The Heritage Bulletin Blog ran from July 2012 to January 2020, covering a huge range of subjects, from a day in the archives, to extracts from the WVS bulletins, and histories of various WVS/WRVS services.
It’s 219 articles have become a valuable resource in themselves, why not search them or just browse to discover something new.
As of March 2018, our Archives Assistant Jacob has finished
digitising our Narrative Reports from 1938-1945. After digitising almost 74,000
pages, Jacob has agreed to answer some questions about his experiences working
on the Kickstarter project.
Tell me what have you have been working on since October
Since October 2016, I have been working on the ‘Hidden Histories of a Million
Wartime Women’ project. This project was crowdfunded through Kickstarter and
managed to raise £27,724 to fund the digitisation of our Memory of the World
inscribed monthly Narrative Reports. I was fortunate enough to have been chosen
to carry out this enormous task.
What is the most memorable story or report you have seen while digitising the
The most memorable story I have come across is a 1943 report from a bombing in
Goole. It gives a detailed chronological account of a plane collision that
scattered into the town and caused several serious fires.
Why is this the most memorable story/report?
Considering how quickly the WVS responded to the incident regardless of the
fact that it was 1 o clock in the morning illustrated how integral they were to
British life on the Home Front. I found it quite remarkable how they were able
to set up Cooking Centres and provide hot drinks to all 100 of the members of
the Home Guard that were on duty. Members of the WVS Housewives’ Service also
assisted with the evacuation from dangerous areas. Overall, this report
perfectly summarised the many acts of unwavering kindness from the Women in
What has been the most enjoyable part of your role as Archives Assistant?
I think the most enjoyable part of my role has been engaging with this
Why was it enjoyable?
It has been enjoyable to know that despite the enormity of the project, people
can now read these beautiful documents in the comforts of their own home. The
digitisation project has shed new light on some of the most important documents
in British history. Being involved with something as significant as this has
been very worthwhile indeed.
Give me your top three tips for digitising?
I thought you may ask something like this.
Firstly, never fall into the trap
that the digital copy is now the more significant document because it can be
readily accessed. If the original document is lost or damaged it may never be
recovered. However, if the digitised version is corrupted, it can be recopied
from the original in the archive.
Secondly, remember to check every single document before it is digitised to
ensure it is in the right place. If one item is incorrect, everything else will
be put out sync.
Lastly, appreciate the value of the material that you are digitising. If it
feels like you are contributing to something much bigger than yourself, it will
become a lot easier to sit in a room and take 74,000 photographs…
How can people access these records?
They can be accessed through Archive Online
on our website. Type in the
town/city that you are interested in finding out about and find the link to
that year’s Narrative Reports. 1938-1942 have already been uploaded and
1943-1945 are due to be posted in the near future.