Over the past two weeks, the local Berkshire Record Office in Reading has been closed for its annual stocktake and housekeeping. The staff also take the opportunity for an annual visit to an archive. This year they asked if they could visit the Mills Archive to find out more about our resources and services, particularly related to Berkshire mills.
We have been delighted to host two lively and interested groups. Each visit began with a talk by Liz and Nathanael in the Founders Room that generated lots of questions and discussion about the challenges faced by archives. Then they came downstairs to the Library where Elizabeth and Nathanael had put out an interesting display of library and archive material for our visitors to look at. Discussion revolved around the type of enquiries that we answer and the range of resources we have available for people to use either online or if they arrange a visit. Nathanael gave them a tour of one of our stores and then downstairs to see our 15th century kitchen and the displays about the history of Watlington House.
All in all, the visits were a great success on both sides. Not only did the BRO staff find out about the Mills Archive but many of them discovered the history of Watlington House for the first time. They gave us a list of all the BRO documents and images that are specifically related to mills, millers and millwrights. We hope to arrange for Mills Archive staff and volunteers to visit the Berkshire Record Office in the New Year.