Together with the city archives at Southampton and Portsmouth, the Hampshire Record Office (HRO) forms the core of archives in the county.
Hampshire Record Office (HRO), run by Hampshire County Council, is responsible for the county’s archives and local studies service. This forms the core of archives provision in Hampshire, along with the archive services provided by the city councils of Portsmouth and Southampton. The archives in the care of HRO are a unique and fascinating treasure trove of stories from the past, ranging from letters by Florence Nightingale and Jane Austen, to war diary entries from the Western Front recording the 1914 Christmas Truce, to a rare 10th century Anglo-Saxon charter.
Some eight miles of shelving are home to archives of all sorts, spanning over 1,000 years of history: maps and plans, registers and account books, paper letters and diaries, parchment deeds and leases, pictures and photographs, film and sound recordings and – increasingly – born-digital archives. They provide an unparalleled resource for the knowledge and understanding of the history of Hampshire. The resource is outstanding: in 2006 the former Museums, Libraries and Archives Council awarded the entire archive holdings ‘Designated’ status, signifying a world class collection, and in 2011 the renowned Winchester Pipe Rolls – manorial account rolls of the bishops of Winchester, dating from 1208/9 – were awarded a coveted place on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.
The archives come from a wide variety of sources, ranging over local government; religious organisations; families and individuals; businesses; schools; charities, societies and sports clubs; military organisations; hospitals; magistrates; coroners. Significant collections include those of Winchester Bishopric; Winchester Cathedral; prominent landowners and Hampshire families – including the Jervoise of Herriard archive and the Malmesbury archive; businesses, including Portals, papermakers; Church of England parishes and the Diocese of Winchester; The Royal Green Jackets regiment; Winchester City; local and regional TV and radio. The archives are complemented by the county Local Studies collection, a wealth of printed sources including directories, newspapers, pictures, and books on Hampshire localities, people and topics.
The key to this vast treasure house is the online catalogue, which contains over a million entries, and a welcome awaits anyone wishing to come and find the past brought to life through an encounter with the archives. HRO’s award-winning building, opened by HM The Queen in 1993, offers among the longest opening hours of local government archive service buildings in the country and excellent facilities for discovering and researching the stories of Hampshire people and places.
In 2018 HRO was awarded Archive Service Accreditation (HAT Newsletter, Spring 2019, p. 41), showing that HRO had demonstrated good performance against the national standard relating to its management and resources, the care of its unique collections and the service it offers to customers. Feedback referred to HRO as ‘an excellent service’.Winchester Cathedral Archives – Remote talk