Our new online archive catalogue launched

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After many months of hard work, we are delighted to officially announce the launch of our new online archive catalogue for International Archives day!

Until now, anyone wishing to find out more about our holdings had to rely on various lists and indexes available via the members section of the website or in hard copy at SPAB HQ, but for the first time we will have one online catalogue which brings together all those lists in one place allowing you to search across the different parts of the collection.

The SPAB Archive contains the records created by the Society since it was founded in 1877 and illustrates the evolution of conservation policy and practice in this country from the late-19th century – which was strongly influenced by the SPAB – and the role of key figures such as William Morris and others closely associated with the Society. The collection is especially relevant to those with a local or professional interest in historic buildings or places and how these have changed during the Society’s lifetime.  

The catalogue currently contains over 20,000 descriptions of historic casework files and photographs along with details about the contents of William Weir’s notebooks – Weir was an architect and one of our most respected caseworkers. Existing lists and new cataloguing will be added each month and these additions will be publicised in our blog and social media channels. Additions will include files relating to Society’s membership, exhibitions, property, awards, research, publications, education, and technical advice – so watch this space!


The catalogue uses a type of software called AtoM which allows users to search and browse our holdings in different ways. You can use a basic free text search, an advanced search where you can limit your search to a particular field or date range, or browse by county using the “place” indexing terms. Fully indexing the archive collection will be a very large job, but we plan on adding additional indexing terms such as the names of individuals and organisations over time.

The catalogue is easy to use but there is a help page to guide you and a number of Frequently Asked Questions which should cover the most common queries. And you can always contact the archive officer at archive@spab.org.uk for additional help.

As well as improving the accessibility of the archive to researchers, the new system allows staff to better manage the collection by allowing conservation, location, and other useful pieces of information to be recorded.

We hope you enjoy using the catalogue – do let us know if you have any feedback on its layout and content by emailing archive@spab.org.uk




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