Friday, 4 August 2017

Northamptonshire Archives drops charging plan

Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Service has released a welcome statement on its plans to charge fees at the archive:

04 August 2017

For Immediate Release


Northamptonshire County Council has reviewed its decision to change opening hours at its archives and heritage service after listening to the views of its regular users and supporters.

The archives service will now be open for free access on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm and the first Saturday in each month, 9am to 1pm.

In light of financial pressures and reducing visitor numbers, there will be a review of the service ahead of the next financial year as part of the budget setting process and this will include a full consultation around any proposed changes.

In 2016, the service was visited by a total of 3,500 researchers, a drop of 50 per cent compared with 2006.
County council cabinet member for public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth Cllr André Gonzalez de Savage said: “Having listened to the views of our service users here in Northamptonshire and across the UK, a decision has been made to reconsider the proposed changes to opening hours.

“However, given our significant financial challenges, changes to customer behaviour and a growth in online enquiries, we need to consider how best to use our limited resources and will be reviewing the service in the coming months as part of the annual budget process.

“As part of this there will be a full public consultation in which service users will be able to provide their feedback ahead of any changes being implemented.”

The archive has also added a clarification via its Facebook page (

Today’s press release details the hours for free access to the search room, index room and to original documents as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm and the first Saturday in each month, 9am to 1pm.

We would like to clarify that the option to pay for research room time outside of these hours will not be offered. Researchers can continue to book 1-2-1 time with our Research Assistant during the times we are otherwise closed, as has always been the case. It is this service that is charged at £31.50 per hour. The only change to our current arrangements is that the search room will be closed between 1pm and 2pm, though the public tea area and toilets will remain open

COMMENT: This is a welcome development in light of what the archive previously announced. Thanks to Dr Mary Ann Lund for creating her petition at (now at 3681 signatures), to all who signed and promoted it, and to the archive sector, genealogy organisations and individuals that spoke up against the prospect of charging. The ball now lies with Northamptonshire County Council.

UPDATE: AGRA has issued a statement welcoming the council's move - see


My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course commences Sept 11th 2017 - details at For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

No comments:

Post a Comment