Our Coronavirus Guidance

So that we can ensure that all Members of the Churchill College community stay healthy and safe, things will look a little different when you next come to College. But you can find everything you need to know on our new Coronavirus Guidance page  From the latest research from the University to what you should do if you have symptoms, and from the provision of College services to minimising the risk of transmission, you'll find all the answers to your questions here.

Archives Centre newsletter - June 2020

8th June 2020 in Archives Centre, News and Events

outside of the Archives Centre

Current Service

The Churchill Archives Centre is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we are still able to offer a limited remote enquiry and copying service and can be reached by email at archives@chu.cam.ac.uk.

At this time we are pleased to offer up to 1 hour of research and up to 50 copies, per researcher per month, for free.  Further research and copying can be carried out by agreement depending on team availability and in accordance with our current terms and conditions and price list, see Copying.

Do also check out our existing online resources which include selections from the Margaret Thatcher Papers, the Papers of Rosalind Franklin, the Churchill Papers and more.

 Archives Centre reading room

Plans for reopening

In recent weeks the Archives Centre has been busy working closely with Churchill College, and consulting with the wider university and other heritage organisations, to find a way forward for the team to be able to return to the Archives Centre.

We have made good progress with our planning and procedures and currently have a small cohort of staff on site for three days a week to deliver essential services (our enquiry and copying service). We hope to slowly expand the number of staff on site, though we will do so cautiously and carefully.

We look forward to welcoming researchers back as soon as possible, but sadly this is likely to be the last phase of reopening the Archives Centre. In the coming weeks we will be carefully reviewing what adjustments are needed to our reading room and other spaces in order to be able to provide our services safely. The safety of the team, researchers and other visitors are paramount in our decision making.

Archivists' set up at home

Archivists' set up at home

Working from home

The Archives Centre team is still mainly working from home. Whilst this means that we don’t have access to our precious collections, it also means that we have an opportunity to work on projects that we may not otherwise had time to address.

Some examples of our home working projects are the transcription of Mary Soames's wartime diaries in preparation for publication next year (to be jointly edited by the Archives Centre and Emma Soames); cataloguing audio material digitised through the Unlocking Our Sounds Heritage project; cataloguing post 1992 Margaret Thatcher papers from digital copies; preparation of our catalogue data for the move to ArchivesSpace archive management system; and planning and assembling online exhibitions.  

We have also been maintaining a social media presence on Instagram and Twitter, even when the Archives Centre was operating with a skeleton staff.
Meanwhile, our collections are safe and sound.  During lockdown our conservators have worked closely with other college staff to undertake vital maintenance and physical checks. Now that we have a small cohort onsite for a short working week we are able to keep a closer eye on the material.

The newly refurbished reprographics room


Between December 2019 and February 2020 we made physical improvements to our reading room, reprographics room (for the team to produce digital copies of archive material), and storage for newly acquired papers (prior to sorting and cataloguing). We also created a new locker room for our researchers and had the lift to the reading room replaced.

All these building works were aimed at improving the services we can provide for readers and the care of our collections. We look forward to all being back in our newly refurbished Archives Centre and welcoming you to the reading room as soon as possible.

Find out more: https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/news/2020/apr/3/refurbishment-churchill-archives-centre/

Writing competition

In April and May the Archives Centre ran a competition for school children to write a diary entry capturing life in lockdown. Open to 11-16 year olds, the Centre received 70 entries from around the country and about 50 of those are being added to the archive as a record of young people’s experiences during Covid-19. The letters and diaries will be anonymised and closed for 10 years. After careful consideration, the chosen winners were 16 year old Lizzie and 14 year old Serena.

You can read the winning diary entries on our website.

Find out more: https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/news/2020/

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