Latest Archive News

Cumbria Archive Service planned construction works at Kendal and Whitehaven Archive Centres


Major changes will be taking place in Cumbria Archive Service over the next 18 months. In particular Kendal and Whitehaven Archive Centres will see significant investment that will bring a major improvement to the accommodation of our archive collections.

At Kendal, the creation of two new strong rooms in County Hall will bring collections into the Archive Centre from an out store. Popular Family History sources, held on microfilm and including parish and non conformist registers, wills, and parish register transcripts, will be relocated to Kendal Library where they will be available 6 days a week including Saturday and Wednesday evenings from 21 May 2018. Further information about Local Studies holdings at Kendal and other libraries is available.

The investment at Kendal will significantly improve the quality of the accommodation for collections that are of national and international importance. However a proportion of the collections will still need to be accommodated off site in Carlisle.

At Whitehaven Archive Centre space will be created to support a wider range of County Council services on the same site, including the Library, Archives, Registrars and Community Learning. The Archive Centre will benefit from new and increased strongroom accommodation.

There will be closure periods at both Kendal and Whitehaven during these construction phases. At Kendal the Archive Centre will close for 6 months from 2nd May 2018 and re-open on the 7th November. At Whitehaven the Archive Centre is expected to close towards the end of 2018 for around a year.

These closure periods are necessary to allow the refurbishment/building work to proceed. Staff will concentrate on essential collections work including backlog listing, cleaning and preservation, transfer and recording the location of collections and preparing collections for digitisation.

Further updates on progress on these works will be posted here and on our Twitter account @CumbriaArchives.

Changes to Archive Service charges from 1 April 2018

On 1 February 2018, the Cabinet of Cumbria County Council agreed a range of changes to costs and charges for services provided by the Council. These include the following for Cumbria Archive Service:

Digital camera licences: increases of 4.3%-5.6% (for example the one session daily licence will increase from £ 4.60 to £ 4.80).

Hourly rate for digitisation, look-ups and copying etc: increase of 5.4%. This increases the hourly rate from £ 46.50 to £ 49 pro-rata, or £ 11.62 to £ 12.25 per 15 minutes.

All other services charged by Cumbria Archive Service remain the same, except for the following:

1. Print-outs from reader-printers rise from 50p to 65p per A4 sheet to align with costs charged by Cumbria Libraries.
2. A new charge of £ 5 for a 'quick-scan' service of 5 minutes/10 scans for small/simple scanning jobs which can be done at this rate. This offers a considerable discount to the full digitisation service rate of £ 12.25 per 15 minutes for larger/more complex jobs.

The Poor Law, Small Bills and Petty Finance, 1700-1834, Project

What is it?
Before the modern welfare system it was the responsibility of each parish to provide food, clothes, housing and medical care for the sick, infirm and old, and to support those who found themselves unemployed, or whose income was insufficient to maintain their dependants. This generated a huge amount of paperwork in the process, much of it in the form of bills and receipts or overseers' vouchers. Through itemised shop bills, Small Bills and Petty Finance 1700-1834 is a study of ordinary people who have been left out of history. Small Bills and Petty Finance is a collaborative project between the universities of Keele and Sussex, and the archive services of Cumbria, East Sussex and Staffordshire with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Its aim is to investigate the provision of goods and services needed to keep the poor alive under the Old Poor Law. It presents an exciting an innovative approach to research by involving archival volunteers in academic historical enquiry. If you have an interest in local and family history, or are looking for new sources of information, then this project is for you.

How can people get involved?
The project is seeking archival volunteers to unfold, read and enter the contents of the overseers' vouchers at Carlisle Archive Centre into a searchable database. During the three-year project volunteers will be provided with on-going support and opportunities to contribute to its outputs including writing blog entries, developing study and research skills and learning from each other's knowledge and experience. Volunteers can work at Carlisle Archive Centre and there are opportunities for working at home. Later work on the project will explore the potential of the other Cumbria Archive Centres.

How much time will volunteering take?
We ask that volunteers make a flexible but regular commitment of their time. As a guide, volunteers will meet once a week, for two hours.
Where can people find out more information?
If you would like further information please email Dr Peter Collinge at who will be running the volunteer sessions at Carlisle Archive Centre.

Barrow Streets: Your Photos Our Town!

Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre would like to create a photographic record of the Borough in 2017-2018. You can contribute to Barrow Archives creation of a comprehensive and up-to-date photographic collection of the Borough of Barrow in Furness. We are looking for photographs of all the streets and not just prominent buildings. We would also like photographs of the inside of schools, churches, shops and public buildings.

Simply take photographs of commercial and residential streets, and notable buildings, from town centres, and suburban and rural areas in and around present day Barrow, Walney, Dalton, Lindal, Askam, Ireleth and Rampside. Please take a photograph and email it to

Attach your best photos, up to a maximum of four (or less than 35MB) to each email. Include the name of the street and buildings in the file name, and give your full name in the email. If you would like to donate printed photos from the past, or a large digital collection; or want further information on this project, email as above or call the Archives at Barrow Library on 01229 407377.

Once sufficient numbers of photographs have been received a webpage will be published. Contributors will be notified of this. Thank you for helping develop this important community resource for future generations.