Genealogy News UPDATE


British Library

Low-use Collections

In January 2009, the British Library started a programme of moving their collection of low-use items out of London. This was to be the largest programme of moves that had been undertaken since the opening of the St Pancras site  in 1998. The transfer of low-use items to a new storage facility in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, took place in phases. This first phase saw 10.6% of the total collection transferred to Boston Spa.  The period of restricted access during the moving process will not affect St Pancras’ high-use material such as rare books, manuscripts, maps, sound archives and music scores.

The low use collection relocation took place as the British Library was forced to vacate current leasehold storage buildings. Firstly these failed to provide adequate environmental conditions. Secondly, the Library did not have the opportunity to extend the leases. The relocation to Boston Spa was to allow the British Library to rationalise their collection storage, provide future growth space, and continue to act as guardians of the national collection.

The closure of the newspaper library in Colindale, and the transfer of the newspaper collections, formed part of Phase Two of the Collection Moves programme.  Moving the hard copy collections to the state-of-the-art storage conditions in Boston Spa started in 2009 and gave options to  considerably improve record lifespan. Microfilm of the materials is still available at the St Pancras site.


The new Newspaper facility at Boston Spa was formally opened in January 2015, details at


Maggie Loughran, Joint Administrator, Federation of Family History Societies E-mail:

West Yorkshire History Centre

The West Yorkshire Joint Services (covering Archive services in West Yorkshire) has moved its central operations to a new History Centre in Wakefield.

The archival collections held by West Yorkshire Archive Service in Wakefield are an unparalleled record of the history of the West Riding of Yorkshire and its communities from 1194 to the present day. WYAS, Wakefield is the third largest local authority archive in Great Britain comprising over 10 million documents.

Many collections have national significance, among them the unique records of the pioneering Stanley Royd Mental Health Hospital, recently awarded international status as part of the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.

Other major collections that are cared for at the centre are the unparalleled West Riding Registry of Deeds made up of 12,763 volumes containing 7 million extracts of property transactions from 1704 to 1970, as well as the massive National Coal Board collection of over 2000 boxes relating to collieries and coal miners in Wakefield and the south Leeds areas.

Further information can be found on the website


North Yorkshire county records office

North Yorkshire County Council Record Office at Northallerton is open from Monday to Friday and on the first Saturday of each month from 9.30am to 4.15pm, except for 5th April which is their annual Open Day. Appointments are necessary for Saturday visits Tel 01609 777585.