Ruth Frendo writes: In June I attended a joint meeting of the City, Cambridge and Oxford Archivists Groups, held at the Museum of the Order of St. John (photo above). The meeting was accompanied by a programme of talks and presentations on recent developments relating to archives held by some of the member institutions of the three different groups.
The City Archivists Group is a network for archivists working in the City of London, and also welcomes anyone with a professional or personal interest in the City’s archives. Group meetings provide a fascinating insight into the breadth and variety of these collections, which include archives of the livery companies, financial organisations, the Inns of Court, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Group has a special connection with the Stationers’ Company, as it was set up in 1986 by my predecessor as archivist, Robin Myers, with the support of the Master of the Company at the time, Alan Thompson. So it seemed particularly appropriate to give a presentation in which I talked about the fulfilment of another project initiated by Robin’s pioneering work: the improvements in preservation of, and access to, our records achieved by the construction of the new Tokefield Centre.
Talks on the programme varied as widely as the organisations represented, and included an inspiring presentation by the Salter’s Company Archivist and Public Programmes Manager, who described their work to widen educational access to their Company’s archive; an informative breakdown of digital project management by the Baring Archive’s Digitisation Archivist; and an introduction to the Institute of Historical Research’s Layers of London project, which is using historical property records held by London’s public and private archives to create a digital map which chronologically ‘layers’ the changing landscape of the city.
As well as offering a great opportunity to meet other professionals and discuss our work, the day gave us a chance to look around the fascinating Museum, which I had never visited, despite its nearby location in Clerkenwell. The Order of St. John’s established its Clerkenwell Priory in the 12th century, but the Order’s land was seized by the Crown during the Reformation, and the Clerkenwell property saw different uses over time (including providing the offices of the Master of Revels in the sixteenth century). The Museum’s collections chronicle the Order’s history and its role in cultural and medical developments, and is well worth a visit. Many thanks to Stationer Robert Athol for organising the meeting. Robert ran the City Archivists Group for the last three and a half years, and although he's now handing over this role, he will continue to play an active part in the Group's activities.