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  • Writer's pictureMary Allen

Archive Open Day 2016

On 29 December we once again opened their doors to give staff and community members a glimpse at some of the treasures held within the Archives as part of The National Archives’ annual Explore Your Archives campaign.

This year we decided to feature some of the items we had showcased in our blog posts, so that the items could be seen first-hand.

Among the items on display were the relics of St Claude La Colombiere SJ and St Margaret Mary Alacoque. As part of the Year of Mercy relics of these two saints were recently brought to Farm St Church by the Emmanuel Community, so it seemed fitting to share what we hold here.

Visitors were invited to look through a volume of the Farm St Minister’s Log Books. We chose the volume dated 1883-93 since it is in good condition, and this is important to take into account when setting up an archive display. These volumes are a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to know what life in a community was like.

Thomas More’s Omnia Opera (or Complete Works) printed in 1689 was also on display. It has a beautiful frontispiece and portrait of Thomas More at the front, and was featured in a blog post in September to coincide with the exhibition at St John Paul II National Shrine in Washington called God’s Servant First: The Life and Legacy of Thomas More, which is showcasing over 60 artefacts, most of which come from Stonyhurst College.

We displayed two of Fr Augustus Law’s diaries, one which he kept while he was in the Navy, and one he kept during his mission in the Zambezi. All of Fr Law’s journals were kept meticulously and occasionally decorated with illustrations. Also on display was a fork engraved with Law’s initials which was used by him when he was in the Navy.

We took the opportunity to exhibit collections that are currently being worked on, and Lucy, our Archives Assistant, who is working on the Osterley collection picked out a photograph album from the 1920-30s which contains photographs of individuals and groups as well as ephemera such as graduation cards.

Old favourites were displayed too, including the top hat presented to Fr Frederick Copleston (see image in previous post) by Uppsala University, Sweden, to mark his honorary doctorate in theology in June 1983, and a selection of volumes from the Blandyke Papers.

And of course we were able to reveal to staff and community the extensive refurbishments that have recently been completed in the Archives with our new office space and rolling stacks. Many expressed how light and airy (and warm!) the new office is, and how much space has been created by the rolling stacks for our ever-growing collections.


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