At the weekend I went and did a bit of research on our Scout Group at the County Records Office and in the Scout Divisional and County archive.
At the County Records Office, you are not allowed to take bags in the reading area, you can only use pencil to make notes, books etc. are put on cushions to protect spines and everything is carefully preserved. In fact, you're not even allowed to photocopy items!
It was quite interesting looking through all the Church minute books. Especially when in the 1940's, names I recognised start to appear. Also in the late 1950's the writing gets much easier to read as it was written by my Grandpa! Again in the late 1960's reading becomes a lot less trouble as my Dad wrote it! I can tell when he's getting tired from the writing getting worse. Also, there seems to be a lot of scrap paper related to British Rail…..
Contrast with the Scout Divisional / County archive. It's all kept in random cupboards and boxes in a very damp, cold and dark room. Some of the minute books even had mildew on them – yuk! It was rather depressing to see albums full of newspaper cuttings from the last 60 – 80 years, specially recorded 78 rpm records of Gang Shows, audio tape, cine film and various minute books and photographs let literally lying around and not cared for.
These are the records of what our predecessors got up to and in a couple of cases record the start of Scouting in North Staffordshire.
I've spoken to a Divisional high up about this and I think something may happen to get the archive organised and safe. We'll have to wait and see.
On the plus side, I found some old Burslem District minute books, some interesting newspaper clipping and a book listing all the Troop in existence in 1908, names of the Scout Masters and even the names of the boys in the Patrols! Existence in 1908 proved!!!! We are officially 100 this year!!!