Closing date: Friday 1 November 2019

What is this consultation about?

In May 2018 Cumbria Archive Centre, Kendal, closed for nearly a year to carry out essential refurbishment work.
The work involved the decommissioning of a large strongroom on the County Offices site which was no longer
fit for purpose. A number of rooms in County Hall were reconfigured to provide new strongroom accommodation
and this included the former searchroom at Kendal Archives.

New access arrangements were introduced as a 6 month trial to accommodate the physical changes made to
the Archive Centre. In particular a new appointments/pre-ordering system was introduced. A key feature of the
new system has been the ordering of documents in advance of your visit. Currently requests to access
documents must be made at least 1 working week in advance of your proposed visit. Information about our
collections can be found in CASCAT, our online catalogue at

Requests are made by completing a booking form. A maximum of 10 items for a day visit can be ordered
including individual documents and volumes. Where there is no detailed catalogue of the collection, boxes may
be produced to a maximum of 2 per day. Popular family history sources such as microfilms of parish registers,
transcripts etc. have been moved to Kendal Library where they are available six days (42 hours) a week.

We have introduced these arrangements because:

• The new searchroom has limited seating, particularly if users want to consult large maps. It is necessary to
ensure that only an appropriate maximum number of users with related documents are in the searchroom at
any one time.
• Some records are now stored offsite at our out store near Carlisle.
• Staffing at the Archive Centre has significantly reduced in recent years as the County Council has had to
make significant savings.

Our proposed changes

Since re-opening we have received considerable feedback about the new service. Whilst some users have
appreciated the convenience of having their orders waiting for them, the length of notice to order documents and
the restriction on the number of documents, that can be seen, has led to negative comments. Some researchers
have experienced difficulties in identifying relevant research material from the information in our online catalogue

We aim to address these concerns as far we can within available resources. In particular, subject to staff

• Customers will only need to give a minimum 24 hour notice to reserve a space in the searchroom
• Documents may be ordered on the day rather than in advance.*
• No pre-set restriction on the number of documents that can be seen in a day.
• The archive centre will be open 3 days a week, Wednesday to Friday, 09.30am to 16.30pm.
• The searchroom will remain open over lunchtimes subject to staff availability, lunchtime closures will be
notified on our website. Productions will not be possible over lunchtime.

*some documents are stored in an out store and will require a week’s notice.