On Thursday June 16th, 30 members of the History of Deganwy Group visited Conwy Archives, who are now based in Conwy Culture Centre along with Conwy Library.
Whilst there, they had the opportunity to view original documents and photographs in the public search room, see where the records are kept in the strongroom, and get tips on carrying out their own research.
Conwy Archives collects and looks after important records relating to the whole of Conwy County. They come from places like local government, businesses, churches and chapels, schools and individuals. In the Archives there are over 75,000 documents, including 15,000 maps and plans, and about 50,000 images. Of these, at least 3,000 items have ‘Deganwy’ in their description, and about 40 of them were on display in the search room.
The Group were able to see parish records and school records, plans, sales catalogues, photographs and documents including court records, mortgages and wills. Amongst these there were mentions of whisky thieves, a taxidermist, an organ grinder and his parrot, and businesses past and present such as the Hygienic Bakery, Kim Forbes’ butchers, Deva Kitchens and Maggie Murphys.
The strongroom tour was led by Kate Hallett, the principal archivist, who gave an insight into the Archives’ specialist underground storage space. Plans for a hotel extension at West Shore Pool which never came to fruition were also on display in the basement. The planned development included an 8-storey hotel, a block of flats, an air-raid shelter, garage, tearooms, yacht club and tennis courts.
Several members were surprised to see two Hotpoint washing machines, from the 1920s and 1960s from a former local manufacturer.
Family history expert Gary Jones gave an introduction to online resources including ones which are free to use on site – Findmypast, Ancestry and British Newspapers Online, which the Archives subscribe to. He also showcased resources you can use for free at home including Welsh Tithe Maps (www.places.library.wales), the Archives Hub (ArchivesHub.jisc.ac.uk) and OS maps National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk)
Conwy Archives are open Monday to Thursday, 9.30-12.30; 13.30-16.30 with evening opening till 18.45 on Tuesday. Staff are always happy to help you with your research, and maybe you’ll end up with enough material for a Snippet for one of the History of Deganwy Group’s February meetings!
Many thanks to all the staff at the Archives for making the visit such a success.
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