Hundreds visited the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham on Saturday (28 October) to celebrate ten years of the centre opened and 70 years of the Wiltshire and Swindon Archive Service.
The event, which was a family fun day, with historical activities for all ages, included a presentation by John Glen, MP for Salisbury and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, and Jeff James, chief executive and keeper of the National Archives, to award the national Archive Service Accreditation to the history centre. The accreditation is the gold standard for archives and only a relatively few number of archives have received it.
Visitors enjoyed the chance to meet knights and a highwayman, plus rarely-seen treasures from the archives, family history displays and craft activities.
Richard Clewer, cabinet member for heritage, said: “We’re delighted that so many people attended this wonderful event. It’s great that so many people of different ages enjoyed the items on display and learned more about the history of Wiltshire.
“It was also a pleasure to welcome John Glen MP and Jeff James to the celebration, and for presenting the Archive Service Accreditation to the Wiltshire and Swindon Archive Service.
“In the past 70 years, the archive service has collected and preserved the written heritage of people, places and communities of Wiltshire and Swindon dating back 800 years, and it has made the collection accessible to everyone.
“The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre provides a state-of-the-art facility for the archives and heritage services, and the accreditation recognises the successful partnership between Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council in delivering these services.
“We recognise how important the history centre and the archive service are to the people of Wiltshire and Swindon, and we’re proud to support them.”
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre works with Ancestry.co.uk to enable visitors to view more than six million records from parish registers at the centre or online. In December, the centre will also launch its online collection of wills, dating back to Tudor times. This will collection will enable people to study more than 118,000 records and 500,000 images.
To find out more about the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, go to www.wshc.eu