We recently took a report to Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority Statutory Functions Committee about Archives.

The report highlighted some of the work of the Archives+ partnership and the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership during the pandemic and the priorities for the coming 12 months.

The full report is available to view

The Archives Services of Greater Manchester, including those delivered from Manchester Central Library have supported residents throughout the pandemic. Answering a survey at Manchester Central Library, 87% of customers said that their visit to the Library has made them feel happier, improving people’s wellbeing is a key role of Archives Services.

Arguably the most exciting development in Greater Manchester has taken place in the last couple of weeks.  On 6 January 2022, the 1921 Census was made available.  It is accessible across the world via Find my Past.  People have to pay when viewing the full record, however residents of Greater Manchester are fortunate.  Manchester Central Library is one of just three places where its accessible – The National Archives and the National Library of Wales being the other.  This is in recognition of the quality and popularity of Archives+, and that Central Library is the most visited public library in the country.  Libraries and archive services from across Greater Manchester are signposting their customers to Manchester Central Library for free access.  The Manchester and Lancashire Family History are providing free expert advice from Monday to Friday from 10.30 until 3.30.  The 1921 Census is a particularly important release as there won’t be one for another 30 years as the 1931 was destroyed in a fire and 1941 didn’t take place because of the second world war.  This blog provides more information.

One exciting development across the Greater Manchester region is the transformed Wigan and Leigh Archives facility at Leigh Town Hall, which is an excellent archives facility – both in terms of preservation and conservation of material, and an offer to the public.

Some of the priorities for the next twelve months include:

  • Transforming the film pods at Central Library into ‘Sound and Vision’ including sound archives
  • Continue to promote and support people with the 1921 Census
  • Digital Access – create a web catalogue for Manchester Archives
  • Increase the number of archives collections that feature the story and history of the diverse communities in Manchester
  • Have celebrations and events in Archives across Greater Manchester – including around the 1921 Census and the 100 year anniversary of the BBC in October