What do the Friends do?

This estate map of Witton was bought for the Archives by the Friends in 2020.
Lancashire Archives, DP543
The conservation work on the Gawthorpe Hall accounts means they can now be used safely for research.
Lancashire Archives, DDSK
The Military Tribunal files from Bolton by Bowland are full of stories from the First World War about men required to stay at home to work on farms or sent off to fight.
Lancashire Archives, DDKW
Archives arrive in all kinds of packages - the Re-boxing project stored them safely in acid-free archival boxes.

Over nearly forty years, the Friends have provided Lancashire Archives with more than £310,000 worth of support – by purchasing archives and equipment, funding conservation of the collections, and actively promoting the use of the archives for research and connecting people with their Lancashire heritage. These are our core purposes and continue to this day.

A recent purchase

In 2020 the Friends successfully bid at auction for a beautiful, high-quality ‘Map of Lands … in Witton in the Parish of Blackburn’ dated 1738. The map is now a welcome addition to the limited collection of 18th century estate maps held at Lancashire Archives.

Conservation in practice

The Friends maximise their effectiveness by match-funding and making contributions to wider projects. In 2022 we made a donation of £500 to the conservation of the Gawthorpe Hall accounts to help secure the main funding from the National Manuscript Conservation Trust.

Digitisation – making archives accessible online

A current project is the digitisation of the Bolton by Bowland Military Tribunal records from the First World War. From the north of the county, these are rare survivals of the process which determined which young men were conscripted and which were permitted to remain as civilians. Once digitised, the records will be available for worldwide research and scrutiny.

Sharing better knowledge of the collections

A key aim of the Friends is to promote awareness of the amazing treasures held by Lancashire Archives. In 2020, there were over 8,000 boxes in the Archives strongrooms for which no description existed. The Friends funded a temporary post to list and re-box the contents, and add the details to the Archives online catalogue.

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