Welcome to Westminster Diocesan Archives News & Events.
As this is a new idea for 2008, the January edition will be updating you on life at the Archives over the past year as well as highlighting work currently in progress. Future editions of News & Events will work on the same principles, providing a brief snapshot of the work of Westminster Diocesan Archives. We aim to update News & Events every 4 months so please check back to keep up to date.
Since September 2006, the Archives have benefited from the presence of a professionally qualified archivist as a project to list the hitherto unknown contents of the Archive, as well as to rationalize existing collections, has begun. This project is due to run until September 2008 and means that not only is new material being discovered but existing material is becoming more accessible. The Project Archivist will use News & Events to highlight the latest interesting discoveries.
Since January 2007 the Archives has been blessed to benefit from the services of three extra volunteers (the previous total being two).
These volunteers have completed the listing of two boxes of papers (c.1300 documents) of the Westminster Catholic Federation. A transcript of a baptism register has also been completed using Microsoft Excel and this will be used to demonstrate to the diocese and potential funding bodies the benefits of digitisation as well as the work effort involved.
Currently the volunteers are working on an electronic index to the Acta of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (a project undertaken with the backing of the Conference and intended for their use as well as ours), and the weeding of the enormous collection of Cardinal Hume papers.
The longstanding volunteers have this year produced lists for the papers of both Vatican II and Cardinal Heenan.
2007 saw the accession of, among other things, a skullcap worn by Pope John Paul II, church account books from St Patrick’s Soho, and parish registers from St Anselm and St Cecilia Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Perhaps the accolade of most exciting new accession must go to the archive of the Augustinian Canonesses, formerly of Paris, Neuilly and Ealing. This community dated back to the 1630s, and the archive contains a treasure trove of documents, photo albums and several artifacts (including the discipline used in choir!).