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During ongoing work to organise and list previously uncatalogued material in the Westminster College Archives, documents have been discovered which shed significant light on the ways in which evidence of the college’s vibrant Union Society were preserved for posterity.
On 18 June 1973, a member of the Union Society, Jan Clayton, composed an indent requesting £17.25 in support of ‘a newly created position within college’, the Student Archivist. In a letter accompanying the indent, Clayton explained her intentions.
‘I propose to beg, borrow and (where only necessary) buy, material to provide a record of the Society’s year for the future’.
Clayton hoped that many items generated by the clubs and societies within the college would be freely available, but acknowledged that photographs and copies of the college magazine, the Westminsterian, would have to be purchased. A further £1.25 would provide for a box file and pockets to store these items.
Until now, the formal designation of the Student Archivist position was unknown, but the work of Clayton and her successors has not been lost over time. Whilst exploring the uncatalogued material within the collection, several ‘history files’ have been located, containing many of the items mentioned by Clayton, organised chronologically by year. Whilst only occasional ‘history files’ survived, it is apparent that they were still being compiled up to the late 1990s. In support of the current aims of the project to further organise and list the Westminster College Archives, it was decided that the ‘history files’ would be weeded, and items categorised under new classifications, relating to the individual clubs, societies and other bodies who first produced them. If it wasn’t for the compilation of the ‘history files’ – now attributable to the Student Archivist – undoubtedly many of these records would have been lost.
Letter from Jan Clayton, to, the Treasurer of the Union Society, [June 1973]
This is a newly created position within college and hence the Inventory reads – “nothing to date”. Throughout the coming Year – I propose to beg, borrow and (where only necessary) buy, material to provide a record of the Society’s year for the future.
The Majoritory [sic] of Materials (e.g. Calendar of Events; Hand books, Club & society Programmes; Fixtures and Results Lists; copies of regular newsheets; Posters; Records of Arts Week and Charities Week; Programmes of Major Productions in college; details of the Balls) will, hopefully be purloined free of charge. However other Materials (eg. Photographs, copies of the Westminsterian) may have to be purchased.
In addition – for storage, – a box file and a series of pocket files will have to be purchased. At the end of the year, these will be placed in the library for future reference. My indent covers all the items that I can foresee having to purchase. (The Westminsterian is included twice to cover that the ‘72/3 Westminsterian looks like appearing late).
P.S. Re. Sports Photos – There are some 21 active sports clubs in college and I have allowed for one photograph per club.
Daniel Reed, Assistant Archivist