Our annual Closed Period in January provides an opportunity to undertake larger projects that we would not have the time or space to tackle during our normal opening hours. All the projects help improve the services we offer. As well as continuing to answer a range of enquiries and running our very busy Research Service, here is a summary of some of the work we have undertaken during this year’s Closed Period.

Archive boxes in the Search Room

David Wheadon Photographic Collection (A/EOM)

David Wheadon of Chard was a commercial and press photographer working in Somerset and Devon. His extensive photographic archive, created during his 60 year career, covers a variety of subjects, including weddings, social functions and family portraits, as well as events he photographed for the Chard and Ilminster News and the Pulman’s Weekly News.

Deposited with the Somerset Archives late last year, the collection originally comprised over 100 boxes of glass plate and film negatives, as well as photographs. During the Closed Period we have sorted, rationalised and reboxed over a hundred thousand negatives and photographs and transferred them to our Cold Store.Elderly Women running down a street carrying pans

Local Studies Library

The Local Studies Library has a collection of almost 300 newsletters, community publications and periodicals which until now have been stored in small pamphlet boxes and magazine holders, often in cramped or unsuitable conditions. They have only been searchable via a paper handlist, making access difficult.

Over the last two weeks we have bundled and re-boxed the whole collection and started the process of listing them onto the archive catalogue. This has freed up valuable expansion space and will make this series of informative and eclectic titles, such as Antique Bottle Collecting, the Cerberus Speleological Society papers, and the newsletter of the Somerset Beekeepers Association, more readily available to our users.

Archive boxes on a table in the Search Room

More Collections Catalogued

The Knight family papers (A/EJM) were donated to Somerset Archives and Local Studies via Exmoor National Park. The papers relate primarily to John Knight of Wolverley and Simonsbath (1765-1850) and his son Frederick Winn Knight (1812-1897). The collection has now been fully listed.

The Luttrell Collection (DD/L) was accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax from the Trustees of Sir Walter Luttrell’s Will Trust and allocated to Somerset Heritage Centre in 2016. Cataloguing work has begun on the last third of the collection which comprises around 200 boxes.

The majority of Parish records (D/P/-) are catalogued at the time of deposit. However, this isn’t always possible with larger and more complicated deposits. The past two weeks have provided us with an opportunity to list some of these records.

The Estate Duty wills for Somerset (DD/ED) cover the period 1812-1841 and are a valuable resource if you’re researching the history of your family.  Comprising 274 boxes, work is underway to catalogue these in detail.