institutions, including the British Museum Manuscripts Department and the Public Record Office, until local archives emerged after the 1890s. In the 19th and early 20th centuries Public Record Office staff were recruited with general historical and classical skills and education and underwent in-house training. They often did not see themselves as archivists but rather as historians, editors and researchers. There were few employment opportunities outside the Public Record Office for archivists until the 20th century, when local government archives began to develop. Specialist and business archives did not emerge strongly until the 1960s. It can be argued that England has a network of well- established archives but not an integrated national archives service. A couple of stories illustrate this theme. The first is about that uniquely English contribution, the establishment of the National Register of Archives in 1945. The Register was one of the recommendations of the Master of the Rolls Archives Committee which considered the measures needed for the reconstruction of archives after the Second World War. It was to bring together the results of the survey work which had been carried out by the Royal Commission for Historical Manuscripts since 1869 and identify archives in the localities still in need of description. Local committees would be formed to gather information about municipal, ecclesiastical, parochial and business archives. An Advisory Board was established and a Registrar appointed, initially for two years. Lt. Colonel George Malet was the first Registrar.14 He steered the Board through the intricacies of index cards, investigating a type of 'paramount card' which could be mechanically sorted, and promoted the Register as 'a vast Guide to Manuscript Sources covering the needs not only of professional historians but of enquirers seeking information in every field'. Malet began to establish local committees. By 1951 there were 40 county committees and he had addressed many of their meetings, estimating that he had travelled over 30,000 miles for the Register. The meetings caused great local interest (in Brighton over 600 people attended) and 'in at least two instances this has been the decisive factor in inducing the local authority to appoint an archivist'. Malet quickly realised that the undertaking was extensive and warned that it 'might therefore take longer than expected'. Of course, the Register is still going in 2010. The second story is from an English county. Local initiatives sometimes benefited from the national framework, but were more often the result of individual enthusiasms. The 1880s saw burgeoning interest in local record publications, the foundation of local antiquarian and record societies and a growth in the study of local history and of genealogy. Archaeological societies collected manuscripts and set up libraries and museums. The 'great revolution in academic history' was driven by printed historical sources (such as the Public Record Office's Rolls Series from 1858) and contributed to a more analytical approach to sources and their management.15 Local authorities, in a period of change, became aware of their own history and records. PROFESSIE Files, HMC 1/225, HMC 1/232, HMC 1/233, HMC 1/236 held at TNA, Kew, Richmond, Surrey. 15 D. Knowles, Great Historical Enterprises London: Thomas Nelson Sons (1963). 44

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2010 | | pagina 46