KCC’s archives service has received recognition from the National Archives for the way it stores and preserves evidence of the county’s heritage and history.
In a ceremony at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, the National Archives Operations Director Paul Davies presented a certificate of accreditation, the UK quality standard which recognises good performance.
He told guests that Kent was in the top six per cent of such services in the country, as one of just 140 with the award out of about 2,500.
It follows a visit by a panel from the National Archives at Kew, who spent a day examining documentation, discussing aspects of the application with staff and looking at onsite facilities.
Mr Davies said: “The assessment identified that the Kent Archive Service serves a broad range of interests across the county and beyond.
“Collections are well managed and the service has been doing extensive work to develop a new online catalogue. Cataloguing activities are supplemented by impressive volunteer contributions and an extensive programme of work placements for school and college students.
“The archive service offers excellent access, with the search-room open 40 hours per week and an increasing range of online resources for remote users.”
He was thanked by Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, who praised the archives staff for their hard work.
“Our archives team is experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated to continuously improving customer care and access to the collections.
“To achieve an official commendation of the quality service we provide is an acknowledgment of the efforts of our staff, and the continuing support for the service from the council, in this period of austerity.”
The Kent Archive service holds the largest collection of historical material relating to the ancient county of Kent with the oldest document dating back to 699AD – a charter from the then King of Kent granting relief from public taxation to the churches and monasteries in his kingdom. Among its many other treasures are several letters by Jane Austen and a letter from Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton.