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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 66 - 1953  pages 64

Kent Archives Office — 1953

IN order that readers of Archaeologia Cantiana may be able to make full use of the facilities offered by the County Record Office, it is hoped that a list of principal accessions or of collections listed may be inserted in the volume for each year. As this is the first of such lists, however, it may not come amiss to preface the schedule with an introductory note on the office in general, its history and contents.

It is still a mere thirty years since the first local record office in this country started work and often the general public is only vaguely aware of this aspect of local government activity. One reason for such lack of awareness is that the primary duty of local archive work is the preservation of the records of the local authority concerned. The degree of emphasis varies greatly from authority to authority, but this remains the essential basis, and is an important fact in considering the development of archive work in Kent.
   When the first archivist, Miss N. Dermot Harding, was appointed in 1933, her task was to gather together, sort, list and arrange the vast quantity of purely official papers 

 which lay in various basements and vaults below the Sessions House. During her short period of service with the County Council, Miss Harding was able to bring a large measure of order to these archives and to bring to light the fine series of Sessions Records from 1595. Moreover, she was largely responsible for planning the future Records Building.
   On Miss Harding’s departure in 1936, Mr. H. Holworthy took over her duties, and while it remained true that the office was primarily a repository for official County records, a change of emphasis was to be seen. Thus during the ensuing years a great collection of private archives, estimated at more than 100,000 pieces, was gradually acquired for the County, and notable series of semi-public records were received for the former Commissioners for Sewers and other bodies.
   During the war, in Kent, as elsewhere, archive work was strictly limited and no less than 5 ton of documents were transferred for safety to the National Library of Wales in 1940. Despite difficulties, however, the large and remarkably complete series of Guardians’ Records was collected from the former Unions and listed at this time.

Page 64 

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