Croydon’s treasure trove of historical documents has today received Archive Service Accreditation for its high standards and care in preserving the borough’s heritage.
Croydon Council’s archive was awarded the status from The National Archives in recognition of good practice in collecting, preserving and ensuring access for all through the Museum of Croydon Research Room at Croydon Clocktower.
The archive collections provide a fascinating glimpse into the borough’s rich and diverse past. As well as the council’s own historic records, they include items from more than 150 schools, some dating back to the 1870s, as well as other institutions such as the workhouse and Cane Hill Asylum. The records of local businesses also provide a window into the borough’s history, including those of Croydon-based bell-founders Gillett & Johnston, whose products have been shipped all over the world since 1844.
These are held alongside many smaller collections such as diaries and letters, including the personal correspondence of Reverend Alexander Sandison, a clergyman based in Croydon during World War I. Among the more surprising items is a teaching application from novelist DH Lawrence, who taught in a Croydon school.
Croydon’s historic connection with the Archbishops of Canterbury brings added significance to the collection. Items of particular interest include a ‘terrier’ listing land ownership dating from 1492 and original 16th century letters from Archbishop John Whitgift.
The team is currently supporting a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project to increase understanding and access to the Fairfield Halls archives including planning ledgers, signature books and programmes. This will culminate in an exhibition at the Museum of Croydon from May 2017.
The archives continues to collect records to strengthen understanding of the rich history of Croydon. The service offers sessions for schools and community groups, helping local people to gain an invaluable understanding of the borough’s past.
Lindsay Ould, borough archivist, said: “We are delighted to receive Archive Service Accreditation. Croydon has many treasures in its collection and it is a real privilege to make them accessible now and also to preserve them for generations to come.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
“This is good news and well deserved for the team, and important for the borough. It’s a marker on the road to securing the ambitious agenda for culture and shows that we are delivering.
“The archives are a valuable resource about our borough’s rich and varied history through the centuries.”
To explore the borough’s archive collections online, go towww.museumofcroydoncollections.com