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04 April 2018

Archive volunteers wanted for major new research project

A new partnership between Keele University and Cumbria County Council’s Archives team is set to launch a three year project, The Poor Law, Small Bills and Petty Finance 1700-1834 Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The aim of the project is to investigate the provision of goods and services needed to keep the poor alive under the Old Poor Law.

Local parishes provided food, clothes, housing and medical care, generating receipts or vouchers in the process. For the most part, these receipts and vouchers lie uncatalogued in county archives, unused by researchers, yet collectively they form an enormously rich source of information for families and local historians.

The project is seeking archival volunteers to unfold, read and enter the contents of the old receipts and vouchers into a searchable database. Volunteers will be provided with on-going support during the project and there will be opportunities to develop more skills and contribute further, including writing blog entries, developing study and research skills and learning from each other’s knowledge and experience.

If you would like to find out more about the project or are interested in volunteering, a launch event detailing the aims and scope of the research, alongside presentations and a small exhibition is taking place on Saturday 21 April between 10am and 1pm at the Carlisle Archive Centre at Lady Gilford’s House on Petteril Bank Road.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

“This is an exciting research project and I’m delighted that Cumbria Archives will be working in partnership with Keele University. This will be a fascinating way to understand more about our past, and may even reveal things we didn’t previously know.  I’d urge anyone with an interest in local history to come along to the launch event and find out more about how they can help with the project.”

The event is free but if you wish to attend please email carlisle.archives@cumbria.gov.uk or telephone 01228 227284 to reserve a place. Further information is also available via the council website here.

If you are unable to attend the launch event but would like further information please email Keele University’s Dr Peter Collinge at p.r.collinge@keele.ac.uk.


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A new partnership between Keele University and Cumbria County Council’s Archives team is set to launch a three year project, The Poor Law, Small Bills and Petty Finance 1700–1834 Project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.