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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.

In 2002 the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) was invited by the government to set up a Task Force to enquire into the state of archives in the UK. The aim of the Archives Task Force was to open up archives, ensuring they are relevant and accessible to everyone. We are working with MLA to deliver the challenging vision outlined in the final report, Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future.

For more information, see:

Engaging Archives with Inspiring Learning for All
MLA North West recently commissioned a report into the challenges and barriers faced by archives in the North West attempting to embed Inspiring Learning for All.
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Related Links:

Archives Task Force 

ARCHON – Searchable list of archive offices 

For archive enquiries, please contact:

Janice Tullock, Archives Development Officer
T: 01925 625062

St George's Hall, Liverpool Stockton Heath Library
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

Supported by Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

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