National Archives - Kew Tips?

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

  1. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    "and commercial opportunities of the collection" says it all really.
    papiermache and Rich Payne like this.
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Subsidising the Mormon cult no doubt ? I refuse to. I'd rather go without. Does this mean that we're now in the last days of being able to pay £30 to Glasgow ?
    papiermache likes this.
  3. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    I suspect it is Rich. It will take a good few years to accession the service papers so bound to be a period of time between MoD stopping the service and the records being available at Kew/highest-bidding Genealogy website.
  4. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    How the MOD described the scale of the records five years ago:

    Screen Shot 2021-04-24 at 08.30.30.png
    PsyWar.Org likes this.
  5. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Plain text of MOD presentation to Kew User Forum, minus February 2016 time critical links, given at Kew in February 2016:

    See these links for full documents regarding this and previous post:


    1. Representatives from the Ministry of Defence’s Record branch will attend the The National Archives User Forum on Tuesday 16 Feb 2016 at 3.15pm in the Talks Room.

    2. Service personnel records for those discharged after 1920 are held by the MOD. All of those to 1963 have been selected for permanent preservation. Partly because of the volume of records involved, it has been assumed that these records will be accessioned by The National Archives in digital format.

    3. In 2008 the MOD conducted a public consultation on four parts of this record set. Two of these (airman’s records and Naval Ratings Cards) have been digitised and transferred from the MOD to TNA. Digitisation and transfer of the third (Home Guard records) commenced but was suspended when the age profile of individuals was found to be younger than assumed.

    4. The fourth record set identified was approximately 170,000 records for soldiers with dates of birth of 1895 or earlier. Subsequent to the public consultation, the MOD and TNA have: explored the content of the records; what information on the record to digitise and when; the treatment of the hard copy; the accessioning process; the treatment of medical in confidence information within the record; and supporting commercial models. No decisions have been made or implementation action taken. The records remain accessible through the MOD’s publication scheme and the MOD has released the indexed data that supports these records into the public domain on Indexed data relating to individuals with a date of birth of pre 1902 has also been released on

    5. The MOD is currently carrying out a study to recommend how service personnel records which have been selected for permanent preservation can be made more widely available to the public. This includes the approximately 170,000 records for soldiers with dates of birth of 1895 or earlier, and all other service records where the individual has a discharge date of pre 1963. It includes accessibility through the MOD’s publication scheme (to meet Freedom of Information Act 2000 requirements) as well as transfer to The National Archives (to meet Public Record Acts requirements). The study is due to conclude in Sept 2016 with a recommendation to the MOD’s Departmental Records Officer.

    6. As part of the study, the MOD is keen to capture the views of end users of the records. The particular areas the MOD wishes to explore are:
    a. User groups. Access is currently given on 1:1 basis; individuals request a service record and that request is met. Individuals may apply for more than 1 service record through submitting multiple requests. Views are sought on:
    i. whether multiple access is required; for example to see many records at once for unit, geographic or age analysis;
    ii. whether types of access other than to the whole service record is required; for example a requirement to capture data from the record without necessarily seeing the physical record.
    b. Indexed data. Where the format of the record relates to one individual then the index currently held by the MOD will typically include name, initials, service number, date of birth and sometimes unit. The capture of any additional data would require the retrieval and re-index of the record which would incur a cost. Views are sought on:
    i. if current indexed data will suffice in meeting user needs; or
    ii. what additional indexed data is required or desirable.
    c. Digitisation. It is currently assumed that records would be accessioned (from the MOD to TNA) in digital format. Digitisation increases accessibility. Access to records can also be provided through retrieval and return to remote storage facilities. Views are sought on:
    i. a “mixed economy”, whereby some records are accessible in digital format and others accessible on demand in hard copy;
    ii. for those accessible in hard copy, the acceptable time from customer request to availability of the document.
    d. Cost. Neither MOD nor TNA currently has the funding to pay for the digitisation of this record set. Funding requirements are typically met by commercial providers. Views are sought on:
    i. the appetite of users to pay for digitisation of records subsequently made available to the general public;
    ii. digitisation of part of each record only, for example attestation papers; iii. digitisation of only parts of the record set (for example records where the
    individual has WW1 and/or WW2 service). "
    Rich Payne and Quarterfinal like this.
  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I wonder what 'gems' will be available on line from the highest bidder. Anything to match up to the rank of lieutenant corporal, llieutenant bombardier or ilieutenant sergeant which are to be found on the Genealogy website which now hosts material from Kew?

    papiermache likes this.
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Even groups of us struggle to decipher entries on service records, so any attempt to build a database incorporating units is likely to be of doubtful integrity, I'd have thought.

    Redacting records - no. Either release them unfiltered in full, or catalogue them with separate access conditions.

    Only we could turn a national resource into a profit for someone else...
    Charley Fortnum and papiermache like this.
  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    On 10th February 2020 a new, Kew sponsored, charitable trust was set up as a limited company, or CIO, details at the Charity Commission. Full details not available as yet but a brief outline from Charity Commission is plain texted here:

    Charity number: 1187839
    Recently registered
    Details of the type of governing document the charity has and when it was established.
    It is not the full text of the charity's governing document.
    Charitable objects


    The trustees are listed: see here:

    vitellino likes this.
  9. JohnH

    JohnH Member

    Chris C likes this.
  10. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    More minutes have appeared:

    The non-exec Board minuted:

    Short Term Storage Plans

    Following discussion at its 19 January 2021 meeting, the Board was invited to discuss the plans to date to maximise The National Archives’ short-term storage capacity.

    In response to queries around flood mitigations at Kew, the Board noted that both buildings were designed with flood defence in mind and that the section of the Thames adjacent to The National Archives has a significant section of flood defence embankment.

    The Board:

    (i) Received and noted the report;

    (ii) Endorsed the short term plans to provide 21 linear km of storage space at Kew and offsite to meet the organisation’s short term storage needs until 2021-24; and

    (iii) Received assurances around flood risk mitigations."
  11. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Just a heads up for anyone planning to visit the archives.

    I went down on Saturday and, after requesting 'a camera stand' fully expected to be assigned a seat with a camera stand. However, on arrival I found I'd been assigned one of the normal tables with a 'camera stand' that would have a hard time dealing with a large iPhone.

    They have (literally) screwed two very light weight stands to each bank of the normal hexagonal sets of desks. If you have anything over and above a point and click, there is no way these stands are adequate - I think they have a 1 KG limit but I doubt they'd handle that. Certainly the single screw used to attach them wouldn't.

    The odd thing was the majority of 'normal' camera stands seemed to be unallocated - I got moved to one fortunately, otherwise I wouldn't have been happy. Oddly two people on my bank of 'normal' camera stands weren't even using them.

    There is no differentiation on their booking system, it simply states all desks have camera stands - even though it does ask if you need one. If you require a proper stand I would advise you to check you desk number against the floor plan and get it changed before arriving as there is no guarantee you will be able to move.
  12. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    I was there on Saturday as well and was allocated a seat with one of the new lightweight stands. Parts were missing but I finally managed to get my Lumix set up. Thankfully I have a remote shutter release so once I had it set it worked OK most of the time but you had to keep checking as it had a tendency to creep. I reported this in my feedback but, in future, will make a specific request when booking to be allocated a seat with a standard, heavy duty, stand.
  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    One has to ask why. Do they still think Covid is mainly transmitted through touch, and is that somehow related?
  14. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    There are some incredibly strange rules - you can't take your own clear, plastic bag in. Nor your own paper or pencil - but the provide the latter once in the reading rooms. I'm not sure if they burn the pencils after single use. :D
    Chris C likes this.
  15. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Ah right, we may have passed. I just asked to be moved as I have a DSLR. I should have realised from the desk number but I just didn't even think to check.

Share This Page