A review of our July talk  by Mary Champion

David Stoker, the City Archivist, came to speak to us on Tuesday 20th July. His talk was interesting and informative, and made one want to visit the Record Office which is situated, with the Local Studies Library, on the fourth floor of the Central Libraries complex in William Brown Street.

The Record Office is open 7 days and 6 nights a week (66 hours in total) and has 40,000 visitors a year. It employs three archivists, one librarian and other support staff, including a conservator to do restoration work.

The work of the Office is varied. They continue to collect archives: for example they found consultants' records from the 1930s when a hospital was closing down. They look after collections for other organisations: for example they have been cataloguing Jewish Community records and have put them on a website. They get lots of enquiries, both written and by telephone. Family history is very popular, and unusual requests have included 'What is a Wet Nellie?'!

The Liverpool Charter of 1207 is there to be seen, and other City records are available for research. 158,000 photographs are available to look at, some of the early ones being on glass plates. Examples include scenes of horse-drawn traffic at Mann Island, the Open Air Baths at the Pier Head, and the unveiling of the Edward VII statue, to name but a few. The Housing Department's records are very extensive, and we were shown some very good photographs of Gerard Gardens and houses in Speke.

There are Church Records (both Anglican and Roman Catholic - burials, marriages and baptisms), Poor Law records (Brownlow Hill Workhouse having been the largest Poor Law Institution in the land) and Cemetery records (both parochial and City). Also there are family records, including Lord Derby's papers which are in the process of being catalogued, and many fine maps, including Ordnance Survey maps from the mid-1800s onwards.

In the Local Studies Library the Electoral Registers from 1860-1970 are available, as are various theatre archives. There are 7,000 watercolours: as examples we were shown views of St Nicholas Church 1860, Smithdown Place 1945, and a fine picture of Cope's Tobacco Works.

David urged us to use the Record Office - and also to let the Office know if we have anything of interest to show them. The telephone numbers are 0151 233 5817 (general enquiries) and 0151 233 5811 (microfilm bookings). Or e-mail:

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