more room to put big docs like maps on it.

    There's a weird beeping thing that sounds at varioius intervals throughout the day... I think its something to do with the air conditioning.

    Use the foam supports, also there is a plastic guide on the table with a large NA logo. You can use the back of this under your war diaries if your documents are too see through. It works a treat.

    Don't pack a laptop in a plastic bag, they break too easily. Carry it under your arm as they have to open it at security in/out the reading room anyway.

    Also, outside, the geese bite.
     
  3. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Pete

    Photgraphing the stuff 'commnando' wasn't that bad, I was allocated a seat with no stand but I'll know next time to get one with one. Of the 300 that I took on Wed I recon about 5 have not come out that well. More my fault than the camera as I kept pressing the zoom-in button by accident. That explained why the camera was getting closer and closer to my chin over time.

    If, like me, you were actually looking for specific pages I think the freehand approach is probably the best, but if you plan to 'bulk-copy' an entire document, a stand would cetrainly keep your error count down.

    I have only had the photos for 5 days and I already know that Dad was nearly killed on the morning of the very first day of the invasion of France (10 May 39) when a group of four bombs landed within just 250 yds of where he was dug in.

    Gus
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Does anyone know if Kew is within that 'Congestion Charge Area' of London ?

    Edit: Just checked online and it isn't.
     
  5. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Does anyone know if Kew is within that 'Congestion Charge Area' of London ?

    Andy
    No its not!!!
    Rob:D
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I set off this morning for London from Yorkshire at 4.45am and arrived at Kew just before 8.30am. When I reached London I remembered why I moved north nearly twenty years ago and haven't been back since 2001.

    Anyway I waited until 9.00am having a coffee occasional staring at the book shop (Leave the bookshop alone I kept telling myself).

    Having read this thread and seeing folk enter the locker room returning with clear bags full of stuff I casualy strolled in there making sure no one was looking at me whilst trying to look like I knew what I was doing.

    At 9.00am I went upstairs to the second floor and registered for a reading card and then headed for the first floor and entered the hallowed area. I must say I did find the staff quite helpful if you asked what to do.

    I ordered my first three files (I was really impressed by the whole ordering receiving system) and having to wait 30 or so minutes I popped down to the shop ! I must say I was a little disappointed - I think the shop was stocked by a former 'Bryl cream boy' as all the books were about the RAF, they only had two Dunkirk related books and I've got them already !

    Anyway, back upstairs to collect the files (and received my first and only bollocking of the day) 'You can only have one box on the table at a time'. 'Thank god for that', I said, 'I was struggling for space' :lol:

    What has made me chuckle more than anything else was my naivety. I went with a list of 141 files all related to I Corps between 1939 -1940 including all units. I copied a grand total of two ! :lol: .... The first file was the size of a house and took me around 6 hours to photograph !

    When all is said and done ........ I can't wait to go back - Kew is bloody brilliant !
     
    CL1 and Paul Reed like this.
  7. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Nice one Andy - re. the book shop. You missed all the bargains I'm afraid mate; I cleaned up last week and got a load of the MLRS BAOR 1945 battlefield guide reprints... just to make you sick :lol:
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nice one Andy - re. the book shop. You missed all the bargains I'm afraid mate; I cleaned up last week and got a load of the MLRS BAOR 1945 battlefield guide reprints... just to make you sick :lol:


    No wonder there is only RAF books in there :lol:
     
  9. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Anyway, back upstairs to collect the files (and received my first and only bollocking of the day) 'You can only have one box on the table at a time'. 'Thank god for that', I said, 'I was struggling for space' :lol:

    When all is said and done ........ I can't wait to go back - Kew is bloody brilliant !

    Ah the bollocking, that's all part of the experience ;) Last time I was there a young girl was publically humiliated and escorted off the premises (rightly so) for underlining text in a document!

    One thing to be careful of is if a document does not lie flat on the table. Make sure to use the foam triangles to support it. Whatever you do don't rest it on your forearm, that'll get you a telling off. I did it once when I was a newbie, an old security guard (reminded me of Blakey from "On the Buses") gave me a roasting and never took his eyes off me whenever I visited for the next few years! I always made a point of saying hello to him whenever I arrived, he'd always mumble something back that sounded remarkably like "I'll get you b-b-b-Butler" :D

    Lee
     
  10. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    What has made me chuckle more than anything else was my naivety. I went with a list of 141 files all related to I Corps between 1939 -1940 including all units. I copied a grand total of two ! :lol: .... The first file was the size of a house and took me around 6 hours to photograph !

    When all is said and done ........ I can't wait to go back - Kew is bloody brilliant !

    Wait until you checked what you've done and got a blurred image, or realised you've turned 2 pages of a war diary over and missed the page you wanted.:D

    All part of the experience.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The ones I wasn't sure I took, I took again just incase - as for blurred shots - I'll find out in a bit when I've uploaded them.
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    First file contained 1,120 pages

    Second file contained 385 pages

    Not found a blurred one yet :D
     
  13. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    First file contained 1,120 pages

    Second file contained 385 pages

    Not found a blurred one yet :D

    Is that all you photographed?. Never mind, you'll get better at it.:lol:
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I thought that was good for 7 hrs - I do need to find a better technique though - my back is still aching :lol:
     
  15. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    I thought that was good for 7 hrs - I do need to find a better technique though - my back is still aching :lol:


    Just look for a Canon A650is Andy. Problem solved.
     
  16. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    I thought that was good for 7 hrs - I do need to find a better technique though - my back is still aching :lol:


    Can you wire your camera up to a laptop, Andy? I only ever suffer from dryness to my thumb tip through turning pages since I realised I could do that (see the image in full res on the laptop screen and press a key to 'click'...superb for long-hauls - and quick too (about 12 images per minute yesterday - all perfect))... I even find time to do things for myself these days!!!!

    Dave
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Dave,

    I must admit I had to keep stopping myself from licking my thumb and finger to turn the next page.
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    In one file I found what looked like some excellent maps but they were folded up and had a hole punched through several sections and attached to the file making unfolding the map impossible unless you detached it from the file, which I asume is a non-starter.

    [​IMG]


    Is there anyway of viewing/photographing these or is it a case of tough?

    Cheers
    A
     
  19. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Andy

    If you go to the enquiry desk in the reading room (by the document lockers and the one to the left of where you return the docs) and explain you want to look at a folded up doc, etc, they will take you to a locked room around back where you can take it apart and photograph it. Have had a couple of instances myself.

    When you have finished, you press a buzzer and they will let you out.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Rob,

    Not sure I want to pull a 1,000 + page Doc apart (I could see me droping all the pages on the floor) but will certainly bare it in mind for smaller files in the future. I did notice in the above file what appears to be the original 'cloth type' wall map of I Corps, it looks massive!
     

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