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Local archive detectives join the ranks!

The Archive recently enjoyed a visit from Wokingham U3A as part of a collaborative effort between our two organisations. The U3A runs a Shared Learning Project programme and the local group chose to partner with the Archive. These volunteers will delve into a new and significant local collection, exposing the information it contains and helping to save it for future generations.

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We were greeted with a lovely group of people who have offered to volunteer on the project. The Archive Detectives project will see the cataloguing of a large and significant collection about mills local to Reading: the Brian Eighteen Collection.

We also hope that together we will be able to produce written work based on the information uncovered in the collection, from the social history of local milling families to the technological developments taking place here over the centuries.

Our Archivist Nathanael spent time showing the Detectives parts of the collection that they will be working on, and two local collectors shared their own experiences of creating archives, the challenges that face collectors – and those trying to understand someone else’s collection – and the sort of information that people can amass over the years.

Here is one of the new volunteers, Ian, on his first day exploring the Brian Eighteen Collection:

Ian and the rest of the volunteers will help us to understand, preserve and make accessible an important mill collection and we are very grateful for their involvement.

Watch this space as our new detectives uncover some gems in the collection – I’m sure there will be lots of nuggets to share with you in the coming months!