Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New Student, New Discoveries!

I have just started my third and final year of my undergraduate degree at Bath Spa University. This is also my first year of working in the Bath Spa Archive.

Acts of Parliament. Photo by Lisa Coomes

The main reason why this placement interested me is because it would allow me to use the skills I have learnt in an actual historical project and to learn more about the history of my university. Since starting in the archive I have been cataloguing books we have received from the Bath Record Office, mainly Acts of Parliament. The process of cataloguing I have heard mentioned many times in lectures but have never thought of the actual process you have to go through. As we were not a 100% sure what we had received and the condition of each item, I had to look at each book individually and note it all down. Whilst doing this I found interesting this inside the books such as an envelope with a stamp from 1950 with a stamp of George VI.  I found this really exciting as I don't think I have ever seen another monarch other than Queen Elizabeth II on a stamp before. At the end of the last session in the archive, I started putting it all into the computer. The thing I learnt most from doing this, was the format in which documents are recorded.

Envelope found in one of the Acts of Parliament. Photo by Lisa Coomes 

As I mentioned above, I also chose this placement because I wanted to learn more about the history of the university I have been at for the last 3 years. Since, starting in the archives I have learnt a lot of the history about the estate. From learning that the castle itself was a tower of the original 14th century house to the architectural designs and changes put in when the estate was developed to make it suitable for the women's college. I have also discovered places I have never seen in the university such as the servant’s service corridor under the main house and the Octagon room!

Despite being at the university for 3 years I have never been exposed to the history. One of my main personal aims for the project would be to share the history of the estate and the archive on a wider scale within the university.

By Lisa Coomes