A Week in Archives

‘A week in Archives,’ may not sound like the most interesting experience for most and I’m not going to lie, archiving is a repetitive and time consuming task. Nevertheless, I really learnt a lot this week and have a new found respect for the work of archivists. It was great to handle and be responsible for cataloguing such an important collection and see architectural design work up close.

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The experience focussed on the architectural plans from the Pace & Sims archives and mainly consisted of detailed church renovations from the gothic revival. We were tasked with some basic archivist duties; rolling out the architectural plans, noting the details, cataloguing them into the system and then re-rolling them again. This all had to be done with the greatest precision, noting down minute details of conservation and conveying all the ideas within the annotations. And yes, this was veryyyyy time consuming, so time consuming in fact, we only completed about 200 drawings in a week. Some of the drawings were so intricate and coloured so beautifully. Sadly, the work of an archivist doesn’t involve sitting and analysing the pieces. If you follow me on Instagram or know me in person, you’ll know how obsessed with Architecture I am, so this was quite heartbreaking. Archivists need to be so disciplined, studying the archives superficially, taking in only the details needed when cataloguing, how do they do it!?

Below is one of my favourite finds in the architectural rolls, some renovation drawings of St. Helen’s Church, Treeton from 1908. They were wonderfully detailed and hand coloured, it was really amazing to see how architectural drawing has progressed.

St. Helen's Church, Treeton, 1908

In addition to working on the rolls, we also had a chance to rummage (a very organised rummage) through the personal papers of the architect George Pace. For me, this was the best part, it was so fascinating to delve into the mind of the architectural genius.  Some of the items included rejection letters for publications, scribbled notes on architectural inspirations and detailed sketches and ideas. It was wonderful to sort through these items, even if it was to only glance at the content. Below are some sketches of St. Mary’s Church, these detailed sketches proved a nice change to the regimented architectural plans we’d previously been cataloguing.

church dash final.jpg After the week working in archives, I have decided being an archivist isn’t for me. However, I developed a firm understanding of the importance of archiving and cataloguing drawings and other items, to make it easier for future use. It was also an amazing opportunity to see a whole host of architectural plans up close and truly appreciate the time and effort needed to create architectural masterpieces.

For more information on the Pace & Sims Archive visit: Borthwick Institute of Archives

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. outnaboutweb says:

    This is so interesting! I love how you descirbed the work of an archivist, I’ve never thought about it that way… Great post!
    love, elena


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It was such an interesting insight, definitely aspects to it I hadn’t thought of before actually experiencing it 🙂
      Emma x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Molly Howson says:

    I would love to do something like this! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really interesting! I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would! X


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