Accessibility statement

Friday Update Number Sixteen

Posted on 16 July 2020

Our retroconversion work has slowed down this past week, but for a very good reason as we have completed the first steps of our phased return to on-site services.

If you have been following our social media you may have seen this post, announcing that as of the 13th July a small number of staff would resume work onsite as part of a phased return.  This is the first time we have been able to go into the Borthwick since the 17th March, apart from safety checks of the building carried out by our Conservation team.  The Borthwick remains closed to the public, but staff can now begin working through the substantial backlog of remote copying orders and searching service requests.


As you might imagine, working onsite feels very different at the moment.  We have implemented extensive procedures to make sure all staff can work and move around the building at a safe distance from each other and without sharing equipment.  Wipes and hand sanitiser have been strategically placed around the building - our archives, of course, cannot be wiped down, so we have introduced a quarantine system to ensure they can be handled safely.

This does not mean an end to remote working, as staff will continue to work from home to support the work being done by colleagues onsite, in addition to our ongoing programme of retroconversion.  We have now reached the final section of the catalogue for the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield and expect that to be added to Borthcat in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile we have hit something of a milestone, having now added just over 14,000 new archival descriptions to Borthcat since we began our retroconversion work in March.  That’s more than 800 descriptions a week!  As always you can browse all of our online catalogues here.

Finally we have said goodbye to our Archives Trainee John this week, who is leaving us to begin studying for his professional archives and records management qualification.  John has been with us for over a year, running our Facebook and Twitter social media with aplomb (and humour!) and contributing two entertaining blogs: on Charles Dickens and York’s church court records, and Isaac Havelock, a book lover in 17th century York.  If you’re a reader of Family Tree Magazine you will also spot another article by John in this month’s issue, on the ‘Dade registers’ held at the Borthwick.  William Dade (c 1740-1790) was a Yorkshire clergyman and antiquary whose sadly short-lived scheme for recording more detailed information in parish registers has long provided researchers with a wealth of detail about multiple generations of a family.  We wish John all the best for his future studies!