Cambridgeshire Archives department earns national accreditation

The original Huntingdon Borough charter from 1205 stored by Cambridgeshire County Council's archive department

The original Huntingdon Borough charter from 1205 stored by Cambridgeshire County Council's archive department - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council’s archives department which holds over 900 tonnes of documents has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation for the first time.  

Accreditation is the UK quality standard recognising good performance in all areas of archive service delivery.  

Councillor Tom Sanderson, chair of the communities, social mobility and inclusion committee, said: “I’m delighted that the service is achieved this honour and that is testament to the hard work and dedication of their entire team. 

Cambridgeshire Archives, in Ely and Huntingdon, holds a wealth of historic records and other resources relating to Cambridgeshire, the former counties of Huntingdonshire, the Isle of Ely and their communities.  

More than 1,000 cubic metres of documents weighing over 900 tonnes are held at the archives service, and stored on seven miles of shelving.  

The oldest document stored is the Huntingdon borough charter of 1205, which is 10 years older than the Magna Carta. 

The Accreditation Panel noted that “the opening of the Cambridgeshire Archives at Ely represents the culmination of many years of strategic planning and development work.” 

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Panellists said the retention of the Huntingdon archive centre is “a strong statement by the authority of its commitment to opening up access to Cambridgeshire’s past in order to enrich its future.” 

Cllr Sanderson added: “We’re very proud of our archives service; it offers an important facility charting our county’s fascinating history and provides many people with an invaluable resource. 

“Having accreditation also opens up future funding opportunities for the service." 

Other treasures held at the Cambridgeshire Archives include the baptism entry of Oliver Cromwell in 1599 and a letter written by Horatio Nelson from aboard HMS Victory in 1805. 

The original contract with Cornelius Vermuyden in 1650 to drain the Fen is also stored here. 

Archive Service Accreditation is awarded by the UK Archive Service Accreditation committee, representing the archive sector and ensures the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of archive heritage. 

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a UK-wide partnership including The National Archives, National Records of Scotland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. 

The council’s online archive catalogue contains details of nearly half a million individual documents. 

To view the catalogue, go to: https://calm.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/.