Archives are documents created in the normal course of the life of an institution or individual in order for them to function, and as such provide a historical record. The word ‘archives’ can refer to the documents themselves, or to the organisations which hold them.
There are nearly 200 archive holding organisations in the North West, with 45 main archive offices. These range from small community archive groups to large national institutions.
In the North West there are:
- 107 museums and libraries holding archive collections
- 5 business archives
- 26 specialist archives (e.g. religious, relating to one institution or person)
- 22 local authority archive offices
- 18 higher education archives
- at least 15 community archives
Over 935,000 people annually visit local authority archives, with nearly 177,000 of these being in the North West. Of these visitors, 96% rated the archive service good or very good.
This year has seen a 3.5% increase in visitors to local authority archives nationally, with the North West having the highest percentage of the population using archives of any of the regions. In addition over 112,000 people made enquiries to local authority archives in the region last year, in person and by telephone and email. This is a massive 31% increase on the previous year.