Published: Tuesday, 30th November 2021

The Medway Archives Centre has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation by The National Archives.

The Medway Archives Centre in Strood, aims to help residents and visitors discover the stories of Medway’s people and places and includes a wide range of collections documenting the history of the Medway area, from the 11th century until present day. This includes original documents and records, books, plans, maps and photographs which are open to everyone.

Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery.

Achieving accredited status demonstrates that Medway Archives Centre has met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its entire range of users.

Many residents visit the Medway Archives Centre in Bryant Road to research their family history, the history of their house or other buildings, or the history and geography of the local area. Others visit for educational research, or to find inspiration for creative projects.

The centre holds archival and published records from the geographical area covered by Medway Council as well as material from the parishes within the Archdeaconry of Rochester. Much of this material is unique to this centre. Residents can also add to Medway’s archives by donating material.

Continue to capture and preserve Medway's history

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “We are delighted, and very proud, to have been awarded Archive Service Accreditation. This is an achievement which highlights our commitment to developing, preserving and improving access to our unique heritage collections at the Medway Archives Centre. The accreditation is testament to the hard work of our centre staff, volunteers and partners. We will keep building on this fantastic achievement by continuing to capture, preserve and document Medway’s rich history and great future.” 

The Archive Service Accreditation Panel “were impressed by recent and ongoing improvements at the archive service and recognised the strong support for the service from senior staff and elected members”. The panel were also impressed by “the service’s practical approach to developing digital preservation and the progress achieved”.

Highlights of the collections at the Medway Archives Centre include:

  • Records of local government and governance in Medway, from 1227 to the present day.
  • Parish records of the archdeaconry of Rochester and the records of Rochester Cathedral, from the 11th century.
  • Industrial and business archives including Winget of Strood and Blaw Knox of Rochester, engineers; Dove Phillips and Pett of Rochester and Strood, mineral water manufacturers; Best, Hulkes and Budden and Biggs, brewers
  • Records of local charities including the Richard Watts Charity and Foord Almshouses, Rochester.
  • Charles Dickens Collection - this is an extensive collection containing copies of Dickens' works, literary criticism, biography and topography.
  • The Fitzgerald Collection - Percy Fitzgerald (1830-1925) was an associate and friend of Charles Dickens. The Fitzgerald Collection comprises around 400 bound volumes and includes many illustrations from the novels; letters from Dickens’ friends and family member; and ephemera including photographs, handbills and advertisements.
  • Short Brothers Collection - the Shorts Brothers were aviation pioneers who moved their main works to Rochester Esplanade in 1914. The collection contains more than 200 books and monographs, site and aircraft plans and drawings, photographs and illustrations, interviews and recordings.

Find out more about the Medway Archives Centre.

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