I recently reported an exchange I had with the British Records Association
regarding the preservation of land deeds and documents.
The main thrust of their awareness campaign is that such papers should be
deposited with local county Records Offices/Archives.
I have since then had exchanges with 3 local Archivists and the consensus of
their opinions is contained in the following comments;
We certainly wouldn't welcome an influx of house deeds for every
terrace in [any large city]. However, deeds for smaller communities
useful indeed, as the quantity of surviving records generally may be
much less.Also older deeds for city centre properties may be of great
whether the house still stands or not.
I should think the message most county archivists would want to put
please offer any old records but don't be offended if they are
<I suspect that if archivists want to truly represent the history of their
documents, they are not in a position to refuse deposits of individual
deeds. I would be very happy to receive redundant ( but historically
interesting ! ) deeds packets from members of the public or though
solicitors. This happens on a periodic basis already and can be particularly
useful for firms of solicitors who have bulging strong-rooms and yet ( as
Sarah Henning points out ) cannot destroy papers created or stored for
clients. Although storage space is often at a premium in record offices
archivists must accept that if records are considered important they must be
accepted and found space. Archives usually expand and part of our role as
archivists is to find more space within the council for their storage.
I think it is worth pointing out that if householders want to retain their
own deeds " for interest" then that is their absolute right and may be a
great pleasure for them, but they should be passed on to new house owners in
the event of a house sale, or sent to the record office if the new owners
express no interest in them. The temptation to hang on to obsolete house
deeds and take them out of context should be resisted, as they need to be
either with the house or in appropriate local care e.g. the Record Office
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